- 1 James Bond – Brand History
- 2 Movie hero as a billboard
- 3 One can advertise not only goods, but also values
- 4 Bondiana sunset
- 5 In the James Bond pictures, the following adverse film indicators are observed:
56 years, 24 films (not including several unofficial pictures), 16 Oscars, dozens of Emmy Awards, BAFTA, etc .; 7 billion dollars from box offices, not counting income from DVD, advertising, sales of related products – and all this is one movie franchise with one main character. And now other figures related to this same character: in shot he killed almost 400 people, had more than 60 sexual partners, he drank almost 300 portions of strong alcohol. This is James Bond, a symbol of British culture and one of the most popular film characters in the world.
The announced figures are far from final, because the franchise about Bond lives and is not going to fade away: in 2019, the release of the anniversary 25th film of the series is planned and it will most likely not be the last one either. What ideas does the whole film epic and its main character broadcast to the mass audience? In this article we will consider the most significant of them.
James Bond – Brand History
James Bond, who is also the “agent of 007 Her Majesty”, was invented by the British writer Jan Fleming. For the screen version of his books took producer Albert Broccoli, who created Bond in the form as we know it, working on the films of this series for more than 30 years. Yang Fleming himself, being an avid smoker and alcoholic and regularly suffering from cardiovascular diseases, had not lived to see the premiere of the third screen version of his novel, and also until the final edition of the 14th book on Bond. But the image of the character, to whom he thoughtfully passed many of his thoughts and vices, through the efforts of the Broccoli family, lives to this day, without being attached to the work of Fleming.
And this fact is very revealing. If scriptwriters, directors and main actors change from film to film, then the same family is engaged in producing the film throughout the history of the film franchise. Given the continuity of the transmitted meanings, which will be disclosed later, this pattern is another confirmation of the unspoken rule of a major film business: “he who pays the piper calls the tune”
Albert Broccoli died in 1996, passing the baton of his daughter Barbara. Interestingly, in addition to the films about James Bond, Barbara has no other merit in the cinema, nor is there any outstanding work in another sphere. But at the same time Barbara became a member of the Order of the British Empire, and in 2014 was elected a member of the jury for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Also, high honors from the British authorities were awarded to the performers of the role of Bond: Sean Connery in 2000 received the title “sir” and was consecrated to the knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II; a similar title for the promotion of English culture in its time went to Roger Moore.
In addition to encouraging those who worked on the creation of the Bondiana, iconic representatives of the Western elites often themselves advertised films about the 007. So, when in 1961 the critics crushed another novel from the Bond series “Doctor No”, the magazine “Life” called the following novel about Bond “From Russia with Love” of one of President Kennedy’s ten favorite books, thereby instantly making Ian Fleming the best-selling author of criminal novels in the United States and ensuring the popularity of the entire film franchise. These days, similar PR-campaigns are used. In 2015, the grand premiere of the film “Spectre” was visited by the British royal couple – Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton. In the photographs that have scattered around the world, it is clear how they communicate with the performer of the role of the next Bond by Daniel Craig; shake his hand, thereby giving great honor to the image of James Bond and the actor who played it.
A few years earlier, this same Craig in the image of Bond, along with the brightest representatives of the British aristocracy, was noted in the video of the opening of the Olympics in London. At the same time he played paired with the real British Queen, for which Elizabeth was later christened “the most unforgettable Bond’s girl.”
All these facts indicate that the James Bond film franchise is not just a large-scale entertaining product, but a kind of visiting card of the United Kingdom and the United States, which conveys certain views and values to the mass audience. But it’s better to start talking about how the story is filled with the meanings and ideas needed by the customer with a simple and understandable even unprepared reader of the topic of product placement, that is, using the canvas of the film for open or veiled advertising of certain goods and services.
Movie hero as a billboard
In capitalist realities, where the ball is ruled by money and profit, the sphere of mass culture inevitably intertwines with the advertising industry. Therefore, it is quite natural that even James Bond is used to advertise various products, from cosmetics and smartphones and ending with strong alcohol and condoms. It is naive to assume that the authors of Bondiana may not be aware of promotions with their images and logos. Of course, James Bond is a brand that is sold for a lot of money.
Naturally, in addition to open advertising, hidden advertising is also actively used in the films themselves, which are largely shot and sponsored by the producers of goods. So, James Bond for decades wears Tom Ford glasses and Omega watches, he prefers Aston Martin cars, occasionally changing to Bentley, calling from the Xperia phone, drinking Heineken beer and so on. Various companies give away millions of dollars, so that in the new film Bond dressed in a certain suit, lit a cigar and called from a certain phone. It is not difficult to guess that all this is done to improve the selling of certain goods.
The algorithm of the work of such hidden advertising is extremely simple. At the first stage, the viewer is inspired with an attractive image, to which the future consumer should want to strive. In our case, the audience is stimulated by a subconscious desire to be like James Bond – a strong, clever and always compelling superhero, alpha male and knight in one person. After this, you only need to show that the image is inseparable from specific brands. Accordingly, if you want to be the same – please, buy these goods. Today the phrase about the fact that “demand forms a proposition” has long ago become irrelevant. In the age of marketing, demand is artificially shaped by similar manipulative techniques. Actually, the whole theory of marketing is for this purpose created to impose to a person what he/she in most cases absolutely does not need. Realize this the buyers of brands or not, but the cost of their Omega watches or Heineken beer is charged for the special effects in the James Bond films and on the fee to Daniel Craig. This is how mass culture works under capitalism.
One can advertise not only goods, but also values
However, the problem is not so much in the mercantile spirit of the creators of Bondiana, who left the original work half a century ago, turning the hero of Fleming’s novels into a billboard and a means of earning in any way, but in that, through the main character, a certain type of thinking is advertised and a way of life, and it is for this franchise that the royal figures of the British monarchy are supported. Despite the fact that Bond films differ even in genres (sometimes it’s a comedy, sometimes a drama, a thriller or a fantasy), the basic ideas and stereotypes of behavior from story to story remain unchanged, creating a clear structure of concepts that are passed on to the audience.
Men are taught that the image of Bond is the image of the “Real Man”, a kind of modern “knight without fear and reproach”, to which the male spectator must necessarily want to be like. At the same time, the image of “007 agent” is not separated from alcohol, tobacco and is full of violence. For women, Bond’s girls – often easily accessible, aggressive and vicious disposable heroines serve as an example for imitation, whom Bond always successfully “loses” somewhere off-screen.
In addition, James Bond, who at first tried to be out of politics, eventually became a “well-deserved veteran of the Cold War”, participating in an ideological flashing of the whole world. In the ideology broadcast by default, the idea of the exclusivity and superiority of the Anglo-Saxon world (primarily Great Britain and the US) and their unconditional right to change the course of history and interfere in the internal affairs of other states is a red thread. Of course, the Russians occupy a special place among the enemies of the national British hero, which is very revealing. A classic manipulative technique used in the Bond films for many years: villains and criminals in any plot must be armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
Now let’s talk more about the immediate filling of James Bond’s image.
Bond and alcohol
A favorite Bond’s cocktail, which is voiced in every film is “vodka with martini”. “Shake it up, but do not mix it up” is a phrase that the main character himself or his enemies / allies say regularly to tell how much they know about him. According to estimates of experts, investigating the alcoholism of the James Bond movie hero, in the performance of Sean Connery, agent 007 drank about 11 portions of alcohol for one and a half hour film. But the closer to the present, the more poison began to flood the super-agent in himself. So Pierce Bronsan has already drunk 12 servings per film, and Daniel Craig has to work out money as much as four Bond sponsors from the alcohol lobby who have openly financed the film “Skyfall”. In total, Bond Craig consumes already 20 portions of alcohol per film.
And, if the previous Bonds drank alcohol cocktails or champagne, then the new Bond is delighted with cognac and bourbon and only occasionally “dabbles” with elite champagne or beer. For all the epic times Bond drank almost 300 portions of alcohol of different strengths. In books (and books are exactly 10 less than films), the figure is even more impressive – 1150 servings of alcohol. So the same demand is formed for the mass audience to self-poison.
Simply put, Bondiana systematically promotes alcohol, making it quite false and despicable – in the sense that the poisoning process is shown in the most positive and attractive form without any negative health consequences.
In 2013, British scientists decided to find out how a real person, who consumes so much poison, would feel, and came to the conclusion that the real James Bond would not live to be 50 years old, ingloriously dying from cirrhosis of the liver. About communication with beauties and sex with them, too, you can forget. The smell of fumes, cyanosis of the skin, endarkenment does not contribute to male attractiveness. Completing the same image of such a grief-Casanova fast and imminent impotence. But beyond all common sense, Bond, being an alcoholic, has amazing physical abilities and at any age (played by actors from 40 to 60 years old) shoots accurately, runs fast, jumps high, fights with young enemies, sustains psychological and physical violence, and always remains the winner. Clever, cunning, hardy and charming, never suffering from intoxication, hangover, health problems and his own inefficiency (in one of the novels Bond after taking more than 30 servings of alcohol sat behind the wheel).
Why is the image of the “real man” soaked with such a frankly disastrous for any person lies? It’s very simple, as it was said, Ian Fleming wrote the hero partly from himself, giving him his habits and attitude to life, health, legalized drugs and women. Naturally, this feature of his character was strongly liked by alcoholic lobbyists (one must understand that the alcohol business is one of the most profitable and dirty ones), which began to openly sponsor new James Bond films, giving out alcohol propaganda for “superhero style”. Therefore, even now, when calls to popularize a healthy lifestyle (proper nutrition, weight tracking, sports, etc.) appear more and more often on the screen, sobriety, as the foundation of mental and physical health, in movies and on TV, is still forget, revealing one of the most recognizable and influential images of the 20th century permanently drinking.
Bond and tobacco
Probably the second, from which the real agent 007 would die, is from lung cancer. The book’s Bond is an avid smoker, who smokes 70 cigarettes a day. The number of cigarettes smoked in films can not be counted, which again does not prevent him from feeling great, running and seducing ladies quickly – with smoky lungs and rotten teeth. But Bond and cigarettes have a slightly more complicated relationship than Bond and alcohol.
It all started with the era of Bond-Roger Moore in the 70’s. The new performer of the role of “her Majesty’s agent” according to the official version demanded to remove the cigarettes from the frame … to replace the cigars. Moore himself was an avid lover of cigars and wanted to update the image of his hero, combining “pleasant with useful.” This love for branded cigars inherited the rest of the Bonds, and in 2002, under Pierce Brosnan, a scandal broke out with anti-smoking activists who legitimately accused Bondiana of promoting tobacco. As a result, in 2005, a new James Bond performed by Daniel Craig in the first scenes of the movie “Casino Royale” announced that he did not smoke.
But as the saying goes, “any port in a storm”. By banning smoking Bond on the screen, the activists could not prohibit smoking the Bond role in photosessions not directly related to the image of 007. Thus, the benefit of the ban on smoking to modern Bond in the frame was partially leveled, because “Bond” now smokes through the role of his actor in a huge number of photo sessions, which demonstrates how persistently narcologists are in promoting their business.
Interestingly, these photographs are not officially part of any tobacco company’s advertising, but supposedly made simply “for the beauty of the shot.” But one should not cherish the illusions about arbitrariness of such events, simply the customer wished to remain incognito, paying for advertising / propaganda of the smoking process and retaining the image of James Bond as a heavy smoker.
Bond and women
As mentioned above, Bond has a lot of disposable women. In each film, there is a “Girl of Bond” – a mistress for one film. And sometimes there are several: one main and plus additional mistresses. The main “Bond’s girl” is an ally in a certain task of the protagonist, a mistress whose relationship ends usually behind the scenes, and more she does not appear, giving way to the next.
At first glance at the Bondiana women one is amazed at their appearance. Regardless of who is in front of us: a prostitute, a pilot, a billionaire’s daughter, a secret agent, a seer – she will always look like a 20-year-old beauty with a deep, callous neckline, ready to fall into the arms of the protagonist after several minutes of dating. This is also one of the tools for the formation of certain patterns of beauty and behavior stereotypes.
So, in the world of Bond, the KGB major looks like (the film ” The Spy Who Loved Me”):
And this is how – a specialist in chemical weapons from the movie “The World Is Not Enough”:
The very attitude of Bond to the opposite sex is also peculiar: even from the first film, any pretty person next to him becomes a victim of his persistent and not always cultural flirtation, which does not meet with a refusal (if he meets first, then after a while the woman chosen by him will get in bed with him). And this woman can be not only a friend, but also an enemy, maybe an ally or a traitor, which after coition Bond leads directly to her future executioners.
The message to the viewer is simple enough: be at ease with anyone and whenever you like, focusing only on your animal instincts; do not think about creating a family, children and other “little things of life.”
Attitude towards a woman as a sexual object is most colorful in the storyline from the film “Live and Let Die.” There, James Bond gave herself to Solitaire – a girl who predicts the future of Tarot cards and has the gift of foresight. The price for this gift is the preservation of innocence. Solitaire believed in the card prediction that she and Bond would be lovers and gave herself to him. As it turned out later, Bond rigged the deck to get Solitaire the card he needed. Learning about the deception, the girl did not get angry (how can you be angry with a superhero?), but simply began to yearn for her abilities. Naturally, in the next film, Solitaire was not mentioned, just like other scout friends. Another mistress of Bond, Anya, forgave him for the murder of her lover (“The Spy Who Loved Me”). Pussy from the “Goldfinger” betrayed his boss for Bond, Madeleine from “Spectre” forgave the lie and the fact that he was involved in the suicide of her father, etc.
In these short sketches there is everything that illustrates the theme of James Bond’s relationship with women – the hero is motivated by the desire at any cost to get sex from any woman, despite her reluctance, vow of virginity, a vow of fidelity (Bond often leads women away from other men). And women should agree simply because they should. After that, they become uninteresting for both the spectator and the hero, and he goes in search of the next mistress. In fact, the image of James Bond in terms of relations is the propaganda of a frank pickup. Not only an immoral, but even a dangerous philosophy for society. It is dangerous for several reasons:
- A pickup artist is not busy with creation; his goal is to get access to the body of the next girl by any means. The energy, strength, money that he could spend on building, science, creativity, moving towards high goals, the pickup artist spends on getting sex and sex itself. Naturally, in Bondiana it is not shown clearly, but many people at different life stages often practice a temporary abandonment of intimate life in order to save energy for more important things. Athletes, scientists, people of creativity … Pickup artists all their energy instead of development thrown into nowhere.
- The propagated attitude towards women exclusively as to sexual objects feeds feminism, cosmetic companies and plastic surgery and at the same time destroys the institution of the family. It provokes a delay in the development of mankind at the animal level, and in this connection generates crimes on sexual grounds, adultery, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the birth of illegitimate children, doomed in advance to many difficulties.
This same attitude towards women is stimulated through the screen saver of the film, where for fifty years the female silhouette, often completely naked, has always been exploited:
The authors try to justify this behavior of the protagonist by his tragic fate. According to the books, James was married once, and his wife was killed on the day of the wedding. In the film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” this theme repeats itself: James’s wedding cortege is attacked, and Bond’s wife dies in his stead. In the “Casino Royale”, which is plotted as a re-launch of Bondiana, Bond’s wife is again killed, but already during the honeymoon. In fact, such a tragedy is also not a justification for depravity, viciousness and insanity on the topic of sex. In addition, we are talking about an artwork, and hence such a scenario turn was chosen consciously, again with the purpose of translating certain ideas to the viewer.
It is significant that Bondiana does not mention the theme of the family. Both weddings in the frame ended with the murder of the spouse, Bond for his bright and not always young life never became the father of even an illegitimate child (which is unrealistic considering such a number of women), and it was not shown that he somehow regretted it. In the movie “Skyfall” for the first time there is a mention of the Bond family and family estate. In the books there is a more detailed description of James’s biography, but again the image of the mother, the image of the father and the child-parent relationship is practically not shown. The mention of father-son relations emerges in the stories only from the category “daughter killed my father”, as, for example, in the film “The World Is Not Enough”, or “the son killed his father” in the picture “Spectre”.
Bond and violence
Most fans of this film franchise know that the two zeros in the “007” number mean nothing more than a license to kill Bond for special merits. It is with its issuance begins the first Fleming’s novel – “Casino Royale”. And for James often even the bosses notice too much zeal to use the license and some share of sadism. So, for 23 films, not counting “Spectre”, Bond counted 362 victims in shot, but this figure is inaccurate, as several times Bond blew up and destroyed buildings full of people. For example, he demolished half of Istanbul in the film “Skyfall” and in the street race in the market almost crushed passers-by. In the movie “Golden Eye” he was riding a tank across St. Petersburg, destroying buildings and monuments.
Not everyone killed in the shot was a villain, often it’s just guards or military, including ones from Russia. For example, in the film “Golden Eye” James kills deceived Russian soldiers who simply fulfill their duty. In “Octopussy” Bond explodes the military base of the Latin American country together with all the soldiers.
Bond does not hesitate to attack from the back, shoot at the lying wounded (“Doctor No”), choke, curl the neck, beat with electric shock, sink, cut, direct transport to buildings, crush in traffic accidents and so on. In the movie “Diamonds Are Forever”, he shoved the explosive into the opponent’s anus, in ” For Your Eyes Only” he killed in the temple, breaking the icons.
In addition, that Bond demonstrates various methods of murder, he also does not forget to hoot on the theme of the death of his victims. He brings the dead prisoner with the phrase “make sure he does not hide”; about a woman, hanged by him, Bond said: “she loved high relations”; about the opponent, who Bond discards to the newspaper machine, he gives such a comment: “they print all kinds of filth”, etc.
Bond and politics
Bond’s enemies were Chinese, Germans, Mexicans, Poles, Italians, Swedes … But the Russians were given a special honor: in Bondiana there are eight films in which the main action is somehow connected with Russia or the USSR, in the overwhelming majority of cases the Russians act either Bond’s enemies, or Russian girls are shown who will have to surrender to the British superagent, which is also very symbolic.
|Film||Russian is a positive hero||Russian is a negative hero|
|“From Russia With Love”, 1963||Bond’s girl – deceived by SPECTRUM Russian scout||The head of SMERSH, who took the side of the criminal group SPECTRUM|
|“The Spy Who Loved Me”, 1977||Bond’s girl is a KGB major||Episodic time foes|
|“For Your Eyes Only”, 1981||No||KGB general Gogol|
|“Octopussy”, 1983||No||A Soviet general representing the whole Soviet Union and using a terrorist act to try to force the United States into unilateral disarmament|
|“The Living Daylights”, 1987||The KGB generals with the family names Gogol and Pushkin are shown relatively neutrally||Some of the KGB agents, including the traitor-defector Koskov, trying to shoot the KGB and MI-6|
|“A View To A Kill”, 1985||No||Soviet military and former KGB officer|
|“Golden Eye”, 1995||Bond’s girl is a Russian programmer; several episodic murdered characters||4 villains, including a high-ranking official, a sadist and two traitors|
|“The World Is Not Enough”, 1999||One member of the Mafia, who helps Bond||4 characters, including one of the two main villains – the former KGB|
Naturally, there are a lot of different ideological bookmarks in the films. In the first picture, where Russia is shown after the collapse of the USSR, much emphasis is placed on separatists in Siberia and the Cossacks. And the viewer of the picture “The world is not enough” becomes a witness of this kind of dialogue:
Electra King in Azerbaijan: Communists have been stealing oil for 70 years …
Bond: I saw what a mess they left.
The only major countries, not shown in the film franchise as the enemy of all mankind, – are the United States and Great Britain. MI-6 often works with the CIA in close and good cooperation with the very first Bond film. Moreover, most often Bond goes to carry “good and justice” to other states without the consent of the local authorities and without declaring war, sometimes arranging sabotage at military bases, sometimes going to investigate crimes that have nothing to do with Britain.
Summing up, it should be recognized that the epic about James Bond has become one of the most successful ideological operations of the West in broadcasting their views and values to a wide audience in the entertainment format. Soviet, and then Russian society for a long time did not understand that the sphere of cinema and mass culture as a whole is the same field of confrontation as foreign policy or military actions, remaining defenseless against such information sabotage. Only now the society begins to gradually realize and clean out all those destructive bookmarks that managed to be implemented with the help of such elegant movie heroes as James Bond.
And as sex, violence and alcohol implicated in the idea of the exclusivity and permissiveness of British gentlemen, with the release of new films begin to finally dominate the former refinement of the franchise, the number of thinking people who discern the manipulative basis of this and similar film production will only increase. And the accelerating process of the awakening of society serves as a reliable guarantor of the early sunset of the Bondiana, because every deception is effective only as long as there is no alternative point of view in the information field or there are those who “deceive themselves.”
Translated by Daria Egorova
In the James Bond pictures, the following adverse film indicators are observed:
1. Film derides values of family relations; they are intentionally given from the seamy side. Characters (a married couple) have indifferent, mean, irreverent and unprincipled attitude to each other and to their children. Children characters have conflicts and compete with each other in the family, have conflicts with their parents who are shown stupid and absurd. The ideal of individualism and denial to respect and esteem family and matrimonial traditions is fostered.
2. Film highlights the value of personal success and prosperity, regardless of methods to achieve them. Immoral or even criminal behavior of film characters is unpunished or even results in life improvements: gaining recognition, popularity, wealth, etc.
3. Film storyline propagates non-committal and so-called free relations values, casual relationship, extramarital sexual relations are shown obligatory or at least approved. The viewer is imposed the excessive value of sexual life. This results in defamation of institution of marriage and family, as well as pudicity.
4. The plot of the film contains obvious or hidden propaganda/advertisement of intoxicating substances (alcohol, drugs and cigarettes), propaganda of health-detrimental behavior (fast-food, club life, laziness, etc.). The way of propaganda is giving these bad habits to positive characters of the film.
5. Film can propagate race, national, religious, class or other exclusiveness and intolerance; disparagement and disgust to social and material inequality, maturity and physical defects is demonstrated as a norm of behavior. The ideas of the film create clan system and stratification in minds of viewers.
6. The semantic and ideological content of the film forms a negative image of Russian people, discredits Russian history, representing the life and way of life and thinking of Russians as flawed and inferior. The achievements of the Russian people are depreciated, the true significance of certain events in Russian history is being replaced.
7. Film shows physical strength and violence as the main tools to solve problems and fight against evil. Aggression is endorsed by people around, detalization and vividness of violent episodes do not match film genre or age category.
8. Film propagates primary importance of a beautiful body and personal beauty for achieving of success and social recognition. Mass media beauty standards are imposed – excessive meagerness, cult of fashion and body care.
9. Double standards approach and “convincing that black is white” are widely used in such films for designation of vicious and socially dangerous events. Neutral, non-evaluative or even approving approach for explanation of these events to make them look softer is also widely used.
10. There are almost no positive characters in such films, whose moral and norms of behavior can be an example to follow and empathy.
11. Film contains pseudo-erotic scenes, where sexual contact is shown with too much uncovered detalization.
12. Film makers indicate wrong permitted age level, usually lowering it down.