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Half a century of 007

Posted November. 03, 2012 06:05,   


The first James Bond movie I saw was "The Spy Who Loved Me," which was released in 1977. The film is a 007 adventure about a Russian nuclear submarine that disappears, beginning with a thrilling scene in which agents chase suspects on snow. Many new weapons appeared in the movie, including the Telex watch and a prefabricated jet ski. Truly amazing, however, was when the Lotus Esprit, a Bond car, transforms itself into a submarine while driving into water.

Since 1962, six actors have played the role of the world`s most famous fictional spy, including Sean Connery (1962-1971) and Roger Moore (1973-1985). The latter two are said to be the best among the six. Emblematic of a gentleman with green eyes walking out of an old castle, Connery in one film orders a martini and adds, “Shaken, not stirred.” This line caused countless women around the world to fall in love with him. Moore starred in seven 007 movies over 12 years, contributing more to the commercial success of the series than any other actors and appearing invincible in the surreal world.

Men admired James Bond whenever he won over a beautiful woman after accomplishing his mission. The first Bond girl, played by actress Ursula Andress, instantly became a screen goddess after she appeared in a white bikini and ratted her wet hair on the beach. The world fell in love with Barbara Bach, a Bond girl who played a Russian agent who was supposed to kill Bond but later fell in love with him. Bach went on to marry Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. Since the 1990s, non-Caucasian actresses such as African American Halle Berry and ethnic Chinese Michelle Yeoh began to play Bond girls in the face of criticism that only white women were cast.

The 007 series has fallen in popularity over the years. Movie fans want more than just the same old confrontation between good and evil. Action movies such as "Mission: Impossible" or the Jason Bourne series have usurped James Bond`s action-movie throne. In other words, there is no longer any place for the secret agent. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 007 series, the latest Bond movie "Skyfall" was recently released. The director tried to revive the series` past glory by including the PPk/s, the old-fashioned pistol shown in the first episode, and the Aston Martin, a Bond car that first appeared in the 1965 episode. Yet even these things can do little to help raise the Bond legend because of the imaginary benchmarks set by movies like "Minority Report" and "Avatar."

Editorial Writer Ha Tae-won (triplets@donga.com)