I wondered why the plot in Quantum of Solace was about something so mundane and trivial as the water rights to the utility services in Bolivia. I mean, this is James Bond we're talking about here, the greatest spy in the world. His job is to prevent global nuclear war, or stop the largest depository of gold in the world from being blown up, or to stop some maniacal plan to destroy cities with a satellite laser beam space weapon. But Bolivian water rights?!? Why is such a mundane plot even in a Bond movie?
But then I researched it, and I discovered why: it's because the main script-writer for that film, Paul Haggis, is an out-and-out Marxist, and it seems this whole Bolivian water rights thing is some sort of cause célèbre amongst radical left-wing Marxists.
Apparently, it actually happened in 1999: the Bolivian Government tried to sell the water supply rights in the third largest city in Bolivia to a private company. Now, of course, any kind of capitalism or private enterprise is like a red flag to a bull as far as Marxists are concerned, and so they protested and demonstrated and howled and screamed, and in the end they won and forced the government abandon its plan to sell the water rights.
(As a corollary, to this day there are water shortages in that city, because the necessary dams and infrastructure which would have been built by the private enterprise, never got built by the Government, and thus the poor people in Bolivia are far worse off for of the activism of fanatical Marxists than they would have been otherwise if a private company had just been allowed to profitably provide for their needs.)
But of course, committed Marxists like Paul Haggis don't see it that way and thus it makes sense now why such a strange plot for a Bond film was written.
I wondered why in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, Bond seems so asexual, and the interactions between Bond and various different women are so unnatural, and, well, un-Bond-like.
You see, in all the previous films, Bond's sexual exploits have been an integral part of the story, and, they are used in very specific ways: sex is usually seen as a celebration, a life-affirming and joyous act, a fitting ending for the triumphant Bond to rejoice and celebrate the villain's defeat by making beautiful love to a beautiful, doe-eyed woman.
Sometimes, Bond uses sex as a weapon to further his investigations, such as with Miss Taro in Dr. No. Other times the femme fatale uses sex to get closer to Bond so as to distract him and get a chance to kill him, such as with Fiona Volpe in Thunderball.
Once, in Goldfinger, Bond's (forcible) seduction of a lesbian (Pussy Galore) ends up saving the day, because it "appealed to her maternal instinct", and switched her allegiance over to the good side. 60 000 people would have died instantly, and untold economic damage would have been wrought, so we are asked to believe.
But in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, none of these types of sexual exploits are incorporated in meaningful ways into the script. Instead, Bond's sex scenes are just tacked on as an afterthought, as if they are included almost under duress.
When Bond has sex in Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, it's not a celebration or a life-affirming act at all. In Quantum of Solace, it seems like Bond is just bored, and just decides to have sex (with agent Fields) because he "can't find his stationery" (wtf?) Fields is then promptly disposed of, and we find out she was completely superfluous to the plot in the first place.
Incidentally, Quantum of Solace was the first Bond film ever in which Bond didn't have sex with the main female protagonist (the "Bond Girl") - vandalism of what I think is a fine tradition.
In Skyfall, it's even worse. When Bond is shown having sex with an anonymous Turkish woman at the start, its used to portray the exact opposite meaning of the sort of life-affirming celebration that sex is supposed to portray in Bond films. The script-writers want us to believe that Bond has descended into a dark, dark place of alcoholism and despair, neglecting his duty and letting everyone think he's dead. And by showing Bond having sex in this way, the implication is that it's something dirty, something that he should be ashamed of.
Richard Dobson is a Health Science professional with 10 years experience studying and working within the fields of health care and psychology. He spends his spare time reading vintage Time-Life history books, dressing in preppy Ralph Lauren polo shirts, Bermuda shorts and boat shoes, and writing confronting and provocative freelance articles from the perspective of a straight white male in the 21st century.