It seems I am once again writing about James Bond. Last time I did that, it was focused on the catastrophic ball of stupid that was Die Another Day.
(And the subsequent Addendum to that article)
So on the bright side, chances are that I will be nowhere near as incensed as I was when writing that.
Of course, we’ll deal with fan theories about James Bond, so I can’t say I like the odds… Oh well. Let’s see what we’re dealing with, Dave.
Dave: Ok, the first theory of the day is that in Skyfall, Raoul Silva is M’s son!
Aha… And is there anything particular to support this?
Dave: Well, We know very little about Silva. His past is hinted at, but not much is ever established. And while Silva is out for revenge against MI-6, he seems obsessed with M in particular. This points to him being after her personally, having a personal motive for revenge.
I see. Before I address that, could you please explain how Raoul Silva, the Spanish cyberterrorist, would be the son of M, the English head of MI-6? Especially when he himself tells Bond about his childhood and living with his grandmother?
Dave: Perhaps his grandmother died, and M adopted him? After all, why else would he call her “Mother”?
Because the man is completely fucking insane! He was tortured, before trying (and failing) to commit suicide. Guess what! Surviving a five month torture session as well as a hydrogen cyanide capsule bursting in your face? It turns out that’s the kind of shit that tends to have a somewhat adverse effect on your mental stability!
Dave: Aha, but you know the message he sends to M? Think on your sins?
Yeah? What about it?
Dave: If you throw the letters around, you get “Your son isn’t in HK”. That proves her son is not in Hong Kong, because he’s free and is out to get her!
What kind of an argument is that!? You’re just rearranging the letters, to suit your stance!
Dave: Well, it fits!
Yeah, so what? So does “Oh No Skinny Suit”! Clearly this means Silva is really a fashion consultant! Or maybe he’s in demolition, because “Sink Oh Stony Ruin” also fits!
It’s conjecture, not evidence.
Dave: Ah, but remember when they’re in Scotland, and M remarks that orphans make the best recruits? That suggests that Silva is an orphan, and her adopted son!
HOW!? Even if I concede that the first is possible, where do you get the second part?!
Going back to your first argument, that we know very little about Silva. We don’t know all about him, but we know enough! We know Silva isn’t M’s adopted child, because we know that his real name in the movie is Tiago Rodriquez! We know he was working under M in Hong Kong, that he started hacking the Chinese government, and M handed him over to them in exchange for six operatives and a peaceful transition, when the UK handed over Hong Kong to China.
THAT is his motive for revenge! He went outside his jurisdiction, M made a judgement call, and Silva considered this as her betraying him. That’s part of the point of the movie, with M having to deal with the consequences of her decisions, even if those decisions were justified. The conflict is there, without the addition of Silva being her son!
And of course, the biggest problem with the theory: It hurts the character of M!
Dame Judi Dench portrayed M as stolid, professional and calculating. Her pre-mission briefing with Bond in GoldenEye pretty much defined her to the audience. The one time Bond tries to be snarky during that conversation, she responds by verbally dissect him as a “Sexist, misogynist dinosaur”, how she will not accept any of his bullshit and that she won’t hesitate for one moment to send him on a suicide mission, if she believes it will produce a result.
And how does Bond, the king of the deadpan wit, respond to all of this?
With all of that in mind, it’s pretty obvious that she’d keep a very clear distinction between her professional and private life. Even if she did adopt a child, making that child an MI-6 operative would be incredibly irresponsible and stupid, since her judgement would be compromised as a result. M is many things, but she isn’t stupid. This is exactly the kind of mistake she is too smart to make!
The theory hinges on us accepting that she’d do something so monumentally stupid, as to knowingly compromise her own sense of judgement! All that amounts to, is making her look like an blundering idiot!
Dave: I suppose… But never mind! I have another theory that’s much better!
Oh, joy… What is it?
Dave: James Bond isn’t James Bond!
Hmm… Nope, you’ve lost me.
Dave: “James Bond” is not his real name! It’s a codename! It explains how he managed to survive for so long, the changed appearance, all the decades he’s been around! It’s not the same guy!
Aha… I suppose you’re not discouraged about the fact that in Skyfall, we see the graves of Bonds parents and his family home?
Dave: Ah, I knew you’d say that, and there is an additional sub-theory to back this up! Daniel Craig’s James Bond is actually the SON of Sean Connery’s James Bond!
Dave: Ok, so in Skyfall, we see the grave of Andrew Bond. But what if his full name was Andrew JAMES Bond, and that’s Sean Connery’s James Bond, a former MI-6 operative. He does a whole heap of missions, and then after the events of You Only Live Twice, he retired and had a child, who he named James. James Jr. grows up with similar values as his father, eventually becoming an MI-6 operative himself when his father died! Since the first James Bond was their best ever operative, when they got a new recruit who stood out, he was given “James Bond” as a codename, in honour of the first operative!
Is that all?
Dave: I think so.
Ok, so let’s go through why this doesn’t make sense. First of all, there’s the idea of the name “James Bond” being a codename. The problem with it being a codename is firstly that giving several different agents such a specific codename is a bit counterproductive, because if that codename becomes widely known, it becomes completely useless! Such a specific name would not be a codename as much as a cover identity. A cover identity is supposed to be temporary, and has to be replaced with some other identity eventually to keep the operative secret! In other words, if his name is just a codename, it wouldn’t remain the same for so long!
And second, it completely diminishes a new agent, if they basically have to change their name to “James Bond” in honour of some guy that retired! They would forever be compared to that first agent, and never having a real identity of their own.
Then there’s the idea that Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan are different operatives, under presumed names. That might work, if not for the fact that at the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Lazenby’s Bond got married, and his wife was murdered by Blofeld and his cronies. And Sean Connery returns as Bond in the following movie, Diamonds Are Forever, attempting to avenge her murder.
GoldenEye was set in the mid 90’s, and yet the opening to that movie was set 9 years earlier, in the mid 80’s! Timothy Daltons License to Kill was released in 1989!
Oh, and I almost forgot! In the novels, Bonds parents died in a climbing accident. This was also true in Dr. No. And wouldn’t you know it! That’s the same way Bonds parents died in GoldenEye, when he was played by Pierce Brosnan!
And while it’s true that Bonds appearance changes between movies, so have several other characters, including Bob Tanner, Felix Leiter, Moneypenny and Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Speaking of which, need I remind you that in the movie Spectre, we’re introduced to a brand new organization called Spectre, with nobody appearantly having heard of it before?
It’s a bit strange, isn’t it, considering Daniel Craigs Bond is supposedly just the latest in a long line of operatives working under that name? You’d think the name of a GLOBAL TERRORIST ORGANIZATION wouldn’t be something easily forgotten! It’s almost like there was a reboot or something!
And finally, returning to the idea of “James Bond” as a codename. You don’t see how the basic idea is stupid?
Dave: What’s so stupid about it? It makes sense that you’d give your operative a codename to keep their identity secret.
Fair enough. I suppose that makes sense. Your operative would need some codename, some alternate name to distinguish them.
Dave: You see!
But you know what might be more useful than “James Bond”? See, that name’s fine and all, but you know what might be better? If you had something shorter, more professional, to distinguish your operatives.
Hey, here’s a crazy idea! What if, instead of a two part name for a codename, you could use, I don’t know, a numerical codename?
Oh wait! I just remembered! HIS FUCKING CODENAME IS 007!
Dave: Maybe he has two codenames…?
WHY!? An operative using two different codenames is not something from a Bond movie! It’s the kind of paranoid spy-bullshit you’d see from Col. Flagg in M*A*S*H!
Dave: Ok, fine! What is your answer then? How come Bond changes appearance and has remained in action for so long!?
BECAUSE HE IS A FUCKING FICTIONAL CHARACTER! He doesn’t age!
It’s like asking how Superman or Batman has remained the same for so long! Batman has been perpetually 33 years old since fucking 1939! The setting is updated, but the character remains the same!
Dave: Fine. I suppose that’s a pretty rational explanation.
Dave: Well, Bond doesn’t seem to age, but his appearance changes, as well as his personality…
Oh dear god, this better not be what I think it is.
Dave: It all adds up! The strange gadgets, the time paradoxes… Don’t you see! James Bond is a-
We have known each other for a long time, Dave, so I think it’s fair to warn you at this point, that if you’re suggesting that Bond is a Timelord, which is perhaps the laziest, dumbest, most pathetic type of fan theory ever conceived by man, I am going to assume you’ve either suffered crippling brain damage or you’re actively trying to piss me off.
In either case, I will rip your face off and staple it onto your ass, since that end is clearly producing less shit.
Dave: Oh… ok… never mind then…
Thank you. You know, there really is a bright side to all of this. I don’t feel quite as angry about Die Another Day anymore. It could have been much worse. After all, you could have written it, Dave.