Last weekend we finally managed to get out to see the recently released James Bond movie, "Skyfall". I have to admit that nobody will ever replace Sean Connery for me, but overall the film was pretty entertaining.
As you probably know, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first James Bond film. The new movie is very conscious of its history and deliberately plays with the Bond traditions. It's almost like going to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show - you just sit there waiting for the "Bond - James Bond" to pass those coldly smiling lips. At the same time, muddling old gadget engineer "Q" has been replaced by a twenty-something nerd, and Miss Moneypenny is no longer a fair English rose. Shanghai has superseded Moscow and encrypted hard drives are the new microfilm.
There are, of course, lots of fancy modern technology in Skyfall (possibly a bit more realistic than in some films), fiery explosions, gorgeous women, luxurious and exotic settings, well-tailored suits, and martinis shaken not stirred. Some things never change. One scene, though, made it very apparent that we're not in 1962 any more. This is the scene in which Bond receives a sexual proposition from the villain (played with manic finesse by Javier Bardem) - and suggests that he's had homosexual experiences in the past.
The interchange is brief, but for me at least, amazingly encouraging. James Bond is the ultimate male icon. The notion that he can talk calmly (if perhaps ironically) about feeling same-sex attraction in a PG movie is almost unbelievable. Clearly it doesn't make him less masculine or less of a hero, in the eyes of today's viewers.
I wanted to get up and dance around. Because I had the feeling that nobody really noticed all that much. Nobody booed, or left the theater, horrified.
As for me, I thought the scene was pretty hot, as Bardem strokes Bond's bare, scarred chest and makes veiled but unmistakable suggestions. But that's neither here nor there - everyone knows about my diverse erotic tastes.
What's important is that the world has changed. People have become more accepting of homoeroticism, less threatened. That's a step in the right direction, as far as I'm concerned.
Perhaps sometime soon, we'll even see a gay or bisexual secret agent, battling against the forces of evil. Maybe there will be "Bond guys" as well as "Bond girls". Who knows what the future holds?
Happy Anniversary, 007. Looks like you're growing up.