August 29, 2005

Cuba @ the Movies: Bond, James Bond

On occasion, as it has become necessary to serve queen and country, super agent James Bond has had to infiltrate Cuba in order to save the world.

Bond’s most recent foray into the island takes place in Die Another Day (2002). He tracks a North Korean killer, who’s undergoing a radical gene-therapy procedure that will given him a brand new face and increased life expectancy.

He’s first spotted in what is supposed to be Havana’s Malecon, but turns out to be Cadiz. Moments later, at a Havana cigar factory, Bond identifies himself as a representative of Universal Exports looking for “Delectados.” (At one point his contact jokes, “we may have lost our freedom, but our healthcare system is second to none.”)

The obligatory action takes place in the fictional island “Los Organos,” where Bond meets the beautiful Jinx, played by Halle Berry. She comes out of the ocean in a bikini a la Ursula Andress in “Dr. No,” and after a passionate night together they go on to destroy most of the medical facility. The North Korean agent they were both after, however, gets away.

In GoldenEye (1995) Bond pursues renegade Soviet agents who stole a state of the art F3 helicopter and took control of a secret and powerful space weapon called GoldenEye (GE). The GE fires a powerful electromagnetic pulse that can disable power and communication grids anywhere on the planet. The last remaining satellite control center, which Bond must find and destroy, is somewhere in rural Cuba.

We see the green rolling hills that might be found in Cuba’s Oriente province, and as Bond and company search for the satellite, the CIA shows up to lend a hand. Eventually they find their target and put the bad guys out of business. The world is safe, again, for commerce and conquest.

Given what mystery modern Cuba is to Americans, I’m surprised that not more movies have taken advantage of this.



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