The 007 Movie Villains Disconnect with Reality
By Peter Hammond
During a recent visit to the Imperial War Museum in London, as I examined the Secret Service exhibits, I could not help but notice the sharp contrast between the villains depicted in James Bond 007 films and the real enemies of the Realm.
Although MI5 and MI6 were riddled with high level KGB infiltrators, Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Harry Houghton, John Cairncross, George Blake, Donald Maclean, Geoffrey Prime, Anthony Blunt and Sir Roger Hollis, no 007 film has really tackled that reality. That M, at the time of the early Bond films, was a Soviet agent would make an explosive plot but is never dealt with.
British physicist Dr. Alan Nunn May was arrested in 1946 for betraying Nuclear bomb technology to the Soviets. Klaus Fuchs was also found to have betrayed atomic secrets to the Soviets.
The Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorists targeted members of the Royal family and the government of Great Britain repeatedly. The IRA murdered the Queens’ cousin, Lord Mountbatten, in 1979, and bombed the Conservative Party caucus in Brighton, narrowly missing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984. The IRA bombed the Old Bailey Courthouse in 1973, London’s Stock Exchange in 1992, and Household Cavalry in Hyde Park in 1982. There was the IRA attack in Gibraltar, 1988, etc. However, I cannot recall even one of the twenty three 007 films that have ever tackled the IRA terrorist threat.
The Falklands War
The 1982 war with Argentina over their invasion of the Falkland Islands never was the theme of any Bond films either.
Despite Muslim Jihadists targeting commuters in London in the co-ordinated 7/7/2005 bombings, and numerous other outrages, I am not aware of any James Bond film that has recognised Islamic Jihadists as a threat to the Realm worthy of the attention of MI6.
Why would this be?
The Villains of Fiction
In Dr. No, the villain was Dr. Julius No, a rogue scientist.
From Russia with Love, the villain was Rosa Clebb, a KGB agent.
In Goldfinger, Aurick Goldfinger, a businessman, was the villain.
In Thunderball, Emilio Largo and Ernst Blofeld of SPECTRE (A fictitious crime syndicate).
In You Only Live Twice, again SPECTRE are the villains.
In Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Ernst Stavro Blofeld is the eccentric villain.
In Diamonds Are Forever, the fictitious SPECTRE and Blofeld again appear as the villains.
In Live and Let Die, it is the Caribbean drug lord Mr Big and President Karanga who are the villains.
In The Man with the Golden Gun, Scaramanga, an assassin, is the villain.
In The Spy Who Loved Me, Carl Stromberg, a businessman is the villain (and the KGB are allies of 007).
In Moonraker, it is Sir Hugo Drax, a businessman, who is the villain.
In For Your Eyes Only, it is Aris Kristotos, a smuggler and a thief who is the villain. The KGB make a showing, but more as competitors, than the real enemy.
In Octupussy, it is Kamal Khan, an Indian businessman, and General Orlov, a rogue Russian general, who are the villains.
In The Living Daylights, it is General Georgi Koskov, a rogue KGB agent and Brad Whitaker (an American mercenary), who are the villains. (Here in The Living Daylights, the Muslim Mujahedeen appear, but as heroes and allies in the fight against the Soviets.)
In Licence to Kill the villain is Panama drug lord Franz Sanchez.
In Goldeneye it is an ex-MI6 agent Alec (006) and Xenia Onatopp (a rogue Russian agent), who are the villains.
In Tomorrow Never Dies, media mongol, Elliott Carvar and General Chang (a rouge Chinese officer), who are the villains.
In The World is Not Enough, it is Renard Zokas and Electra King (a businesswomen), who are the villains.
Die Another Day, it is a rogue North Korean Colonel Tan-Sun Moon and MI6 double agent Miranda Frost, who are the villains.
In Casino Royale, it is le Chiffre and the sinister Mr White, who are the villains.
In Quantum of Solace, it is Dominic Green and General Medrano of Bolivia who are the villains.
In Skyfall it is Raoul Silva, an ex-MI6 agent, who is the villain.
So, according to the British filmmakers, the real enemies of the Realm are not the IRA, Muslim Jihadists, or even the KGB. Only in From Russia with Love, are the KGB directly the enemy. In most other 007 films where the KGB appears they are as much victims as the British and frequently uneasy allies in combatting the real threat, which appears to be SPECTRE, Drax Metals, Stromberg Shipping and other assorted capitalists and journalists! Even when dealing with North Korea, it is not the North Korean dictatorship which is the enemy, but a rogue colonel.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the filmmakers were afraid to alienate any potential audience and therefore shied away from the real enemies of the Realm, such as the IRA, so as to not offend the sensibilities of Roman Catholic sympathisers of the IRA; and Muslim Jihadists, so as not to upset potential Muslim investors and audience members.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! “ Isaiah 5:20
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