Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bond Women Via Apted.....Day 41 of Bond 365

Happy Tuesday! How is your week going? I've got quite a few items on my to-do list, but not before making an entry here for Bond 365. I'm thinking I would like to do something fun here in honor of Valentine's Day - any thoughts? Bond girls? James Bond? Hmmm, so many choices! In the meantime, let's have a look at Day 41!

Michael Apted
Born this day in 1941
Director of The World Is Not Enough (1999)

I am going to be honest: Michael Apted’s name is not at the forefront of my mind when thinking of Bond films. In fact, I am well aware of the Up Series (1964-2012), but I tend to forget that it was Apted that came up and directed a documentary that checks in with 14 children every seven years. However, looking over Apted’s filmography, I was surprised to see that I had seen several: Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), Continental Divide (1981), Gorky Park (1983), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), Class Action (1991), Thunderheart (1992), and Enigma (2001). It is an interesting list of movies that kind of hit a lot of genres, although initially, I can see why people have questioned why Apted to direct a Bond film.

Happy Birthday, Michael Apted
The World Is Not Enough was the nineteenth Bond film and it marked a distributor change from United Artists to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It did well overall earning $361.8M (budget $135M), in spite of the criticism that was hurled its way. For instance, it was the first Bond film to win a Golden Raspberry for Denise Richards portrayal of Dr. Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist. I still groan when I hear Bond utter “…and I thought Christmas only came one a year” or something very close to it.

In an interview with MI6, Apted mentioned that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were interested in him because he had experience directing strong female characters in his prior films. In The World Is Not Enough, Apted had three: Elektra King, Jones (let’s put aside casting and look at the role itself), and M of course. King is a powerful company executive, Jones a successful scientist, and M the head of MI6. All three hold important positions in careers/industries that are typically male dominated. In particular, I thought Sophie Marceau as King, who’s actions may or may not be the result of Stockholm’s Syndrome is a unique spin on Bond Girl to main villainess. In the same interview, he admits that he depended on his second unit director and stunt supervisor for assistance in the action sequence, I do believe Apted’s direction shined when it came the Bond women.

Now I want to go back and revisit The World Is Not Enough, but also a few of his other films where women feature prominently. I'm curious if I'll see any similarities between the films with regards to the women. 

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