James Bond: The sum of our geopolitical fears
AUTHOR: Francesco Mancini, Associate Dean and Co-Director (Executive Education) and Visiting Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
From the Cold War to biological weaponry, the super-spy film franchise has, over almost six decades, adapted to the dominant anxieties of the times.
"I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War..." These were the words with which M, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, welcomed one of his agents in 1995.
The movie was GoldenEye. M was a woman, and the agent was James Bond who, along with many of us, seemed to agree with his boss. "Point taken," he replied.
While glamorous locations, fast cars, and dry Martinis remain constant features of the James Bond franchise, much has indeed changed since the opening adventure of Bond in 1962.
Women's characters, in particular, have evolved dramatically, moving away from the horribly sexist names of Pussy Galore and Chew Mee, to the new 007 agent Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch in the latest production of the franchise, No Time To Die, which is the 25th official Bond film.
How much Bond has adapted to today's social mores remains open to debate. However, there is an often-overlooked evolution that has contributed to the enormous success of the series over almost six decades: its representation of our innermost geopolitical fears.
Nuclear annihilation, terrorism, organised crime, biological warfare, economic crises, environmental devastation: the list of global threats in the Bond world is long.
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This article was originally published onhttps://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg.