Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Spy Hard

You are still in a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.

I am canceling Sound Waves -- How Spy I Am.  Allow me to explain why.

Last night, I decide to take a breather from working on my comics and I go to see Johnny English Reborn.  Don't look at me like that, it's Rowan Atkinson.  He's awesome.

The movie itself was kind of meh.  I mean, if you want proof that Atkinson is a comic genius, this movie is a testimonial to that.  The gags are actually pretty standard.  There's no real invention to them, no real cleverness.  And yet, Atkinson manages to make some of them very very funny.  He's like Leslie Neilsen -- you can give him the worst material and he will somehow find a way to make it, if not sidesplitting, at least get a chuckle out of you.

I think the biggest problem with Johnny English Reborn is simple -- it lacks relevancy.  I mean, as far as the audience goes.  The first Johnny English, based on a character from a series of commercials Atkinson did, was already out as the whole superspy genre was dying.  James Bond was a creation of his times.  At the time, travel around the world was a pipe dream, most people had to make due with road trips.  International intrigue was catching on due to treaties and deals and such.  Fantastic gadgets that operated closer to home than any of the mad science in B movies at the time were, "Hey!  Maybe this could happen!"

Now?  Travel to exotic locations happens all the time.  International intrigue is no longer shocking, people expect it.  And not only are the limitations of the gadgets more apparently, but people think it's cooler to see the MythBusters do it than James Bond.  After all, Adam and Jamie aren't scientists with a government budget, they're two normal guys like us who can actually engineer ejector seats and anything else their minds can create and find a way to make them reality.

Most of your spy stuff now is black ops stuff, with night vision and stealth and stuff like that.  The days of Matt Helm and Flynn and James Bond started giving way when modern movie stars tried getting in the spy game, like with True Lies and XXX.  They took what they thought was great about the movies and focused on them, big action stunts.  And you can tell the audience expectations shifted.  Around Timothy Dalton's second film, License To Kill, the Bond movies moved from an unfolding mystery of international intrigue to stunts, women, and other stuff that didn't require a plot.  Daniel Craig's James Bond is much darker, and my dad, a longtime Bond nut, isn't collecting the movies (he even has On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Never Say Never Again) because it's not the Bond he knows and loves.

The movies are adapting to their times -- the days of the superspy are over.  It's more Solid Snake than James Bond now.

And this is why I'm dropping How Spy I Am.  The spy story itself is told within a framework of Rhapsody and Melody making it up.  They're just doing it to amuse themselves.  People do this all the time (did someone say, FANFIC?!?).  But while watching Johnny English Reborn, I ran against the wall.  Why would Rhapsody and Melody imagine they were spies?  When I first did the image of Rhapsody as a Green Lantern, I thought about Melody as a sort of Aquaman analog.  Although I've never shown it in the books, I did like the thought of the two of them enjoying comic books, and the thought of an adventure between them as their superhero counterparts makes me smile.  With comic book movies shooting through the roof, they'd be far more likely to imagine a superhero adventure.  Technically, James Bond was a comic book hero, but his schtick doesn't work anymore.  The old superspy motif is done, everyone's moved on, and only those of us who grew up with it will even think about it.

Which is too bad.  I mean, I'm not much for James Bond and such anymore, but the movies are fun in their way, and I totally dug them when I was a kid.  And I can easily retool the plot for Rhapsody and Melody into a superhero thing.

The world always move on.  It's just sad when you see it so blatantly.

You are now leaving a Lindsay Lohan-free zone.
Tags: art, comic books, comics, sound waves, things that make you go hmm

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