Oh No Ninjas!

We’ve hit Segal threat level 3!

 

No Time To Die star Lashana Lynch gave an interview to electronic gadget magazine Techradar concerning her up coming film. Why Techradar you ask? Because Lynch has been named brand ambassador for the line of Nokia phones featured in the film. Huh, a bit odd that an incidental character would play such a large role in pushing the promotional tie ins. Could this signify something larger in the context of the Bond franchise? We shall see.

Move over craggy old man, there’s a new disposable actor on the scene!

 

She gives a bit of the obligatory “different kind of Bond girl” rubbish as if there were never any characters like hers before, pretty bog standard.

Never been done before!

 

She throws a lot of word salad around containing “agency” and “authenticity” the buzz words of the day.

Could you pass the Marx’s Own russian dressing?

 

Speaking about director Funkenstein she makes this statement:

“I can tell that he was bringing a real classic edge to our current Bond movie, and it feels like his indie background is bringing a real old cinema touch that I think is a real nod to the early Bond movies.”

My dear girl, that must be one of the most contradictory statements I’ve heard in a long time! One can not be “indie” short for independent, as in not of the establishment and bring a feel of “old cinema” as in of the bygone era, as in the old establishment!

After tying herself into that logic pretzel, Lynch delves into her character’s development:

“I asked the stunt team at the beginning of training if they could turn me into a ninja, they said ‘yes’…” 

His stunt team turned him into a Hollywood ninja too!

“…and that’s what I am for life now! I feel I have certified ninja status, as well as 00 status.”

Well! My dear lady your claim of becoming an authentic ninja is problematic. Since Hollywood has become overly sensitive concerning which actors can and can not play what parts, such as a straight actor playing a LBGT+ character, one must wonder how such blatant cultural appropriation can be accepted in these days and times. If two white women can not make burritos due to cultural sensitivity, then how can Lynch who is not Asian undertake the art if ninjutsu? By doing so she is stomping upon the proud traditions of the orient. Not to mention the fact feudal Japan is not very popular with the media these days.

Apparently because this game has the temerity to take place in another time and place than the one we currently reside, it must be shunned!

Obviously, I’m being extremely fatuous with Ms. Lynch here. She was simply referring to her character’s familiarity in the martial arts and with weaponry. The problem is these are real beliefs held dear by those in charge of cinema and is not so slowly creeping into Bond. Just look back at my coverage of the proliferation of articles declaring Bond outdated and in need of reconstruction. In fact, the very first line of this very article to which I am referencing, a puff piece in a tech magazine about some phones, which never really discusses the very phones they are pimping is:

“James Bond is a relic.”

If that doesn’t say it all I don’t know what does.

 

The real problem I have with Lynch’s comment is the fact spies, even 00s are not “ninjas.” Fleming certainly never intended the 00 section to be equated with ninjas, or even commandos for that matter, which EON does incessantly. Bond was an extraordinary man who got wrapped up in extraordinary situations requiring him to dig deep within himself to overcome, he was not meant as a pajama clad, trained assassin.

And when he was made into one, well…

 

She goes on:

“Nomi’s creation was a collaborative process for Lynch and the film’s producers and writers. “I knew who Nomi would be, because I had direct conversations with Barbara Broccoli and Cary about who they wanted her to be, but also who I wanted her to be,” she says. “And alongside that I spoke with our writers and Phoebe Waller-Bridge who has done wonderfully in collaborating with us.” (Our writers and Waller-Bridge? Is she no longer considered a writer?)

Yes, it was a collaborative process, because you were all making it up on the spot! This film was so cobbled together I imagine the guy holding the boom mic deserves a writing credit too!

Hey, what if the Bond dude is trying to take off in a plane and the chick he’s with screams “get it up” and he’s like “I never had that problem before,” that’d be totally awesome!

 “And what I saw was a woman who had agency, who was powerful, who was committed, and who believed that she was the best person at MI6 [laughs].”

So essentially a toxic male?

 

Lynch continues her description:

“She’s a Black woman…”

Wait, whaaaaat?!?!

You do realize Ms. Lynch film is a visual art, we can see you! It’s quite obvious to all but the most obtuse among us what ethnicity you are. Have we as a species become so obsessed with race she has to make a point of her heritage when describing the fictional character she’s portraying?

In my next film I’ll be playing a white male, it will be quite a stretch for me.

So, either Lashana thinks we are too stupid to figure out which character she’s playing, or she’s making a more sinister assertion.

 

I try to keep these stupid little essays light and free of politics, after all don’t we get enough of all that from the 24 hour grievance cycle playing out on the various “new” stations? Though I admit some politics may creep in thanks to the powers that be inserting such things into the Bond series. However, I must specifically address the implication of what Lynch is saying as it’s a pet peeve of my family and me. So please excuse me if I indulge a bit. As you may have guessed, I am that most vile of creature on God’s green earth, a white male, my wife on the other hand is a black woman. For too long I’ve watched her endure the trials and tribulations of being labeled an “illegitimate” black person by members of the community (mostly the white people among us in California). You see any time an individual of color, especially someone of African decent, holds even the most insignificant opinion contrary to the doctrine of what has become the “official” narrative they immediately lose their “legitimacy.” It seems black people are only allowed to be angry ignorant thugs if they wish to keep their identity.

 

                 “Legitimate”                                         “Illegitimate” 

 

Least they get labeled “Uncle Tom,” “house negro” or any number of other vile hateful monikers that should never be spoken to another human being.

In case I hadn’t made myself clear.

Yet funnily enough there doesn’t seem to be a white equivalent. Sure, the term “Nazi” gets bandied about quite frequently and so does “racist,” but those terms have become so threadbare they’ve lost their meaning. Besides I’m talking about something a bit different here. People of color are being stripped wholesale of there entire identity for wrong think. Imagine a white person, any white person of any background, any political affiliation, left, right, cop, criminal, rich or poor, have you ever heard them described as an inauthentic member of their own race? From the most powerful CEO to the most toothless methamphetamine addict they are all “white.” Neither the “wokest” white guy in the most Marxist of ANTIFA communes in Berkeley California nor the vilest Klansman in the angriest militia camp in Charlotte North Carolina has ever had the legitimacy of their racial being called into question.

Lynch talks about “agency” up there in the article, well that’s precisely what gets stolen from any black or brown person who doesn’t think exactly like her Hollywood overlords. I certainly hope that isn’t the point she’s trying to get across with her comment about her character being “black.” And if I’m reading a bit too much into that, then I apologize, these are just the times we’re living in, but if not, then why else would she be making such an obvious statement?.

Sorry I just had to get that off my chest.

 

Lynch continues with this:

“So when I saw her on the page, it was very beautifully written,(when was that, 5 minutes before filming a scene?) and I didn’t feel like I had to add anything too crazy.

Besides tampons of course!

This being a tech journal and the article written under the auspices of the Nokia products that will be appearing in the film they had to at least touch on them… in the last paragraph, here it is in it’s entirety:

“We’re chatting to Lynch because she’s the face of Nokia’s campaign as No Time To Die’s official Bond handset partner. In the film, you’ll see a variety of Nokia handsets: the classic Nokia 3310, the Nokia 7.2 and the new Nokia 8.3 5G. We ask HMD Global’s Juho Sarvikas if the phone in the film features any gadgets. “The phone is the gadget. If you look at the versatile imaging solutions that we have in our line-up, or you look at our unique promise on Android of pure, secure and up-to-date, it delivers on everything a secret agent needs.”

Synopsis: Three different phones will make a blink and you’ll miss it appearance.

Lynch is the brand ambassador and they didn’t even have her make the one sentence statement about the bloody phones, talk about agency!

The only thing Lynch is good for according to Nokia.

 

On a lighter note EON has introduced a podcast delving into the behind the scenes production of No Time To Die, just in time to promote the film’s premier next month…

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of ‘No Time To Die,’ the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience,” the filmmakers said in a statement. “We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing ‘No Time To Die’ next year.”

Oops!

 

Yes, it appears EON has had to push back release of this accursed bomb yet again! Like a super glue infused hand grenade the harder the studio tries to throw this thing the more it sticks and the shorter the fuse becomes.

This’ll be a huge hit!

 

I understand why EON is delaying, you want to have the maximum number of seats available to put backsides in when your film comes out, not to mention you’ll be the only blockbuster in the cinema at the time thanks to the industry’s shutdown over the past year, but will there be any theaters left when this hullabaloo is all said and done? On the strength of the announcement of No Time To Die’s postponement, whole theater chains have shuttered their doors because they just can’t stay in business. Will they be financially able to reopen in six months’ time?

No Time To Be Lucrative

 

So why not release it on streaming? In my opinion, EON fears streaming services for a few reasons:

First, I don’t think they’re confident enough in the product to stand it up against the glut of options available on those streaming services, these options I must point out to EON, will not dry up just because theaters open back up. And why would someone want to leave the comfort of their own home to venture out to a darkened, enclosed, crowded, potentially infectious theater? They hadn’t so far, so why in a few more months?

Second, EON is set in an antiquated way of thinking. Just look how they promote their films. Puff pieces in dead print media like Esquire magazine, a periodical so outdated Walter Winchell still has a byline!

And that my friends is why the buggy whip will never go out of fashion!

I mean, if you want outdated, just look at this geezer gadding about in braces (suspenders)!

A true modern fashion plate and for the love of God, get off his lawn!

 

When Cubby partnered with the magazines for promotion back in the Cro-Magnon days before the internet, print media was in full swing and publications like Playboy were just respectable enough with quality articles written by some of the preeminent authors of the day (including Fleming himself) coupled with the “sexy,” “risqué” attribute of including photos of nude women. Magazines like Esquire and GQ have become dead tree factories infused with musk samples and bloviating D-bags instructing you on how to properly dress like a circus clown. As to Playboy it doesn’t even exist anymore!

Now a days, thanks to the internet, well written essays are just a key stroke away, I mean you found this one right?!

  

 

And if it’s nudity you’re after, the strongest of pornography can be had by just typing the word boob into any search engine, even the high art stuff Playboy had been known for, the ability to coax young starlets out of their clothes for a highly posed and airbrushed pictorial has been usurped by leaked cell phone shots of your favorite movie stars, many of which are just as highly posed and airbrushed as those magazine spreads used to be.

I want you to appreciate me for my body… of work!

 

Back to those podcasts mentioned above, at least one made it to air before the plug was pulled on No Time To Die’s release date and in it Daniel Craig lets loose one hell of a revelation:

“The deal was, I said to [producers] Barbara [Broccoli] and Michael [G Wilson] before I read the script – it’s so arrogant, it’s ridiculous – I just said I can’t do an impression of something that’s come before, I can’t recreate what you’ve done before. Brilliant though that is, I can’t do it. I can’t come in and try and be something that people expect. I can come in and try and reinvent it, because that to me is fascinating and interesting.”

So, there you have it folks, straight from the man’s very own mouth: “Daniel Craig Is Not Bond,” So I don’t want to hear another word about it.

Now, before you first year film students down at the local junior college start screaming at me about “subverting expectations” a buzz phrase bandied about by people who think they are more interesting than they are, I’d like to say a few words about expectations.

 

It’s perfectly fine to subvert expectations when building something new. When you are creating from whole cloth, playing with the story beats and zigging when you are expected to be zagging, that’s fine. However, when you are presenting a tried and true property like Bond you must stay in the established framework or it ceases to be what you’ve promised. Here’s an example:

I order a cheeseburger, now I have expectations as to what I’ll get, at a minimum I’ll receive a beef patty and a slice of cheese between two pieces of bread. Anything else and you’re disrespecting your consumer’s intelligence. You can put your own spin on it by playing with what toppings you include, what type of cheese you employ and the style of bun it all rests between, but you can’t deviate from the core, otherwise it becomes a burrito!

Here’s your cheeseburger, jerk!

Bond is, or is supposed to be, a suave, sophisticated international man of mystery at his core. You can play with the situations he gets himself into, how he gets into and/or out of those situations and the supporting cast that help and/or hinder his efforts to deal with those situations, but to turn the character from a man who exudes an effortless cool no matter the stakes, to a perpetually pissed off goblin with a never-ending sourpuss on his face is akin to offering cheeseburgers on your menu and providing tomato soup instead!

Enjoy your cheeseburger, ass!

One more tortured analogy; I have expectations that a locomotive will stay on the track, if an engineer “subverts my expectations” in that regard and jumps the rails…

You end up with a train wreck!

 

Babz Broccoli also gets in on the act when she interjects this about the forthcoming film:

“…a culmination of everything that his portrayal of the character has been through, It ties up all the storylines, It’s a pretty epic film, I have to say.”

Oh, you mean just like SPECTRE?!

 

Not to be left out, director Cary Funksoulbrother had this to say:

“In terms of what I can bring to change the character…”

 

So again, we feel the need to change the character, no thanks, unless you’re changing him back to what he once was, however I doubt that:

“Bond is on a character arc that started with Casino Royale, and I will be carrying that on,”

What arc would that be Funk? Seeing as how the “Bond becomes Bond” narrative was quickly dropped like a hot potato the second it became too much of a suspension of disbelief that Craggy Craig was a young fledgling agent. Two films in he goes from rookie to crusty old timer! There is no character arc because there was no plan! These films from Quantum right on through this debacle were bodged together on set the morning of shooting, you know it, I know it and the only people who don’t, are those who don’t want to know it because they’ve stuck their heads in the sand!

Or in their collection of Sunspel boxer shorts!

 

  3 comments for “Oh No Ninjas!

  1. Babs and MGW are lazy old school raciest, they will not take a risk on a unique character instead they try to add a token token actor in the role of an already established character. Felix Leiter, Moneypenny, 007 were not cast based on how good the actors were but first and foremost because of their race.

    Lynch was cast as “black female 007”, for all of the problems DAD Jinx was somewhat refreshing as a character because of Halle Berry. While the roots of the character are a rehash of Bonds opposite number is a woman who is his equal (mind blown), Berry I felt had an authentic feel of a capable agent who happened to be a woman, who happened to be black.
    Craig’s era lacks substance they make superficial offerings using the race and sex of the actor as the most notable thing about them instead of their skill as an actor. The scripts description and then PR talking points are painfully clear the only thing the audience is supposed to notice are the race and/or sex of the actor and it’s supposed to shock the cultural norm. Except audience and society have moved well beyond whatever era the producers are stuck in.
    Lynch is stuck as a rehash of Jinx, who the producers like so much they tried to make a spin off series with her. They tried to make Moneypenny into her and cast Lynch as 00Jinx, now Babs and Craig want credit for virtue signaling.

    I think general audiences will be disappointed in 007 because they’ve seen Lynch play better empowered characters. The whole “she thinks she’s the best in MI6” thing is a dead Hollywood trope used here to try to add meaning were there is none, there are people IRL who broke through the boundaries placed on them by society EON is trying to steal that by Cut and pasting those accomplishments on a empty character.

    • Well said Omega, it reminds me of what EON did with Monica Bellucci leading up to SPECTRE, the first “Bond woman” instead of “Bond girl,” so much hype for a 5 minute disposable appearance full of forced expository dialog draped over a “seduction” scene that was full of what felt like just plain force.

      This is why I’m dubious of a black actor taking on the role of Bond, not that I have a problem with an actor of color in the role. I fear EON won’t just let the actor sit there and breath in the role, but rather they’ll feel the need to make him “black” and handle the character in their usual ham fisted manner.

  2. If they really want to subvert expectations, they should add one final scene to the film:

    (black screen)

    Man: Ahhhhhhh!

    Woman: James, darling, is everything alright?

    (light turns on, a man and woman are sitting in bed; the man covered in sweat)

    Pierce Brosnan: Yes dear, everything’s fine. I just had the most terrible 15-year long dream!

    (smash to James Bond theme)

    FIN

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