In a post September 11th world, in which John Ashcroft and Co. claim that evildoers lurk everywhere, intelligence reports make the news. Yet, the most famous spy movie series ever chooses not to address any of the problems of international terrorism. James Bond is apparently too busy chasing women and showing off his Omega watch.
In the new movie, the villain builds a gigantic lens in earth orbit that can focus a beam (or is it “laser”?) of sunlight and wipe out the American bases in South Korea, allowing the North to take over. There have been a number of outlandish and unbelievable plots, but this one steals the cake. While making a quite serviceable action flick, the makers passed up a good opportunity to also make a statement.
The irony is that older Bond movies that were made in the 1960s have plots that seem more likely in today’s situation of international terrorism. In the movie Goldfinger (made in 1964, the one with the “laser”), the titular character and villain Auric Goldfinger, plans to detonate a nuclear device in Fort Knox to irradiate the gold reserves of the United States. This would bring up the gold price of the gold he personally owns but also inadvertently would cause the collapse of the American dollar, since the gold is used to back it on the international market. Doesn’t this sound like a plot al-Qaida might use to disrupt the stock market? In the last months experts have repeatedly warned about “dirty bombs” that might do just that — spread nuclear (not to be confused with “nucular,” Mr. Bush) radiation in a place that is key in our western society and bring it to grinding halt.
In other movies like You Only Live Twice (made in 1967, the one with the secret underground lair, white cat, swivel chair and of course “magma”) the best Bond-villain ever, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (that’s Dr. Evil for you), plays chess with the superpowers. He has a plot that makes it seem as if Russia and the United States are fighting each other openly, even though this is not the case. He hopes that this will lead the superpowers to attack each other while he can secretly take over the world. Saddam Hussein has been doing less grand but similar things over the last couple of years. He lacks the white cat but is almost as good in orchestrating events in the Middle East to set one faction against another. It has yet to be proven, but several sources claim he has been funding suicide attacks in Israel to destabilize the Middle East. His goal was to thereby prevent the United States to intervene in his own country because they would be afraid to destabilize the situation even further.
Then, of course, there was the group of people with box-cutters who hijacked some planes and a guy who had an exploding shoe (that thankfully did not work). I guess what the makers of the new Bond movie noticed is that CNN lately has better plot lines than anything they could come up with. Why try to top real life if you can’t? I guess I just expected too much and will have to stick to my DVD collection of movies made in the ’60s.
Sebastian Meyer is a production assistant and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org