Monday, October 1, 2012

50th Anniversary Bond Rewatch "A View to a Kill" (1985)

As a fan of the popcorn, guilty pleasure, mindless entertainment aspect of the Bond series of films, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the films with the company of my brain. Maybe there is more to be found than escapism. Maybe some of the culture and thinking of the past 50 years has left its imprint…

As the last Moore Bond, filmed a couple installments after he was reported to have (and probably should have) retired from the role, this should be the worst of the lot. Moore is noticeably absent a lot of the time that his character is onscreen, and this may be the most annoying Bond Girl we have encountered so far. The Henchman this time around is memorable, but in a disturbing sort of way. And yet, in spite of it all, this has always been one of the more watchable of Moore’s films for me.

It has to be the story. Sure there is the whole forgettable last act. But up until then there is a Goldfinger-like caper; only it involves a crazy, ex-KGB, genetically engineered mastermind from East Germany. (Dresden, no less!) Back in the 80s, nothing said spy story like the Iron Curtain. Along the way we get some truly entertaining action and the usual dose of silliness that somehow this time around manages to produce chuckles instead of groans.

Grace Jones is the stand out element here. She is the perfect example of the mid-eighties push for androgyny. Normally it can be hard to see this cultural trend because it is still there albeit softened. Here, however, we have the big push to erase gender identity. It was an extension of the gender equality movement, which was a good thing, but one where feminism became a self-hatred. Some people quit seeing the beauty of diversity and tried to do away with it.

It is either ironic or pathetic that a property so steeped in chauvinism was pushed this far into another extreme. One does not put an end to racism by making everyone one race. And sexual inequality is not helped by creating multiple choice sexuality.

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