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Sunday, 12 April 2015

‘Dr, my death is greatly exaggerated…’ – Bond

I’m sure I won’t be alone in criticising the latest piece of so-called journalism from experts regarding the unbelievable escapes from death in Skyfall (2012), Die Hard (1988) and Home Alone (1990), and Halloween (1978).

No doubt to engender response, Total Film magazine featured an article where several medical experts explain why our heroes would have died if their antics had been in real life.

Setting aside the fact that the movie James Bond is fantasy (even if they go to great pains to appear in our reality), unlike, say, Le Clarré’s Smiley outings, which can be considered drama. Die Hard and Halloween fall into that category, too. As for Home Alone, it’s a cartoon with live actors.

What annoys me is when experts watch a film but don’t listen or don’t see correctly.

I’ll paraphrase one of the findings: In the spectacular pre-credit sequence, according to the report, Bond is hit in the chest by a bullet laced with radioactive uranium. The good doctor states that Bond wouldn’t have survived. ‘A depleted uranium shell going at any kind of speed would’ve passed straight through him, turned his lungs inside out and killed him.’

Dr, no! The doctor clearly didn’t watch any more of the film. About half an hour into the story, Bond digs out the shell casing splinter from his upper chest, just below his clavicle and obtains a report on it from Tanner: it was lucky it was only a ricochet; ‘if the bullet had hit you it would have torn you in half.’ So much for the observant doctor…

Yes, there’s the question of that bit of radioactive metal sitting in his subcutaneous tissue for about three months… but if years of smoking haven’t killed him, perhaps this wouldn’t either – or at least not for a few years yet.

The act of digging out the shrapnel from his wound comes in for a bit of criticism too. Apparently, such a clumsy technique would have led to infection, unconsciousness, blood loss and severe muscle and nerve damage. Over-egging it again, I suspect. Sadly, in so-called clean operations performed in hospitals, infection finds a way in, doesn’t it? As for self-operating – there are many cases of individuals performing serious operations, from amputation to digging out foreign bodies from the flesh – and surviving. There are countless instances of people being wounded in battle yet not even realising it at the time, due to the heightened adrenalin rush of the moment; the trauma is real, but the mind can go into denial in order to cope and save the body from further damage.

There are further comments relating to the end of the film, but I wouldn’t want to write any spoiler here. Suffice it to say that, individually, all the escapades Bond survives have been achieved by people in real life; granted, not all by the same person within such a short space of time: that’s the fiction, the fantasy; and you'd think that doctors could differentiate. 

In short, the criticisms are mischievous fun; a bit like a fantasy film in the Bond franchise, really.

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