The Situations as an Advert-brand names

While emphasizing the unreality of the tales as fantasy, the novels and films have always remained current to the year they were produced. The result is an emphasis on externals. Many critics have noted that there is nothing to Bond himself except externals. This is an effect of Fleming’s use of third person instead of first person commonly used in spy and detective fiction to produce a speed of identification and an efficiency and credibility of story telling. Fleming’s style of narration is largely due to his tendency to orient his novels to his market of readers. Fleming’s literary philosophy was to rely on what his middle-to-upper class British readers were familiar with, rather than putting them in situations they know nothing about. As a result, Fleming’s “Goldfinger” has thirty pages dedicated to a golf match between Auric Goldfinger and Bond, as opposed to 10 pages dealing with the villain s plot: the arrival at Fort Knox, the gold robbery, and Goldfinger’s escape.

In terms of the Bond films the world of consumerism is emphasized more and more. In “The Incredible World of 007” Lee Pfeiffer and Philip Lisa state that “Bond is the quintessential capitalist, who works hard and rewards himself with every earthly pleasure imaginable” . Endorsing brand names was originally a function of Fleming’s to “bind his hero in his time” and provide Bond with a “knowledge of the ways of the world” to establish a credibility from which he can “enforce justice” . Now the Bond films have become highly sophisticated advertisements blatantly connecting story to aspirations of consumerism. In “Tomorrow Never Dies” Bond escapes capture and death with a prominently displayed BMW, remote-controlled by an Erikson mobile phone. Bond’s gadgets indicate an inherent interdependence between working hard and being rewarded.

Merely having the gadgets is a reward for Bond just as it is an advertisement for whatever real world product it is created from. But the ultimate reward for 007’s continued loyalty and hard work, as a secret agent is his lifestyle as a secret agent. A multitude of dry martinis “shaken not stirred” made with specifically requested brands of vodka drunk in casino’s, banquets, expansive restaurants and exclusive parties; Rolex and Omega watches, Aston Martins, Lotus’, BMW s, exotic locations and expensive hotels. That is the lifestyle of 007, and also a highly developed advert influencing the viewer to consume those products as James Bond consumes life.

The seemingly simple image of James Bond is in fact a highly complex figure that relies more on audience identification with the character itself rather than character development. Bond works hard at an interesting job and is rewarded accordingly. Both a representative of highly desirable cultural icons and a cultural icon himself, Bond is the ultimate consumer and so a positive advert for capitalism. Bond’s basis in capitalism and the function of the films as highly sophisticated advertisements establish the illusion of reality through the rendering of circumstantial details. The more fantastic elements of Bond’s lifestyle are then based on the illusion of reality and the fairy tale structure of St. George and the Dragon. What is produced is a desirable icon at once familiar and fantastic, guaranteeing that Bond will return, again and again. Ultimately, if we are to question the allure of James Bond as a cultural icon we must analyze our own attraction to him. With the focus taken from Bond and placed on us as addicted viewers, should we not ask “What is the worth of the man whose name is a number?”, but instead consider “What worth do I put on the man whose name is a number?”


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