Bond films have greatly developed over the years, improving technically, with the same action-based, romantic genre. In both ‘Dr. No’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, the key features include using locations that are abroad, special gadgets like guns, cars and special tricks. As a plot summary, Bond films begin with a challenging mission set by M, which is followed by murder or some sort of destruction. However on the underside there is a strong sense of sexism and racism, such as Bond’s abrupt, sexual relationships with ‘Honey Rider and Miss.
Taro’ in ‘Dr. No’ and ‘Paris’ in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. It undermines women’s worthiness and true value. Yet over the years the sexist attitude has faded away, and has become less prevalent in the Bond films. Honey Ryder appears in the second half of the film, set in a beautiful, capturing landscape – the beach. Immediately this highlights how the attractiveness of the landscape has been used to perhaps portray the sexuality of Honey Ryder. She is presented in the film, wearing sexy and extravagant clothes and this shows how she is overused and sexually exposed.
The scene is a long shot, with Honey walking into the sand, revealing to the audience her body. This is carefully juxtaposed with the landscape, giving a greater impact on the audience. It is also a very slow and long shot, which emphasizes how woman can be seductive. Moreover the name ‘Honey’ is a metaphor that emphasizes the idea of desires, because the literal meaning to honey reminds you of temptation and irresistibility. Therefore it can be interpreted that Young uses Honey’s vulnerability to establish Bond’s power, dominance and control, making him seem more heroic.
On that level Young presents the sexist attitude towards woman and hence undervalues Honey’s role in the film. In comparison in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, Spottiswoode gives his female protagonist a leading role, with action, power and control. Wai Lin appears fully clothed, where Spottiswoode hardly intends to portray women in a sexual way. The scene is titled ‘I work alone’, which clearly highlights the power that is given to Wai Lin. It is an interesting scene, which entails a lot of suspense and tension.
The fighting scene featuring Wai Lin lasts approximately two minutes, but within that time the camera-man has used around 80 shots, which gives the audience an extremely exciting experience. Spottiswoode uses wipe cut shots for Bond and jump cut shots for Wai Lin, shifting between them to establish the equality that exists between them. In effect the difference between Wai Lin and Honey Ryder is seen, since Wai Lin has been given a role which is not limited by sexist values.
Nevertheless Spottiswoode does seem to reflect the same idea that emerges in the other string of Bond films, in which a woman has to be rescued by the man. Bond returns to save Wai Lin from the villains, and that single second makes all the difference to show that he is ultimately the hero. He also sleeps with her at the end, which shows how Wai Lin is used, despite having an equal role to Bond in the film. When comparing M’s sex in ‘Dr. No’ with ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ the character changes from male to female, which shows how Spottiswoode has adapted the film, to make it seem less sexist.
Moneypenny is female in both films and the director does not make use of a male actor to act this role, which preserves the role that was given to her in the first place. Dr. No is set in Kingston Jamaica and this seems as if though the director has exploited foreign countries and has represented them in a negative way. In particular the scene where there fire is a fire, the locals and especially Honey Ryder are easily fooled in thinking that it a monster, whereas Bond is shown to be aware that it is just a trick being played on them. In this way Young is seen to undermine the black people, which comes across as being racist.
Additionally Honey Ryder’s ignorance of the situation put her in the same category as the black people, which gives clear evidence of sexism. The villain himself is Chinese and perhaps Young took the easy route to casting his film with a Chinese villain in Jamaica instead of Britain, to show that Jamaica could be more easily dominated by another country, than Britain itself. To a slight extent in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ racism is shown to still exist because the main villain Carver is from German, which can be seen as ruining his image.
Nevertheless Spottiswoode overcomes the sense of racism in the film by using a female protagonist who is Chinese. Wailin is presented as strong, intelligent and powerful and has to some extent been shown with more control than Bond himself. This leads to the fact that Bond films like ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ no longer seem to be racist and have taken into consideration the effect that their choice of characters, especially villains and the setting have an effect on their audience.
In conclusion Bond films have developed to a great extent, where in this modernized world, a new era with equality has evolved. Personally I feel that our attitudes towards different races and woman have changed, but even in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ Spottiswoode’s exploitation of China has lead me to feel that there is still a sense of racism lurking within the film. Sexism does seem to be prevalent in earlier versions of the Bond film, but woman have been given more challenging and powerful roles to elevate their position in society.