Bond Wannabes, Unite!
The time has come for all men to
put the '007 in 2007
Bond Wannabes, Unite!
The time has come for all men to put the '007 in 2007
By Joel Achenbach
Sunday, December 31, 2006; Page W17
After assembling a heroic list of excellent New Year's
resolutions (Eat fewer chips except in emergencies;
feign interest in others more believably; figure out
which child deserves to be the favorite), I came up with
a singular resolution that will frame everything else in
the coming year:
Be even more like Agent 007. After all, it will be the year
'007, a clear clue to men everywhere to get Bondier, to
become so suave that that we'll make George Clooney
seem, by comparison, like Snuffy Smith.
My own effort to be like James Bond began years ago,
and I dare say I have succeeded fabulously, insofar as
my every action, gesture and seductive smile is
accompanied by a mental soundtrack of the James Bond
theme. Some people are alarmed when I suddenly whirl
toward them and pretend I'm holding a gun, but that's
because they can't hear the music.
My New Year's resolution is complicated by the
wholesale transformation of the Bond character on
screen. "James Bond" is not a fixed entity. There's no
"real" fictional Bond but an array of fictional Bonds,
ranging from the original Ian Fleming literary version to
the various Bonds on screen. Scientists refer to the
collection of Bonds as the Bondcloud. The ordinary
fellow trying to forge an authentic Bondlike persona has
to decide whether he wants to be like a specific Bond or
like the average Bond.
This in turn leads to an internal debate -- and I think I
speak for all men here -- about how much ruggedness
you're talking about when you decide to be ruggedly
handsome. Because let's face it: Bond got prettified over
the years, culminating in the spiffy, twinkly, shiny,
focus-group-approved Bond of Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan
played Bond as the type of fellow who could have every
hair in place even when swimming underwater.
Honesty requires us to admit that Bond, over time,
became something of a dandy. The problem dates to
Roger Moore, who had a knack for showing up in exotic
locales wearing a perfectly tailored tuxedo -- clearly an
overpacker. His idea of pure evil was a frayed cuff.
Horrible as it is to say, there were moments when
James Bond seemed to be interested in saving the world
merely as an excuse to sleep with starlets and play with
the gadgets given him by "Q" (a helicopter that folds up
into a wristwatch, a fountain pen that doubles as a
flamethrower, a toenail clipper that converts into a
Also he seemed a little too in love with his quips. You
got the sense that his nemesis Blofeld could buy him off
just by offering to laugh at his double-entendres.
I'll say it if no one else will: Sometimes James Bond
So there you are, vowing to be Bondlike, and it's not
easy. You need a looks policy, a gadgets policy, a quips
policy, etc. And there's no single "right" answer as you
craft this new, fake self.
But fortunately -- mercifully -- there has been added to
the Bondcloud a new Bond, played by Daniel Craig. This
Bond has been applauded by critics for being a rougher
Bond, a coarser Bond, a smellier, dirtier, skeezier Bond.
The Los Angeles Times called him a "more brutal, less
suave Bond," and Rolling Stone described him as a
"rugged, jug-eared Brit" with "irregular features." I
would describe him as a thuggish, savage,
You have probably already seen the new movie, "Casino
Royale," so you know that the new Bond is a great
bleeder. The man is a tomato can! In one scene he
shows up with about 75 cuts, scratches and scrapes on
his face, and that's just from shaving.
Technology? The man has little other than a cellphone
and a laptop. Checks his messages a lot. Very ordinary
stuff -- in the next Bond movie, apparently, he will start
This is, in short, a real man, someone with scabs, moles,
warts, barnacles, dandruff, ear hair and various forms of
crust. He doesn't perspire -- he sweats. In one scene, he
vomits and then has a heart attack. In the most
arresting scene, he endures extreme agony while tied
naked to a chair as a bad guy whips his most personal
region, thus endangering the entire movie franchise.
He hurts! He suffers! He even makes mistakes! For half a
moment your disbelief fails to remain suspended, and
you suspect, sitting there in the theater, that this man
could pos-sibly even die.
And thus the New Year's resolution seems suddenly