In addition to movies on Friday nights, when I was a kid, Butler University would often have a specialized series of movies on Sunday nights. When I first discovered what my family and I called "the free movies" at Butler, I was in the fourth grade. In the spring semester of that year, Butler ran a James Bond series on Sunday nights. For a 10 year old boy, this was pretty damn close to heaven. They showed the majority of the Connery films and a few with Roger Moore. I grew up with an appreciation of the James Bond movies as, first and foremost, FUN. No matter who played Bond, as long as the film was enjoyable, it passed the basic test. Now, I've been lectured about how different those movies were from the books. I don't give a shit. Books and movies are separate mediums. Let me go through my track record with the Daniel Craig Bond movies:
Casino Royale: Fell asleep halfway through it.
Quantum of Solace: Fell asleep, literally, within ten minutes.
Skyfall: Managed to make it through the entire thing. Was thoroughly disgusted by its attempt to be a Chris Nolan movie.
Spectre: Refuse to watch it.
What a sad, woeful day it is I decide I'm not going to watch a James Bond movie. I endured the 80s and 90s Bonds. I should be able to endure this Bond. But I can't. The filmmakers have done what so many filmmakers have done with older properties that were once fun, dare I say, cheesy good times. Popcorn movies, if you will. They've decided the only way to keep them "relevant" is to make them "serious." And seriousness, in the universe of James Bond movies, is not allowed.
Well, wouldn't you know it...
A few weeks ago I began reading articles on the Internet about how the Kingsman movies are "conservative fantasies." Needless to say, I was intrigued by the very thought of a major Hollywood film somehow getting past the dragons at the gates without a feel-good, "politically correct," rainbow brigade message to further indoctrinate the masses. I had to see what the hell a conservative movie actually looks like! So I used my AMC membership to plop down five bucks on a Tuesday afternoon and watched the Kingsman movie currently in theaters. As with a lot of movies today, it was difficult not to be swept up by the spectacle. Hollywood puts all its money in the flash and bang of its product these days. One thing became rather obvious as soon as the movie got going: It is most certainly not conservative. I doubt I'll remember much of it in a year from now, but I can tell you the one thing it has going for it that the current James Bond movies do not: It is a fun movie. Pure, stupid fun. Exactly what I look for in an action movie.
I rented the first movie this weekend and it reinforced my opinion that the Kingsman movies have replaced the James Bond movies with respect to fun, goofy spy films. They're a little bit more hardcore than the classic Bond films, but that should be expected. The flippant attitude these movies have for polite society is refreshing. I hope to see this series continue and, hopefully, the producers of the James Bond films will either learn a lesson and go back to making fun Bond movies, or, simply, put the series to rest, once and for all.
Alec Cizak is a writer and filmmaker. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. His most recent novel, Breaking Glass, is available from ABC Group Documentation. He is the editor of the fiction journal, Pulp Modern.
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