�F**k Me, James�

10.18.2006

By Mark Simpson

But perhaps the most proto-metrosexual aspect of the first James Bond is that he is also a sex object almost as ravishing as any of the ladies he ravishes, almost as fetishized as any of the objects of desire he toys with: a playboy we would like to play with. Raymond Chandler might have famously described the Bond of Ian Fleming's novels as 'what every man would like to be and what every woman would like to have between her sheets,' but the original screen Bond, for all his masterfulness, was a voyeuristic pleasure that men might want between their sheets and women might want to be.

With the possible and very brief exception of George 'legs' Lazenby (he made only one Bond movie in 1969; he has spent much of his subsequent career playing a lothario in a different franchise'the soft-porn Emmanuelle series), none of the other Bonds that came after have the charge, the sexiness, the perversity, the prophecy of Connery's '60s Bond. Ironically, it has been left to anyone other than Bond to realize the latent metrosexuality of the original, or even just maintain its charge. Bond has gone backwards toward the wall while the world's males have leaned over forward. Pretty boys Matt Damon and Tom Cruise in their respective Bourne Identity and Mission: Impossible Bond knockoff incarnations are closer to the real spirit of Bond than, well, Bond.

vFor starters, neither Roger Moore nor Timothy Dalton nor Pierce Brosnan even have bodies. They're clotheshorses embalmed in hair spray; 1950s knitwear catalog models. In fact, this is exactly what Roger Moore was before his TV career took off. By the time of his last outing in Die Another Day, Brosnan looked like a 1950s knitwear model trapped inside a computer game. And as for the sex scenes'well, they look like abuse'of Brosnan. After Connery's bit of polished '60s rough, James Bond seemed to be frightened of his own sexuality, of giving away too much.
Yes, post-'80s, feminism may have finally been acknowledged: Brosnan's boss is female. And the Bond girls may have become less, well, girly (e.g., Halle Berry in Die Another Day as the high-kicking sidekick), but this just makes Bond's own masculinityall the more unconvincing.
Paradoxically, we now live in a real world where England's sweaty soccer team can be captained by the most metrosexual male alive, but England's imaginary spy of the silver screen, who helped make Beckham's generation what it is, has to be more retro than metro.

Until now. The makers of the Bond films seem to have finally woken up to the problem. They have not renewed hairy brunet Brosnan's contract and have instead cast smooth, blond Craig in the role for the next three films'the first Bond actor who was born after Fleming's death. Underlining this overdue remodeling, the makers have announced that Casino Royale is a 'reboot' of the brand that will wipe out the previous cinematic time line. Bond is being reborn. Perhaps as what he promised us he could be 44 years ago.

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