Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, your place on the Avocado to discuss films with your fellow commenters. Want to make a recommendation? Looking for recommendations? Want to share your opinions of movies, both new and classic?
2002 would be a referendum on James Bond as witnessed through three of the year’s spy movies.
The year would see Die Another Day, a much maligned feature that would ultimately be the last film starring Pierce Brosnan as 007. In this film, Bond drives an invisible car, surfs on an Arctic wave, flies the world’s largest plane into a space laser (RIP Antonov An-225), and sword fights a white British man who turns out to be a secret Asian.
Was James Bond perhaps getting long in the tooth? Someone seemed to think so. However, that someone was Vin Diesel, who didn’t think James Bond was sleazy enough. xXx (which has an opening scene that symbolically assassinates a posh British spy) says that there is no place for James Bond in this world of extreme sports, Eurotrash, and nu-Metal.
The snowboarding can stay, though.
The real game changer, though, happened earlier in the year. The Bourne Identity was the film that dared to ask, “What if the star of Good Will Hunting was in an action movie?” Inspired in part by the Iran-Contra Affair, The Bourne Identity brought espionage back to its jittery paranoid roots.
So in the end, which style of espionage won?
I would venture to say all of them. The combination of suave and campiness of Die Another Day never really went out of fashion, and you can see elements of that surviving in The Kingsmen and John Wick movies. Von Diesel’s attempt to look cool may have been embarrassing, but the combination of extreme sports and spies would be taken up a notch when Tom Cruise started scaling the Burj Khalifa in the Mission: Impossible films. Meanwhile, things would come full circle when the a Bond franchise itself would adopt the more grounded feel of its Bourne rivals.
Bonus prompt: what is your favorite spy film?