Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Duel of the Bonds/Bournes

I grew up with Bond's movies, though I have never read a single book by Ian Fleming, the creator of the secret agent famously known as the double O 7 of Her Majesty Service. The sleek car, which later metamorphosed into the amphibian vehicle, the Bond girls, the resourceful villains who always seem to survive all manners of killing and would come back for a last hurrah, and gadgets that are always at the frontiers of technology when they were first introduced in the movies.

Despite many actors having been cast in the lead role, Sean Connery remains my favorite Bond guy, with Pierce Brosnan a distant second. Given enough exposure, perhaps Daniel Craig can give my hero a run for the money. But until then, he just has to bid his time.

Then along came the Bourne trilogy, though I have yet to watch the Ultimatum. However, unlike the Bond genre, Bourne is essentially a one-man wrecking crew, who at time appears to be too emotionless for my comfort. Bourne makes up for the lack of institutional support offered by the parallel M5 intelligence, he being a renegade or having gone rouge in spy parlance, by playing to the David and Goliath scenario, the classic underdog against the behemoth, and we all know where the support will go.

And Matt Damon fits the mold of a calculating maverick, when he is not tormented by memory recalls, to the hilt. Despite his small size by the standard of any Hollywood lead man, he excels in being cast as a mix of the psychopathic, but not sociopathic, and the ruthless, but not self-righteous. In that sense, his performance in the Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13, the last of which I’ve yet to see, is a slight let-down for his bookish mannerism. But the series or sequels have George Clooney and Brad Pitt to deflect attention. And that’s another story.

Another difference is I have read some of Robert Ludlum’s novels, who of course is the creator of the Bourne cult that is sweeping across the celluloid screen with the recent release of the last of the trilogy.

I have seen nothing but raving reviews, even from my colleagues. Also, I have watched several reruns of the first two on TV, each time it being successful in captivating my rapt attention. But the same cannot be said of reruns of James Bond kicking ass, especially those by Roger Moore.

And to prove the point, I have Bourne’s DVDs, but not Bond’s. Even Sean Connery’s cool demeanor and fine acting seem like such old stuff in comparison and cannot help tilt the balance at this time. So over to you, Daniel Craig and the gang.

Sorry for the seeming frivolity of today’s blog but I do need an injection of levity sometimes. Carpe Diem!


Yang-May said...

Hi Say Lee - I'm more of a Bourne fan, I'm finding. Matt Damon is great. And the women are a bit less cliched in the Bourne movies.

But the Daniel Craig Bond movie was riveting - the chase scene all over the building site was heart-stopping.

Say Lee said...

Yes, I forgot to mention that Bourne's ladies are not props, but are there for a reason.

Thanks for reminding me of the chase scene, Yang-may. As I recall, it happened in some kind of marketplace, kind of reminded me of Jackie Chan doing his patented chase scenario.

Actually, I thought we would not be seeing the last of the dark-skinned guy (the one being chased) after the chase scene, seeing that he was as fleet-footed as Bond though in fleeing, but then he was just killed like that. I thought that was anti-climatic.

Kitty Girl said...

Regarding Bourne, the character. I was reading this site on movie mistakes (some are very funny), www.moviemistakes.com (what else, eh?), and one of the scientific mistakes of the Bourne movies is that it would be virtually impossible (or maybe just plain impossible, I forget) for a person who has completely lost his memory to be in any kind of condition to be running around killing people. Something like that. Not just amnesia, but like total memory loss.

Anyhow, I have never seen the Bourne movies, actually I take that back, I think I saw one of them. The first one, maybe. But anyway. I suppose at the time Connery was the bomb as Bond, but times have indeed changed. I personally do not find Daniel Craig very attractive, but he did a decent job in the movie, I suppose. His ears are too small. Anyway I don't really watch action movies all that much.

Are you a fan of British humor? The most recent movie we watched is Hot Fuzz, a British action-comedy. It was really funny, but also a bit gory, so I wouldn't recommend it for you and Mom.

I won't even talk about Ocean's 13... The first one was good, the second one mediocre, and I've heard the third one positively sucks.

Say Lee said...

Well, movies are for entertainment. I never want to delve too deep into whether certain things make sense 'cos it's supposed to be make believe.

I like all kinds of humor, including British. I still remember some of the scenes from the days of "Mind your language" and "Yes, Minister". But the Atkinson guy may be a bit too much.