James Bond Festival: Love or hate them, these films endure

CorrespondentJuly 13, 2013 

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Sean Connery as James Bond. The James Bond Festival will take place at Carolina Theatre in Durham through July 18, 2013.

MGM HOME ENTERTAINMENT

  • Details

    What: James Bond Festival

    When: Through July 18; call theater for schedule and times.

    Where: Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan St., Durham

    Tickets: $9

    Info: 919-560-3030 or townofchapelhill.org/parking

We either love James Bond films or dislike them for the same reasons. The gadgets and bad lines are forgivable and sometimes charming, less so the colonialism and misogyny.

But as violent and sexy as the films sometimes get, there is innocence there. Bond has fun. When today’s big blockbusters seem weighted down beneath heavy statements on freedom and society (take the recent Batman and Superman movies, or Russell Crowe’s grim Robin Hood) their magic loses a bit of its light. The fixation on moral identity and justice is like rain on a wedding cake. You won’t catch James Bond in a crisis of conscience. Like a good Regimental, he thinks only for queen and country.

An Englishman he remains, but something about the Bond franchise entices American tastes. We savor the visual trappings of the world Bond travels; yachts, casinos and men in tuxedos film especially well, to say nothing of the girls.

There is something also in Bond’s fealty to his country to arouse American materialist sensibilities. With trust in our government at low ebb, and troubling revelations about the U.S. intelligence community’s license to spy on Americans, we can only dream these days of such unambivalent faith, Bond’s patriotic belief that one’s duty is to queen first, and damn the torpedoes.

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