Homo sum: humani nil
a me alienum puto

​​The latest James Bond flick, Spectre, is quite frankly, an affront to the intellect and leaves the viewer completely cold, neither shaken nor stirred on the emotional level.  Even the action scenes are poorly choreographed and tedious to watch because they are gratuitously grafted on to a plot so thin, it is practically anorexic.  Plagued by wooden acting, the film is choc-bloc-full of every hackneyed cliché of the espionage genre but worst of all, there is zero sexual tension between the middle-aged hero and his latest lady love who is too young, insipid and flat to make a credible love interest for the hardened assassin even though her drink of choice is a dirty martini.  Even more incredible is her totally implausible shift from independent fly girl who wants nothing to do with the womanizing MI6 agent to a stereotypical damsel in distress, the Bond girl who needs rescuing and realizes after nearly being killed that first and foremost on her bucket list is a sexual liaison with a man closer to her father’s age than her own. 

In sum: it is a pretty rubbish film and a scandalous squandering of US$250 million dollars, the obscene cost of making this bloated blockbuster.  Lasting almost three long, boring hours, I found myself composing my To Do list in my head and wishing I was at home, scrubbing my bathtub instead.  But despite all of the above, James Bond films, the franchise spawned by Ian Fleming’s novels that I so loved as a kid, are an important cultural text.  The Bond film genre has always been a barometer indexing the West’s fears and anxieties.  Watching them over the last half century, we can track the West’s perceived enemies from state-backed actors to shadowy underworld criminals.  But why has 007 never taken on Islamist militants?


James Bond versus Big Data Surveillance
in the Age of Terror

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo

Essay of the Month

Melissa Tandiwe Myambo is an author, academic

and aerobics instructor.