英语学习杂志 2013-02-08 13:24






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The James Bond movie series turned 50 in 2012. For almost half the time that feature films have been in existence, there have been feature films about a secret agent codenamed 007. It is a unique achievement. The pertinent question, though, is not why Bond has lasted so long, but why other film series have not. Cinema-goers are routinely faced with a fourth “Ice Age” cartoon or a third instalment of “Alvin and the Chipmunks”. It would not be wildly inaccurate to suggest that Hollywood is obsessed with creating strings of sequels. So it is curious to note that while there are TV soap operas and superhero comics which have kept going for decades, so far nothing on the big screen has come close to matching 007 for longevity and popularity.

What is Bond’s winning formula? According to a new documentary, Everything or Nothing: the Untold Story of 007, one key factor is the balance between continuity and change, between staying reliably the same and seeming fresh and new. Certain elements of every Bond movie are unwavering, so we feel an affectionate familiarity with them; others are new each time, so we don’t feel as if we are watching the same film over and over again.

We can all list the features that stay the same: There is the pre-credit stunt sequence and the bombastic ballad, the briefing with M and the visit to a casino, or a swanky party, or both. There are gadgets and car chases and seductive women, one of whom may well be a villainess. And, crucially , there is James Bond himself. We know how he introduces himself, how he likes his vodka martinis and how good he looks in a tuxedo. We know he will be the same remorseless killer at the end of the film as he is at the start. The director of a new Bond film is licensed to get on with the story knowing that we have already bonded with Bond. It is a rare advantage. How many other characters are so iconic that they can survive a change of actors without any drop in popularity?

But while the 007 formula may seem as rigid as one of Sean Connery’s toupees, the space within it that is left open for variation and evolution is just as important. Each film can have a new villain, a different love interest and any number of exotic locations. What’s more, it can be set in different time periods, in that Bond always operates in the period when the film is made, whether that is the 1960s, the 21st century or at any point in between. This allows the films to adapt to the cinematic trend of the moment, be it blaxploitation (Live and Let Die, 1973) or kung fu (The Man With The Golden Gun, 1974).

Look for that cocktail of stability and malleability in other movie series and you will not find it. Batman and Spider-Man, for instance, are restricted to their stomping grounds of Gotham and New York, where they encounter the same small roster of colourful antagonists. No wonder audiences wouldn’t put up with them for 50 years without a break. Zorro, The Three Musketeers, and The Pirates of the Caribbean are all tied to specific places and periods. Indiana Jones may not to be bound to a specific milieu, but he is synonymous with a specific actor. Even Britain’s campy “Carry On” series faltered when it lost its key cast members. Bond’s closest competitor in recent years, the Bourne movie series, ticks many of the same boxes as 007. Matt Damon has been replaced semi-successfully with Jeremy Renner, and Bourne can go anywhere in the world so we need not tire of the same old backdrops. But whether the hero is played by Mr. Damon or Mr. Renner, he is always tangling with one particular American government agency, so it is hard to see the series continuing for another four decades.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there are movie series which are so loose and indistinct that almost nothing connects the various instalments, leaving little for an audience to grow attached to. The “Die Hard” films have little in common with each other except the presence of Bruce Willis (and a token connection between the baddies of parts one and three). “Mission: Impossible” has the same problem. Four episodes in, we still have only a fuzzy impression of who Tom Cruise’s character is or which organisation he works for.

Ask yourself this: would anyone get excited if a “Mission: Impossible” finished with the caption “Ethan Hunt Will Return”? It is unlikely. But when a Bond film finishes with the equivalent promise, it still leaves a tingle of anticipation, even after 50 years.


1. feature film: 正片,一般指片长在90分钟至210分钟的电影,用于与动画短片、预告片等其他类型的视频影片区分开来;agent: 政府特工人员;codename: 给(情报人员、特工等)规定代号。

2. pertinent: 有关的,相关的。

3. routinely: 例行公事地,老一套地;Ice Age: “冰河世纪”系列,是于2002年首次发行的美国动画电影,由蓝天工作室制作。至2012年止,“冰河世纪”系列已经出到了第四部;instalment: (分期连载、播放的)部分;Alvin and the Chipmunks: “艾尔文与花栗鼠”,是以三只小花栗鼠为主角的3D动画与真人结合的电影系列,目前已经出到第三部。

4. 如果你认为好莱坞沉迷于创作一连串的系列影片,那你也不算错得离谱。wildly: 非常,极其;string of: 一系列(类似的事物)。

5. big screen: 大屏幕,这里指电影院的大银幕;longevity: 长寿,持久。

6. winning formula: 获胜法宝。

7. documentary: 纪录片,纪实性影片;continuity: 连续性,持续性;reliably: 可信赖地,可靠地。

8. unwavering: 坚定的,始终如一的;affectionate: 深情的,充满爱慕之情的。

9. 我们可以列出那些经久不衰的镜头:片头精湛的特技、夸张的配乐、M女士简要介绍任务、出入赌场和奢华的宴会等。pre-credit: 电影片头演职员名单之前的开场片段;stunt: 特技,特效;bombastic: 辞藻华丽而空洞的;swanky: 〈口〉非常时髦的,奢华的。

10. gadget: 小玩意儿,小装置;villainess: 女反面人物,女反派人物。

11. crucially: 至关重要地,关键性地。

12. vodka martinis: 伏特加马提尼,一种著名的鸡尾酒;tuxedo: (在正式场合穿的)男式无尾礼服上衣。

13. remorseless: 冷酷的,无情的。

14. 新一部007系列电影的导演知道观众们早已被邦德所倾倒,他便理所当然地(在新电影中)延续这个人物主题。be licensed to: (行动、言论等)不受约束,纵容。

15. iconic: 标志性的,成为偶像的;drop: 下跌,下降。

16. 尽管007系列电影的制胜法宝看起来可能就像肖恩•康纳利的假发似的一层不变,但同样重要的是,它也为改变和改善提供了新的空间。rigid: 僵硬的,不灵活的;Sean Connery: 肖恩•康纳利,以出演邦德而闻名的著名男演员;toupee: 假发。

17. exotic: 异国的,非本地的。

18. blaxploitation: (拍摄电影时)采用黑人演员(以吸引黑人观众),(黑人主演的)电影和戏剧;文中提到的电影分别是《你死我活》和《金枪客》。

19. 在其他电影系列中,你找不到稳定性与可塑性如此完美地融合。cocktail: 混合物;malleability: 可塑性,可锻性。

20. stomping ground: 〈美〉某人常喜欢去的地方;Gotham: 高谭市,一座虚拟城市,是蝙蝠侠的故乡;roster: 花名册,名单;antagonist: 敌手,对手。

21. put up with: 忍耐,忍受;break: 中断,暂停。

22. 此处提到的电影依次是《佐罗》、《三个火枪手》和《加勒比海盗》。

23. be bound to: 与……紧密联系在一起;milieu: 社会背景,周围环境;synonymous with: 相似的,成……代名词的。

24. campy: (由于过分矫揉造作等而被认为)滑稽可笑的;falter: 衰退,衰落。

25. the Bourne: 以杰森•伯恩为男主角的“谍影重重”系列电影;tick boxes: 在方框里打钩,这里指的是“具有许多以上提到的优秀特质”。

26. Jeremy Renner: 杰瑞米•雷纳,美国演员,因出演《拆弹部队》和《复仇者联盟》而出名,之后还出演《谍影重重4》的男主角;backdrop: 背景。

27. tangle with: 与……发生纠纷,与……有纠葛。

28. at the other end of the spectrum: 另一方面;loose: 松散的,可分开的;indistinct: 模糊的,难以清楚辨认的;grow attached to: 逐渐喜欢上,逐渐迷恋上。

29. Die hard: 以布鲁斯•威利斯为男主角的“虎胆龙威”系列;token: 装样子的,装点门面的;baddy: 〈口〉(电影、书等中的)坏人,恶棍。

30. Mission Impossible: 由汤姆•克鲁斯主演的“碟中谍”系列电影。

31. episode: (电影、电视等的)一集;fuzzy: 不清晰的,不明显的。

32. caption: (新闻报道、文章等的)大标题;Ethan Hunt: 伊森•亨特,“碟中谍”系列的男主角。

33. equivalent: 相同的,相等的;a tinge of: 一丝,些许;anticipation: 盼望,期待。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:丹妮)



















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