Here Bond enacts a journey from tomfoolery into the fierce order of virility, in reverse. Often, it seems the underlying logic of Bond’s mission is that only a debonair playboy can defeat a debonair playboy. Every man dies alone except Bond, who never dies. Bond enters the arctic and finds that it too has a technology. Digging a dead comrade out from under glacial ice, Bond discovers the man’s face frozen into a serene smile, welcoming the sweet embrace of death. Bond’s tan is the outcome of the sun committing felony battery against his face. He has flawed adamantine eyes. The current crop of goons is lousy with facial scars… duelling scars indicating sophistication.
Bond enters a world drowning in pâté and baroque ornamentation. There are elements of an upstairs, downstairs drama in the plot. Luncheoning in the Eiffel tower in order to blend in with the locals, Bond suspects a rogue lepidoptery puppeteer of dangerously manipulating mechanical butterflies. He will not comply with the napoleonic code out of an obstinate English pride. Liveried servants wear Louise XV era uniforms. One scene has a row of chauffeurs waiting alongside their respective cars and one of the cars is a toyota Camry. Another scene casts the audience in the role of goons stalking in the shadows, attempting to kill Bond. But Bond does not die. Only goons die. The villain’s top henchwoman’s body is extraterrestrial in appearance. Zorin’s identity is a matryoshka doll. The outermost layer is French, covering an inner layer that is East German, and finally, at the core is a Russian mutant. The cadence of his speech is like an ancient machine shaking itself to life.
A wine sodden bum momentarily serves as an audience surrogate, is roused from his fevered dreams by the flames devouring City Hall, can only faintly recall when that would have meant something to him. Bond serves at the queen’s pleasure, is wary of captains of industry, considers them all nascent supervillians. Vile insinuations of soviet athletes doped up on supersteroids™ abound. A salty seaman dispenses sea information. The camera gently floats over Bond’s shoulder as he reads a book on the great god khepri, a scarabheaded man, holding aloft the morning sun. Bond’s partner is the heir to oil tycoon money, lives in a neoclassicalrevival mansion, is ignorant of quiches. After breaking an urn containing her grandfather’s remains she wipes her ashcovered hands clean against her blouse and shakes Bond’s hand. She admires how Bond ‘handled those men.’ Their intercoursing each other is as inevitable as our generation dying without ever having loved anything more than ourselves. Cornering a market carries great risks. The market may resist attempts to artificially drive up the price by taking an opposite position, leaving those that would engineer the corners vulnerable. This Bond knows. This he understands in a complex and powerful way. The villain makes a nearly successful blimp getaway. Bond is awarded the Order of Lenin. The KGB general laughs as he presents the award the way doomed sailors in a sinking submarine laugh.