From Japan With Love

This weekend, I was dragged to see Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond movie. Now, the movie itself was about what I had expected from a Bond movie — expensive car chases in exotic locations? Check. Vodka martinis, shaken, not stirred? Check. Fight between guys in tuxedos? Check. Girl whose primary function is to sleep with Bond and then killed by the villain? Check. Sony Ericsson product placements? Check.

Among the things I don’t like about Bond movies are the movie titles. What the hell is a Quantum of Solace? Before the movie, a group of us were discussing other Bond movies and the conversation went something like this:

“I really liked Goldeneye.”
“Which one is that? Is that the one with the invisible boat?”
“No, I think that was Tomorrow Never Dies.”
“No, that one was with the dude who controls the weather.”
“Wasn’t that The World is Not Enough?”
“Wait, which one was the one with the guy who can’t feel pain?”
“Is that the Korean dude who gets shot and becomes Caucasian?”
“No, that was Die Another Day.”
“I liked Moonraker.”
“Is that the one with that dude in that thing?”
“No, no.”

and so on.

It would be a lot easier if the Bond movies actually had titles that made sense. Take a look at typical Japanese movie titles:

  • Godzilla vs. Mothra
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
  • Hello Kitty vs. The Tobacco Industry

For each of those, you’re pretty sure going in who the major characters are going to be and what sort of plot arc to expect. Why can’t the Bond movies take a lead from the Japanese? Bond vs. Christopher Walken Who Wants to Blow up Silicon Valley. If Bond movies had titles like that, instead of Live and Let Die or You Only Live Twice or Die Another Day or Dance For A Kill or Deadly Dying Death of Killing, you can bet that people won’t be asking, “Wait, what was the plot of that one?”

Listen to the Japanese. Recently someone forwarded me a clip from a Japanese TV show, where young women strapped raw pork chops to their foreheads and then stuck their heads into a pen where a meat-eating lizard would roam around trying to bite the pork chops. The clip didn’t have any sort of translation, but I’m pretty sure the TV show wasn’t called something like When The Devil Laughs or whatever else it would be called in America. I bet it was called something like Happy Fun Crazy Woman Pork Chop in Lizard Pen Hour. Direct and to the point.

And I can’t wait for James Bond vs. Godzilla to come out.