I have always been (since the movies came out, which, by the way, are hilarious) convinced that the original James Bond should be Austin Powers and that the writer Fleming’s Bond should be his radicalization and aping. Between the two there is no doubt: the more plausible and even the deeper is the first.
It is hard to find in the history of “literature” (let’s also include such garbage in it) before, and then in cinema, an equally odious, tedious, flat, non-existent, vulgar, character, duller and more “poorly blended” than James Bond; which, so to ratify once again the lack of taste of the average sapiens, has had great success.
Now I have to make an unsympathetic, but functional comparison, since fortunately hope illuminates the way of mental progress, as also another “British” character, antecedent, and somehow with something painfully in common to the other one, even for (broadly considered) social and cultural backgrounds of the authors, is instead excellent, and he was successful, too, and so he continues to be.
Sherlock Holmes has all the elegance Bond has not, he is as deep as Bond is not, as pleasant as Bond is not: it is perhaps his alter ego? Not at all, but he is his judge and executioner! He is born first, he is born better, and if the world were not populated and in the hands of idiots, he would have prevented the birth of the second.
Action men! Take the poor Sherlock, deprive him completely of what makes him ironic and brilliant, his delicious defects and the most ingenious characteristics, including his hilarious and creeping misogyny (and make him a sexist chauvinist, instead), beat him like a horseshoe until he is completely flattened, vulgar, and dip him in the fake -Russian mafia like- elegance in which Bond wallows like a fish, pervert every aspect of him and practically snatch him out of the agile and wise hands of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and deliver him to the rough and heavy ones of a matriculated imbecile as Fleming, and you will have what people (in the worst simian sense that this word can mean) deserves and likes. The most banal male dream of a flat encephalogram brain.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish (of Irish ancestry), to be considered, along with Edgar Allan Poe, one of the founders of the fantastic and of detective stories; doctor (as Watson) and successful person, of strong character, honored and convinced man (in good faith, even when wandering, like every human being), evolutionist, precursor to time, he gave the world one of the richest and most beloved -rightly beloved- characters of history! A celebration of the human mind, of courage, of science, and also of friendship!
Perhaps the writer himself would discreetly be at the side of his own creation, and not arrogantly taking out a stupid celebration of the self from the page. Doyle is a Watson glad to have known the character he created.
Holmes (poor guy) has a connection to Bond -but as all the heroes before, and then superheroes- considering the fact that he never loses! He is always right! And in particular, he has skills and unsuspected competencies, piled sometimes foolishly. But with what grace, with what magic, spirit, he has “piled them up”, though!
Who cannot get excited, or even be moved, thinking back to the books? He has neither heart nor brain! Who is cold to the mastiff, to the one love of his entire life of a scandal in Bohemia (what an elegance just even in the title!) to the dialogue of two friends who are starting to know each other, to the amazement of Dr. Watson (Holmes does not know the Copernican system), or to the mind of the protagonist, agitated by the feverish thrill of knowledge, maybe pricking himself with the needle, or to his bizarre brother, even smarter than himself! And even to the drugs! So much to remember!
Sometimes, all those situations are simple gimmicks, but proposed with such a charisma, such a strength, an elegance, written and described with such grace to become all a display of genius, all of them! So much, to be able to enter even into fossil pumpkin skulls with no aesthetic talent, and in the collective imagination of… anyone.
How not to love Doyle, Poe… but also Wells, Lovecraft! What a magnificent era!
So it is, that even today its echo, the echo of the writer Doyle himself, and not only of his character (his characters!) left to posterity, and now in the hands of others, resonates everywhere: present and unavoidable.
The character sometimes seems even to bless those who deal with it, if we think that, horrendous exceptions aside, generally pleasing artifacts are created, as it was (besides the classic Basil Rathbone and the impeccable Jeremy Brett, the most philological one) even the role played by Robert Downey Jr (I was not confident), was good, even if far from the text.
Parodies and spoofs can be pleasant too, sometimes, and definitely pleasant is the new TV series, which, although heavily discounted (I did not think it was possible and I was far wrong), it is also very fascinating. It does not betray the original spirit of the subject, from which there is still much to learn, if, while making substantial changes (for example, giving an unprecedented prominence to Mycroft) they have been able not to betray anything fundamental. Of course the interpreters, as the writers, are all talented!
About Fleming I just remember that he was born rich, he was dissolute and conceited, that he had started writing due to marital boredom and he boasted of killing someone during the war, fact that was, moreover, probably not true. As if there was something to boast about killing, even if being in the war, to the point of inventing it.
In short, a British snob and spoiled aristocratic, shallow and inconsistent, who probably directly and without grace poured into his own papers, as an “ideal” jerk of his poor, myopic ego, an “alter ego” of what he wanted to be himself, but even so, as flat as his author, dull as an anvil: an invincible man of action, womanizer, athletic and yet resistant to drinking. And there it all ends! As stupid as only an imbecile of that small, narrow world can be.
If there had not been a war, a guy like that would probably not have seen more than his privileged garden of a rich kid, and only about that he speaks: casinos, rich idiots, cocktails, spies, political intrigues, bridge, cigarettes. Witty jokes on ties and the ace of hearts, from crafty capricious dudes, between giggling idiots in conversations devoid of any purpose.
The success of the first movie was unexpected because, probably, those who had made him had a brain, and they realized that the character was miserable and mediocre. But never underestimate the human idiocy! Especially the female one! Who loves machismo that they claim to hate.
And still today, if the films were not based on special effects and technology, the antics of the satellite characters (Q, M, and a retarded secretary), all inconsistent, and if the deeds were not estranged from those who were in the books, and they were not expertly seasoned by nowadays entertainment professionals, and spiced with the narcotic of unlikely situations and contrary to the laws of physics, that seem to excite so much the Cro-Magnon that evolution has inexplicably wanted to save from extinction to fill the cinemas, they would be more boring than a whole evening listening to mandolin and Neapolitan songs.
My hatred for Bond, I stopped to follow and appreciate him at an early age, when, nineteen, I found it tedious and repetitive, is as much as the one of the villains (also steadfast, ridiculous and vulgar) of his movies. My sentence, when he appears on the screen, is always: “I will kill you, Mr. Bond!” While I comb a cat with hooked fingers.
Who, from the shelves of a library where Sherlock Holmes is present, even if he had already read it, extract a book (or a DVD) of James Bond instead, deserves to die beheaded by a ridiculous flying hat!
One of the signs of general decay of taste that I, thrilled, contemplated, was seeing the actor who currently plays the UK spy (and that is also a good actor! Certainly better than Connery), escort the real queen of England. On the other hand, a queen is an equally ridiculous and out of time character, and probably she understands it, if she offers herself to such a style fall.
About all this remains the consolation of considering how monarchs simply have nothing more to say to the world, if they are not anymore the elegant, icy, human being contemptuous of the populace that stupidly admires them!
The only positive result of such a sad parody of reality is to make absolutely clear the loss of power of that odious and tyrannical island, that the whole world hopes, it will eclipse forever by human history.