January 2009

Casino Royale

Casino Royale

The Madagascar portion of Casino Royale opens with a crowd betting on a staged cobra-vs.-mongoose fight. Trouble is, there are no cobras in Madagascar — and such staged fights are more an Indian thing, anyway. The snake itself is hard for me to identify, since I’m not a cobra specialist, but my best guess is that it’s an Indian Cobra (Naja naja). In any event, nice to see the snake win, for a change.

Moonraker

Moonraker

Mr. Bond falls into a pool containing a huge, Bond-eating python, but he defies Drax’s latest attempt to plan an amusing death for him by stabbing the python in the throat with a pen. “You’re not a sportsman, Mr. Bond,” says the quotable Drax. “Why did you break off the encounter with my pet python?” Bond’s inevitably cringeworthy riposte: “I discovered he had a crush on me.” Groan.

Now, the snake in question is almost certainly not real — even in the opening frames, where it’s flicking its tongue most realistically, I think it’s a fake. The pattern most closely resembles a Reticulated Python — in this case, a morbidly obese one. But Reticulated Pythons come from southeast Asia; Drax’s lair is in the Amazon. Could there possibly have been a large, aquatic snake indigenous to the Amazon that would have been capable of snuffing the life out of gonorrheic British secret agents? I know there is one; the name’s on the tip of my tongue …

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