Sunday, 12 August 2012

10 ways the NDP is like the James Bond movies



Is the National Day Parade (NDP) a victim of sequelitis?

Since we celebrated Singapore’s 47th birthday on Thursday (assuming we had a parade for every National Day), that makes NDP 2012 the 46th sequel.

That’s like 39 sequels too many if it were a Harry Potter movie.

I mean, even Resident Evil has only four movie sequels, including the upcoming Resident Evil: Retribution. See Milla Jovovich kill zombies! In 3D! Again!



Of course, the biggest movie franchise in the world is the 50-year-old James Bond series, but even Dr No, the first 007 movie, has only 22 sequels, including the upcoming Skyfall.

(In the Skyfall trailer, Bond is thought to have died but is actually alive. Sounds familiar? That’s the plot of You Only Live Twice! I never believed for a second the man was dead.)



And even if you count the “unofficial” 1967 Casino Royale and the “unofficial” 1983 Never Say Never Again, that’s only 24 sequels compared to NDP’s 46 sequels. No fight.

Yet, like the movie franchise, despite having been around since 60s, the NDP remains popular after all these years by sticking to and expanding on a time-tested formula.

After watching every 007 movie on DVD with the audio commentary (twice), I’ve come up with 10 ways the NDP is similar to James Bond:

1. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
James Bond is British and was in a movie called On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The NDP is a celebration of Singapore, a member of the British Commonweath, headed by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

2. THEME SONGS
Every 007 movie has a new theme song performed by a famous artiste like Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney and Madonna. My favourite is Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon from The Spy Who Loved Me.



In recent years, every NDP has a new theme song performed by a famous local artiste like Kit Chan, Tanya Chua, Stefanie Sun, Hady Mirza and Olivia Ong. My favourite is What Do You See by Electrico from NDP 2009 (not to be confused with Mr Brown's Hokkien-titled version).



3. EXOTIC LOCATIONS
The movies have been filmed all over the world (well, except Singapore) and beyond, from Jamaica in Dr No and Live And Let Die to Hong Kong in The Man With The Golden Gun to outer space in Moonraker. The NDP has been held all over Singapore, from National Stadium to the Padang to the Marina Bay Floating Platform.

4. SHOOT TO THRILL
There’s usually some gunfire in the movies. There’s usually some gunfire at the NDP.

5. MOTORCYCLE STUNTS
In Tomorrow Never Dies, Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh jump over a helicopter on a motorcycle. In the NDP, too many people dangerously ride one motorcycle at the same time, but at least they’re wearing helmets.



6. SKYDIVING STUNTS
In Moonraker (my favourite James Bond movie), Roger Moore is thrown out of a plane without a parachute and survives. In the NDP, some people jump out of a plane with parachutes and survive.



7. BOAT STUNTS
In 1973, Live And Let Die made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest speedboat jump. In the NDP, some boats go around the bay a few times very fast.

8. GAMBLING MAN
The casino scene has become a trademark of the 007 movies. In the backdrop of the NDP at Marina Bay Floating Platform, you can see Marina Bay Sands.



9. BOND GIRLS
Uh... Diana Ser?



10. EXPLOSIVE CLIMAX
The movies usually end with some expensive pyrotechnics. The NDP usually ends with some expensive pyrotechnics.

Can you think of other ways the NDP is like the 007 movies?

As a final note, remember how in the London Olympics opening ceremony, Daniel Craig as Bond played the bodyguard of Queen Elizabeth as she parachuted out of a helicopter?



It has been suggested that our President should also parachute out of an aircraft for the NDP.

His bodyguard could be Diana Ser's husband James Lye as Inspector Mike Chin from Triple Nine.



Or better still, he could be VR Man.

Wait, I just thought of one more way the NDP is like the James Bond movies:

Every few years, a new actor will play James Bond. Every few years, a new President will be at the NDP.

Long live the Queen!

- Published in The New Paper, 12 August 2012

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