I hate to think that I come off as anti-British, especially taking into consideration how many times I have seen all the James Bond films, having been inculcated by my father as a wee one. I should have been delighted to see Bond worked into the Opening Ceremonies, but I am not impressed with the Queen just “being game” to lend herself to a scene. I want it big, like the finale of a Bond film. Big like Moonraker-in-outer-space-big.
Here’s how I would have fixed it:
First, great to start off with Daniel Craig, but way too long with no action in the halls of Buckingham Palace. No one wants slow-motion, ground-level shots of obese Corgi dogs waddling about during an Olymics Opening Ceremony, certainly not Raúl.
Change: Standard shot of Daniel Craig in bed with a redhead face down on a pillow. She rolls over and winks in post-coital languor. It’s Fergie, the original Sarah Ferguson one, not the Black-Eyed Peas one. She is still aglow from her Bond boning, but he’s on a mission and cannot grace Fergie with the second round implied in her wink. He gets out of bed nude, but all we see are is a naked, muscled profile seated on the bed: no spy genitalia or ass crack because this is the Olympics and we must uphold its dignity.
Time lapse to Craig putting on his tux before the mirror. Fergie, in an almost sheer robe with the British flag embroidered onto the fanny, straightens his necktie while cooing something unheard, but from the look on Craig’s face, immeasurably obscene. Cut: Fergie gives him one last torrid kiss, but it’s no longer Daniel Craig she’s inserted her tongue into; it’s Pierce Brosnan in the tux, ready to slip out of the room stealthily, as he does after most of his sex, especially with disgraced Royals who are probably banned from palace grounds anyway.
Brosnan now enters the hall unescorted and slips past an oblivious butler portrayed by a hologram of Goldfinger villain Gert Fröbe. A randy maid in a French maid fetish outfit with fishnet stockings – played by 2006 Casino Royale Bond beauty Eva Green – catches his eye, but he’s on a mission and only has time to tantalizingly tickle her outrageously revealing décolletage with her feather duster before moving further down the hall.
He turns a corner, and it’s no longer Pierce Brosnan; it’s Timothy Dalton. Dalton is assailed by a nunchuck-wielding ninja as passes a portrait of an obviously inebriated Prince Harry, but quickly takes command by grasping a candelabra from the Georgian period and bending it around the neck of his attacker, who, when unmasked, is revealed to be the Madame Tussaud wax dummy of the late Telly Savalas, who played the evil Blofeld in the 1969 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
As Bond rises up from the floor, his necktie askew and his brow dampened with even more sweat from the brief battle than from fucking Fergie, he is no longer Timothy Dalton; 007 is now Roger Moore.
Moore stands before a gilded mirror as a straying ambassador’s wife, played by 1997 Tomorrow Never Dies superstar Michelle Yeoh, straightens his necktie and adjusts his cummerbund – a little on the low end – before Moore cocks any eyebrow in temptation, but then settles for one impassioned embrace. As he turns, we see that Michelle Yeoh has stolen Bond’s wallet from his tux jacket and slips it into her diamond-encrusted purse before freshening her lipstick and smoothing her emerald green strapless sequined gown.
Moore rounds another corner, only to be tripped by one of the Queen’s obese Corgis featured gratuitously, repeatedly and in ridiculous slow motion in Danny Boyle’s boring original version. When Bond rolls over on the ground, he is no longer Roger Moore; 007 goes back to the original: Sean Connery.
Since Connery is now 81 and by most reports a cranky old fuck, he will need assistance in getting up from a fall, this time coming from none other than Carole Bouquet, the Bond revenge goddess from the 1981 For Your Eyes Only.
Bouquet lends Connery a hand and then instantly draws an arrow from the quiver sewn into the black satin evening gown she is wearing, slips it into a bow, and sends it whizzing down the hall to pierce the heart of Christopher Walken, villain from the 1985 wonder A View to a Kill, who had been pointing a bazooka in Connery’s direction. Walken grimaces, groans, and spins his eyeballs as he dies flailing and convulsing in the most ostentatious death scene this side of Eartha Kitt in Friday Foster. His body is quickly dragged out of sight by fellow View villainess, Grace Jones, wearing a gold lamé pantsuit with hood and matching hoop earrings nine inches in diameter, plus black velvet boots with nine-inch stiletto heels and zippers made from solid gold. The camera pans back to Bond, only now Connery is gone; George Lazenby from the superior 1969 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, stands in his place.
Lazenby tenderly kisses the hand of Bouquet in thanks before resuming his mission further down the hall, proving that he really did have the mettle to continue as Bond, especially once he meets his most physically imposing foe, Richard Kiel, Jaws from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me and and 1979’s Moonraker.
Richard Kiel lifts Lazenby up and hurls him into a curio cabinet full of priceless china, smashing both the cabinet and its contents to smithereens. Lazenby shakes off the shards of china that had been in the Royal collection since Queen Victoria’s engagement and prepares to do battle with his enormous nemesis, but luckily Diana Rigg from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, steps out of the shadows and injects a giant syringe of carbonated, fuchsia, fluorescent fluid into Kiel’s jugular, felling him instantly. Rigg, wearing a full-length dress made from blonde yak fur, points Lazenby toward a tiny innocuous door that appears to lead to no more than a broom closet. Lazenby takes a moment to stare into Reed’s deceptively doe-like eyes, and they share a sublime moment that tears at the heart when one remembers the tragic conclusion with the two actors in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
This the only actual Bond and Bond girl I have chosen to reunite alone, out of sheer sentiment. A tear appears in Lazenby’s eye, but Rigg insists he proceed by shaking her head, acknowledging fate sorrowfully and pointing a trembling hand toward the door.
Lazenby breathes deeply and bursts through the door; but on the other side, it is Sean Connery again who emerges. Instead of a broom closet, he finds the Buckingham Palace lap pool. Halle Berry, from the 2002 Die Another Day, surfaces from an underwater swim and removes the dagger from the sheath strapped around the stunning white belt of the same tangerine swimsuit she wore in the film. She motions with her weapon wordlessly towards another door, this one to a terrace swelling with carnations, the Queen’s favorite flower.
Connery finds his old footing and moves silently among the rows and rows of carnations until he finds the queen, wearing the same awful oufit that she wore to the ceremonies, seated at a potting table, picking off pink carnation petals and mysteriously arranging them the form of an ankh as she mutters a curse in Coptic while tapping her toes in rhythm with her staccato speech. We are enthralled by this peek into the Queen’s secret religious ritual. Connery clears his throat once. When the Queen does not respond immediately, he grasps her by the arm, manhandles her, and orders in his deep Scottish brogue, “Get out of that frumpy frock this instant and put on something proper for the world to see.” The Queen, overwhelmed by the presence of 007, stumbles behind a Chinese screen for only a moment, we hear a thump, and she returns semi-conscious in a dazzling silk gown that can only be described as canary yellow.
Connery is stunned by the Queen’s ability to pull off the color, and even more surprised when Ursula Andress and Honor Blackman appear on either side of the Chinese screen. It becomes clear that Blackman beat the Queen over the head with the garden mallet still in her hand, while Andress crammed the startled Queen into the flowing gown, which Connery notices has a long train with live garden snails crawling about it. The Queen shudders as she senses the miniature mollusks milling about on the dress she is about to present to the planet, but it one look from Blackman tells her to leave the slimy gastropods in place on the gossamer fabric at her feet. They are part of the design. “No hat!” Connery barks. “This is the Olympics. Put on the bloody crown.” The Queen raises a hand in objection, but Andress seizes it and slides a long, black velvet glove over it while Blackman fixes the crown upon the monarch’s head with an unnecessary stab with a giant hairpin that causes the Queen to wince in pain. Then Andress lights up a cigarette held in a seven-inch solid silver cigarette holder and simultaneously forces a black glove onto the Queen’s other hand. The combination of yellow and black, like a bee or wasp, is the most likely to inspire a psychotic break, something Bond appreciates after fifty years in information extraction.
Connery nods his sly approval to two of the most most enduring and beloved Bond girls before grabbing the slightly groggy Queen and schlepping her down to the garage, where they enter not a helicopter, but the Lotus Esprit car/submarine that took center stage in The Spy Who Loved Me. The auto-sub shows off the most lavish part of the entire spectacle. No special effects: the British have spent a quarter of their defense budget over the past year creating a working car-submarine identical to the one used by Bond in 1977. Connery and the Queen speed through London, take a diversion into the Thames as the auto transforms into a temporary mini-sub, and then swiftly arrive at their final destination, the Olympic Stadium.
As the two enter in the still dripping-wet white submarine-sportscar, Shirley Bassey is on a spinning podium in the shape of a gold finger ten meters in height, singing a medley of her themes from the Bond series: Goldfinger (1964), Moonraker (1979) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971). The Queen feels humiliated because the Bond focus has left little room for her as a Royal to be recognized; moreover, Shirley Bassey is adorned with more diamonds than could fit on ten royal tiaras.
As Bassey’s finger descends, Sir Paul McCartney appears, not to deliver yet another version of the tired Hey Jude, but to blast out a blistering rendition of Live and Let Die, from the 1973 film notable as the only entry in the series to feature both voodoo and car chases set to a fiddle soundtrack that must have served as inspiration for The Dukes of Hazzard. As McCartney plays, villains from the film Yaphet Kotto and Geoffrey Holder are dangled on wires to do mock battle with an inflatable triple-scale Ms. Moneypenny fashioned in the likeness of Lois Maxwell, who passed away in 2007. The aerial display rivals anything attempted by Cirque du Soleil.
Following McCartney’s number complemented by aerial battle between two villains from a four-decade-old film and a superscaled spy secretary float, the stadium lights dim, and a giant screen then shows a photo of Hervé Villechaize as the notorious Knick-Knack in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). Lulu, who sang the theme song, and Christopher Lee, titular villain in the film, take the stage to ask the crowd for a minute of silence in remembrance of Knick-Knack and Hervé Villechaize, who passed away in 1993. It is a somber moment that replaces the confusing Danny Boyle forced silence about one of the world wars.
The show still concludes with the choir of deaf children, but now it’s led by Sheena Easton singing and signing her theme from For Your Eyes Only. Queen Elizabeth II is now quite visibly irritated and shows not the slightest nod of appreciation, just as she failed to do when the deaf choir in pyjamas serenaded her with God Save the Queen. Connery whispers to the Queen that her special chair is actually an ejector seat designed by Q, and if she doesn’t crack a grin, she will be shot out of the stadium and into the stratosphere. The Queen looks about in a state of panic, only to find the cold glare of Judi Densch as M, who nods sternly before turning her attention back to the song.
Sheena Easton has solid experience presenting a Bond theme to an international audience with regulars from the franchise. Behold her performance at the 1982 Academy Awards.
Queen Elizabeth II quickly forces a panicked, brittle smile as the children conclude and the athletes begin their parade in. Success: so much so that even Cubby Broccoli would have been proud. Princess Diana smiles down from heaven, holding hands with an unimpressed Hervé Villechaize.