Many things happened in my life during the period
separating SPECTRE from No Time To Die. Six years
where I left a job I wasn't comfortable with, lived the worst financial crisis
of my life, moved to a particularly small house, endured all the lockdowns
imposed by the pandemic, and was hit by the unexpected passing of two people I
held deep in my heart – both associated to James Bond in plenty of ways. One
was my dad, the man who told me who 007 was and took me to watch all the films:
the new ones on the big screen, the old ones on VHS. The other was a love
interest, a unique, marvellous girl who always supported my Bondmanship. She
got me autographs and reached impossible lengths to please me in every way she
could. That said, I knew neither this girl nor my father would be sitting next
to me when the 25th James Bond film was finally hitting the screens after way
too many delays caused by coronavirus or production issues. But James Bond was back, and there's nothing better than a new James Bond film to
set your hopes up when you've been through a lot.
Flash forward to the last hours of September 29, 2021.
People were leaving the screening room. Everyone seemed confused: some of the
confused people eventually turned optimistic about this film, but I certainly
didn't. I just wanted to pick a taxi and go home, away from all the eyes
identifying me as "the Bond fan" or "the guy who runs a Bond fan
site related to Argentinean releases". I didn't want to be unpolite to the
people of the British Embassy that organized a great Bond-themed event that
quickly became a funeral, so I managed to say "The event was fantastic. I
can't say the same about the movie, but the event was beautiful", or
resort to things like "the end credits still say James Bond Will
Return". It was precisely one of them who asked me: "How?" and,
soon enough, me, the Bond expert, was as lost as anyone in the room.
When I finally grabbed a taxi after greeting my friend who was confused but
then loved the movie, I was dumbstruck. I even closed the door with a slam when
I got off the vehicle: it's typical of me, since I always have that problem: I
either close it too softly and the door won't close, or I slam it and I get the
usual complaint. But that night it didn't matter. I walked half a block home.
My mom was there. I took my tie off and she served me a full glass of red wine.
After I drink it, I pronounced the words I would have never thought I would
pronounce. The words I would have never in my life wanted to
"Mom... they've done it. They killed James Bond. The f*ckers did it!"
And so it was. Almost 24 years of my life had a different meaning. I went back
to all the moments where Ian Fleming's character has accompanied me in
different ways: through films, books, comics, video games... I remembered when
dad rented me the Nintendo 64 with the GoldenEye game and when
we sat together with him and my mom to watch the same film on TV. When he
bought me the The Man With The Golden Gun VHS and told me about
"a stunt where Bond makes a 360-degree jump with a car over a broken
bridge". I remembered when I was about to move from my childhood home and
I sat there, in the middle of the crisis, watching the early minutes of For
Your Eyes Only on an old VCR connected to a TV on the floor of the
desolated house. I remembered my first articles at the age of 13, one of them
being Bond's biography according to Ian Fleming. I remembered my excitement
when my dad bought me the Special Edition DVD of Goldfinger and
when I nearly throw a glass to the floor when I jumped off the seat as the
local news was broadcasting the production launch of Die Another Day.
I even remembered some things of the Daniel Craig era, particularly when I
planned that trip to Rio de Janeiro to watch SPECTRE with this
special girl that an illness took away way too soon.
With all that, another image came to my mind. The hard
times I went through at school for being a James Bond fan. I don't know if
"bullying" is a rather strong word for it, But follow: the ambience
of an elementary and high school is the exact opposite of the world where Bond
moves. At school, everyone stinks, everyone is loud, vulgar, disrespectful, a
troublemaker... and someone who admires an action hero who is identified with
suits, tuxedos, gambling, expensive cars and exotic drinks will always be seen
as "different", and different people seldomly have a great time. When
people came at me saying that Bond was outdated, that he was old-fashioned,
ridiculous and didn't have a chance, I always pointed out that he was something
special and not just another superhero attached to fantasy worlds like Superman
or Green Lantern or the Marvel ones. Bond was the adult fantasy kids like to
enjoy, and nothing sells you adult life than a Bond film, even when that
promotion may be slightly misleading at times. And there'll always be Bond in
the upcoming decades, no matter how long a film takes to make.
I stood by the creation of Ian Fleming, which Albert R
Broccoli and Harry Saltzman turned into a worldwide sensation.
But that evening, I had no words. No possible way to
defend Bond. He killed himself, forced by five people who wrote that
regrettable script. People behind others who seem to have little to no respect for
the great and vast legacy behind them. People who definitely have no respect
towards the many people, a simple dot in their statistics, that have carried
the torch of Bond in the darkest and farthest corners of the world.
comments about No Time To Die, at least for this blog post. And I
know the death of a fictional character has no comparison to the death of
people in real life. But I tell you, and I speak for many people who have also
lost people during the pandemic, that seeing such a great emblem of our popular
culture self-destructing pathetically after getting injected by a nanobot-based
virus that spreads death by touching is rather macabre. Bond films always
reflected current affairs, and Bond could impose against anything. That was
something to admire of him. "No matter the odds, they don't stand a chance
against Bond!", said a radio spot promotion You Only Live Twice.
ago, we were given a glimpse of the most dystopian thing outside science
fiction or films set in the future. A world without James Bond. I want to share
the words of Luke Quantrill in his review for Alternative 007, which echo
my thoughts quite fittingly: "The people at MI6 have a drink in memory of
James Bond and then go back to work. They've forgotten him already. So in this
Bond universe, Moneypenny sits at her desk in the MI6 headquarters but James
Bond is dead and will never walk through the office door again? Isn't that the
most depressing thing you can imagine? I don't even like Craig's Bond and I'm
annoyed by the ending of this film."
That said, there is something positive I want to take out of this gloomy
situation we were left in one year ago. And it has to do with me. My conscience
is clear: I know I'm a huge James Bond fan, in the literal sense of the word.
The 1962-2002 period will always have a special place in my heart and I will
keep collecting memorabilia from it and rewatching those films. I'll make it
extensive to 1953-2005, actually, to include the Casino Royale novel
and the From Russia With Love video game. A corporation may
have killed Bond and subjected him to whatever they plan next to have a couple
of millions of dollars, but I don't follow the corporation. In 1998, I became a
Bond fan, not an EON fan. I'll continue to celebrate every one of Bond's 20
cinematic triumphs, not every one of his five steps towards the gallows.
They said No Time To Die was a divisive film. I agree. It
divided those who have a profound admiration towards the character and relate
to it from those who just need a place to spend their platinum credit cards,
even when it means directly financing the corporation that destroyed him.
I'm glad to
be on the right side of that spectrum.