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Roger L. Simon

New POLIWOOD – Special James Bond/Mumbai edition

November 29th, 2008 - 8:12 am

Well, not really. It was recorded too early. Next week’s show, which will concern this year’s indie triumph slumdog millionaire – set in India – doubtless will have plenty to say about Mumbai. (We hope it will be over by then, but who knows?) But in today’s POLIWOOD Chetywnd and I show our complete disdain for the new James Bond – the pretentiously titled Quantum of Solace (yes, I know there was an identical Ian Fleming title).

The villain here (and in the movie) is “moral equivalence.”  As it has been in so many recent Hollywood thrillers, the bad guys are businessmen, CIA agents (rogue or otherwise), the man in the moon, fake environmentalists (Quantum) anything and anyone but the real villain staring them in the Mumbai face- Islamofascism.  Heaven forbid they might address the truth.

Of course Fleming and the original Bonds did.  They were all about our competition with the former Soviet Union and, as Lionel points out on the show, it was a given that we were the good guys.  That gave Connery/Bond the license to wreak all kinds of havoc on his SMERSH (KGB) adversaries.  And he did it with a smile, something conspicuously absent from the new Bond.

On today’s show,  we carry forth the “moral equivalence” discussion out of the Bond arena into a more serious film of recent years, Steven Spielberg’s execrable Munich.  How pathetic that film looks in the shadow of Mumbai.  We didn’t mention it on the show but one thing I noted  at the time was that movie buries the actual terrorism that instigated the Israeli “revenge” in an arty montage near the end of the film.  To have shown the Black Septembrists massacring the Israel athletes at the front of the movie, where it would normally have been, would have disrupted the filmmakers vision of “moral equivalence.”  Whether that decision was made by Spielberg or his scenarist Tony Kushner is not known.  But one thing is known – Kushner was and, I assume, is a militant anti-Zionist.  Why did Spielberg, the supposed lover of Israel, hire him?  Strange as it may seem, it’s possible the director didn’t even know the playwright’s views.  After all, Spielberg’s a busy man. Very busy.  Many projects on his plate.  Crazy, huh? … Well, that’s POLIWOOD!

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