The James Bond film set the template for how a film concept that starts out relatively serious gradually lightens with each successive entry until it finally collapses upon itself in a self-referencing implosion of pre-emptive parody. The Bond series actually managed to hold onto its relatively serious demeanor much longer than other examples of this tradition. Perhaps the original "Batman" movie franchise of the 1980s/1990s is the all-time speed champ.
An official entry in the James Bond canon, "Octopussy," actually features a scene so astounding in its inappropriateness that it would never have made it past the discussion stage in the scripting of an affectionate James Bond parody. Once Roger Moore agreed to zoom that camera lens into and out of a female sciency character's abundant cleavage while lasciviously drooling over the image projected onto a nearby monitor, it became clear that Roger had to go before Bond lost the last remaining ounce of dignity he had left.
What is especially sad is that a scene of such striking opposition to the personality of the character constructed in the films leading to "Octopussy" cannot be found in any of the multiple James Bond parodies of the time that were so plentiful they had become almost a genre unto themselves. Those comedic takes on the concept of the nattily attired spy who always had a gun in one hand and shapely female companion in the other without missing a beat in saving the world from the mad plans of a super genius were eventually revealed to understand even better than those in charge of the later Bond movies from the Roger Moore era the vital necessity of having their often comical protagonist remain mature. The world around these parodic spies may have been as sophomoric as the "Octopussy" Bond, but the Bond doppelganger was not.
One of the most fascinating things about the dozens of comedy movies that mined their humor from the silliness of the official James Bond movies that were always recognized, but never openly acknowledged is just how versatile the genre actually proved to be. "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine" takes the idea of satirizing the over-the-top villains determined to exploit scientific knowledge to enact anti-Darwinian goals to its logical extreme. What you have here is Vincent Price doing his mad scientist shtick from his popular horror films in a spy thriller that acknowledges the silliness of the premise quite openly in search of comedy.
If James Bond could inspire parody that linked the spy genre to an icon of the horror genre, then why couldn't it become the foundation of a Beatles musical? I actually find "Help!" more entertaining than the far less experimental black and white semi-documentary movie with which they are more often associated. "Help!" is total absurdist parody to the point that you come to think that John Lennon secretly wrote the screenplay himself. Of all the Bond parodies that flooded movie theaters between the early 1960s and "Octopussy" the subversive approach bordering on surrealism taken by the Beatles is one of the best and most underappreciated.
The Matt Helm film series starring Dean Martin as the title character offer the most opportunity for critical analysis. Here we have source material that is, arguably, darker, more violent and intensely serious than Ian Fleming's Bond novels. The decision was made early on by those adapting the novels to cash in on Bondmania to forego the process of evolution from drama to self-parody. The Matt Helm movies are pure parody with the self tossed out in order to focus externally on the Bond movies. The result are some of the most purely entertaining film parodies of any type.
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