Thursday, October 31, 2002

Ereck and I realized we both have plans this Halloween evening, so now we're stuck with a lot of Kit Kats.


All props to my brother, Steven, whose blog yesterday was inspired by Anthony Lane's meditation on the James Bond movies in the new New Yorker. I found the piece exhilirating, mostly because James Bond movies exhilirate Lane, and it shows.

If I have any quibble with Lane, it's that he dismisses Sean Connery's 1983 Bond outing, Never Say Never Again, as "tired." I have long admired this movie, though admittedly my fondness for it relates to my having seen it at a particular time. It was the first James Bond movie I had a close relation to in its theatrical release, when I was twelve, and I saw it around the time I was getting acquainted with Connery's Bond films on video. I was familiar with the Bond franchise from pay cable, but I recall that my viewings of For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy left me cold: the appeal of Roger Moore escaped me, not least because I began watching his Bond films late in his tenure and did not have at hand fond memories of his better Bond movies, like Moonraker and, especially, The Spy Who Loved Me. (Lane singles out Spy for praise, and rightly so: it captures a gauzy opulence that, in retrospect, seems as important to the Bond milieu as the relative tautness of the earliest Connery films.)

Never Say Never Again may indeed be a "semi-spoof," to use Lane's limp term, but the Bond series has been self-parodying nearly since its inception. Meanwhile, the movie contains much that was dazzling to my early-adolescent eyes. Nuclear missiles are lost and found. Bond tangos with a kittenish Kim Basinger. In a funny bit of timely satire, Bond and archnemesis Klaus Maria Brandauer match wits in an elaborate video game that administers pain to the loser. And deadly Barbara Carrera delivers one of my favorite Bond-film lines as she is about to inject heroin into a hapless civil servant the bad guys have enslaved: "Nursie will give baby his candy."

As I've written here before, you probably had to be there. But I'll defend Never Say Never Again till I'm blue in the Bond-girl bikini.

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