It was 70 years ago today when Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale first landed on bookshelves. The novel where 007 all began even ended up as a comic strip in the Daily Express. It sparked a film franchise that in many ways has surpassed the original impact and success of the author’s eleven spy books and two short stories. Yet the Bond of 1953 is a total anachronism to the agent we all watched be blown to smithereens in No Time To Die.
As Dame Judi Dench’s M so aptly put it to 007 in 1995’s GoldenEye: “I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War.” Bond is an alcoholic, chaining-smoking, womanising Old Etonian who saves the world. And while that may sound like the characteristics of half of our former Prime Ministers, he’s not real. Nor is he or should he be a role model. And yet are EON Productions trying to make him something of one?
Over the last six decades of Bond movies, he’s slowly been tamed from the unwanted sexual advances of the Sean Connery era to an emotional, father figure who settles with one woman by the end of Daniel Craig’s tenure. Yes, the world changes, but should Bond with it? Arguably he’s becoming less and less of the 007 that Fleming intended in the first place.