The ‘Bond Girl’ is a necessary character in the hugely successful spy franchise, some arguing she is as important as Bond himself. These women, made famous for their extravagant behaviour and double entendre names, have seen their roles in the movies change allowing more of an opportunity to show how a woman could live in a ‘man’s world’.
In Skyfall, the audience watched Moneypenny behind a gun in a fast-paced situation, and this change of scenery of an intelligent woman in a Bond movie was applauded. She wasn’t hid away behind a desk in a tight pencil skirt, biting a pencil in a seductive manner, she was out there kicking ass. Unfortunately the character became spooked from her title-opening experience and we saw her desk-bound or as a messenger for the rest of the movie. The other woman defined as the movie’s ‘Bond Girl’ was French actress Bérénice Marlohe. From a quick re-watch of Skyfall it appeared that this ‘Bond Girl’ had just over seven minutes of screen time, most of this being of her back and non-speaking. It took a whole minute of mysterious shots of Bérénice’s character, Severine, until she actually spoke in the movie, something that was likely done in suspense and mystery.
It is a serious improvement though. Bond girls have often been seen as a young vulnerable and attractive woman who could handle a gun if necessary, but craved affection from James Bond. From Honey Ryder to Pussy Galore, Bond Girls have come and go, many making their imprint on the franchise and the various generations of fans. However at Kettle, we aren’t here to give you a top ten of Bond Girls, we want to look at if the ‘modern day’ women in the world’s best known spy movies have really adapted to the changed views of women in society?[video:https://youtu.be/XoomvWXunRc]
In Casino Royale we meet one of the finest and most intelligent Bond Girls we will see in the series: Vesper Lynd. Lynd is probably the closest to Bond’s equal we have seen in the movies for a very long time. Career drive and quick-witted, Vesper makes a welcomed modern female character in comparison to the emotionally and physically exposed woman we are so used to seeing contrasting Bond on screen. Being able to protect herself Vesper is capable of taking control of many difficult situations throughout the movie. As all too often, Vesper eventually falls for Bond and they want to run off into the sunset together – well almost. Bond and Lynd announce their retirement from their respected organisations and plan spend the rest of their lives together in happiness, until in a dramatic twist of events Vesper is revealed to be working for an enemy agency and soon takes her own life.
Quantum of Solace also features strong Bond girls, although these end up falling for him or dead. One, who is the ‘property’ of Dominic Green, is in fact a Bolivian agent who is seeking revenge for the murder for her family when she was a young girl. She, Camille, eventually teams up with Bond and they ‘save the day’ together, but once again this relationship they have is sealed with a goodbye kiss. Bond also beds MI6 agent Strawberry Fields during the movie, however Fields is murdered– are you seeing a theme here?[video:https://youtu.be/X5YIBuZDRPg]
As the movie franchise is now creating their own movie plots for the Bond films (instead of adapting the novels) I think there is little excuse for not creating a strong female character who is Bond’s equal. She would be able to fight and face her fears, using seduction to get information from men and most importantly she wouldn’t fall in love with Bond at the end of it all. That is all I want.
I know that having these sexy women undertaking 007’s every command is expected from a Bond movie, but if the technology changes with the times and evident emails show that the Sony chief wants Idris Elba to play a black James Bond, they can’t really claim that having a strong female lead opposite Bond isn’t conventional.