There was a time when the release of a new James Bond movie meant that audiences would be treated to a fantastic collection of gadgets and inventions, each of which was devised with the sole purpose of rescuing Bond from some unlikely scenario. The recently released Casino Royale is not that kind of movie.
The new Bond is much closer to the literary character created by Ian Fleming than he is to the Hollywood Bond we’ve come to know over the last four decades. As a result, Casino Royale presents audiences with the most low-tech Bond yet.
While it’s true that Sean Connery didn’t have a laptop in Dr. No, the technology he did have was at least recognizably different from what the average viewer could buy at the local mall.
The new Bond is surrounded by a seemingly endless array of Sony branded mobile phones, each of which conveniently has some important phone number stored in the call history. Bond is also a bit of a computer hacker, which means he travels with a Sony Vaio that runs some odd version of Windows made to look like Unix (or maybe it actually is Unix, Bond doesn’t really have time to install service packs).
In fact, the new Bond is literally surrounded by Sony technology. Every data disk, every television monitor, and every stereo component Bond encounters has the Sony name on it. Casino Royale is one big Sony commercial.
Bond wasn’t always a Sony man. Originally the Bond films were produced by United Artists, then eventually MGM. In 1997 Sony announced plans to produce a rival Bond series, claiming it owned part of the Bond character. At the time MGM called Sony’s claim ‘delusional’ and vowed to take the matter to court. At one point a federal judge issued an injunction against Sony bringing production to a halt.
As with most Hollywood disputes, MGM and Sony eventually put their differences aside and agreed to make a lot of money together. By all accounts Casino Royale is on track to be the largest grossing Bond film of all time.
And Bond, it seems, is doomed to use Sony technology for the foreseeable future. That might not have been so bad in the Cold War era, but these days it’s an outright liability. If Bond wants to listen to a CD, he risks infecting his computer with a root-kit. If Bond wants to play a video game he has to stand in line and battle an angry mob. If Bond wants to go out for a run and listen to music he’ll likely take a walkman with him. Low tech indeed.
Imagine how much more interesting the new Bond would be if he were battling villains with his Wii nunchuck-style remote. Now that would be a fight scene. Unfortunately Nintendo isn’t in the movie business.
Medialoper’s James Bond Holiday Shopping Guide: