Old theme: Suave and charming Brit (Scot) saunters around utilizing mind-blowingly awesome but useless technology, sleeps with women by the dozen and somehow foils terrorism.
New theme: Surly beefcake sprints around making no attempt to spare lives or show benevolence, shows nothing but disdain for new technology and old traditions (shaken or stirred? Why cares!), driving whatever car paid the most to be advertised and maybe getting around for sexy time with the ‘bond girl’, while single handedly fighting (like melee, all the freaking time) every black belted minion that the villain has hired in an attempt to cause super death to the masses.
Don’t get me wrong, they are good movies. I like them, but not in the same way as the old. The charm and playfulness of the previous bond films is absent (No more stripper names) and what has replaced it is a harsh, solemn view of a post cold war, pre apocalyptic world where every day we all escape becoming the mutated death pirates of nuclear fallout.
This is a common trend as of late, as any retake on classic films now attempts to make them violent, dark and satirically gritty (Alice in wonderland, The new Oz movie, Batman, Superman). Are we bored as a culture now? Is it not okay for plots to be silly and amusing sometimes? Must we come as close as possible to vicariously simulating the actual kidnapping of our child, the rape of our loved ones (seriously, why did the girl with the dragon tattoo have so much mass appeal? Am I out of the loop now? Is brutality like the new ‘thing’ ) or suicidal depressions we would normally only encounter in the darkest, most sorrow laden moments of our lives. I think the new James Bonds (or Jason Bourne, Die Hard, Taken) say something about who we are as a culture now. We aren’t satisfied with normal life anymore. Hell, we aren’t even satisfied with a mildly exciting, possibly exaggerated life now. What we want and seek as a culture now is a harsh, destructive hyperbole contrived through every step to provide a non stop thrill of death, sex, sorrow and violence.
The need for larger and more prolonged doses of excitement and elation resemble another phenomenon with similar patterns. Drug Addiction.
Yeah, I think we have blown through the casual usage phase and are spiraling deep into the chasm of full blown dependence. Our culture has become so loud and repetitive (Think I’m crazy? Here’s my number, call me maybe?), so caustic and derisive (Rappers are now literally laughing in our ears, telling us how much money they’ve stripped us of), sexual and perverse.
Think about it: Drake, lil wayne, Katy Perry – this is modern pop. This is what replaced Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Hall and Oates and Elvis. Remember singing about crocodile rock and smooth criminals when you were a kid? What do you think kids sing about in the car now? Blunts, 40s, molesting aliens, popping gang members, drinking Cristal?
So why? Why is this what we lust for as a culture now? Are we becoming the floating, seated, naive fatties from Wall-E and this is our modern rebellion? We wish our lives weren’t being outsourced to technology, leaving us bored and impotent, so we surround ourselves with this harsh, screaming culture of extremes to remind us that if we ever did get up off the couch and put on pants, perhaps there is some excitement still around to absorb.
Or maybe we just want to filter, synthesize and amplify everything we’ve always liked and our desires to have immediate gratification has caused us to just sew together every thing we’ve always wanted into one large, neon tapestry? Thanks Hollywood for being the best pimp, dealer and terrorist we’ve always wanted.