February 24, 2006

Bond fans insist series must maintain tradition of majorly sucking


James Bond has a curious stranglehold on movie lovers' brains. We know the series has been dreadful for decades, but we keep showing up because we love this character and this world and we just hope — and sometimes we're rewarded — that each new flick will have just enough classic Bond moments to make the trip to the theater worthwhile. Of course we all know that what the series needs most is a good shakeup. It's clear that the consortium behind the series has made a conscious decision not to hire A-list writers and directors, which would be the best thing for it, so that leaves casting. Which is why it was a thrilling suprise when producer Barbara Broccoli announced that the replacement for Pierce Brosnan would be Daniel Craig, an actor — as in, he can really fucking act — who shares the young Sean Connery's dangerous charisma more than any Bond since. See Layer Cake if you need convincing.

But apparently there's a reason the later Bond movies have been the most successful ever: lots of fans don't want the series to be great, they want it to be familiar. They want it to be completely and utterly predictable. And they are now oh so very angry that Daniel Craig might be spoiling all that for them.

Unless this is a hoax, a savvy joke about idiot fanboys (and the AP didn't get it if it is), the "movement" to boycott Casino Royale and generally badmouth Craig represents an evolutionary advance for today's young audiences. No longer are we content to sit back and be spoon-fed whatever franchise dreck studios choose to put in front of us, these folks are declaring. From now on, we are going to aggressively insist upon dreck. We are going to demand it as our right.

Really, there goes any hope I had for Friday the 13th Part 11.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


yeah, total agreement. Those guys are nuts. As a kid I was a big Remington Steele fan and always though PB would make a great James Bond, but then I went through a period of reading all the original books and you discover that Bond is not suppose to be a pretty playboy, he's suppose to be TOUGH. Most of the books have a scene where he's tortured. The movies started to go down hill after they cast roger moore (though I did love them as a kid, only later was I able to appreciate the greatness of the Sean Connery movies). By the time Pierce got cast as 007, I knew he's was going to be way too fuckin' suave for the role. Craig seems like a perfect choice to me.

On a similar note re the toughness/suaveness ratio, I'm not the only one who liked Timothy Dalton, am I?

Dude, you really have to catch up on your Buffy.

ANDREW: We are really super-villains now, like ... like Dr. No.
WARREN: Yeah, back when Bond was Connery, and movies were decent.
JONATHAN: (scornful) Who remembers Connery? I mean, Roger Moore was smooth.
WARREN: You're insane. You're short, and you're insane.
ANDREW: I like Timothy Dalton!

Warren smacks Andrew upside the head.

WARREN: Don't make me pull over, okay?


WARREN: (to Andrew) Connery is Bond. He had style.
JONATHAN: Yeah, but Roger Moore was funny.
WARREN: Moonraker? The gondola turns into a hovercraft? It's retarded. Besides, the guy had, like, no edge.
ANDREW: Dalton had edge. In Licence to Kill he was a rogue agent. That's edgy. (Warren and Jonathan give him looks of disbelief) And he was amazing in The Living Daylights.
JONATHAN: Yeah, which was written for Roger Moore, not Timothy Dalton!
WARREN: (annoyed) Okay, this is stupid! We're wasting time. End of discussion.


WARREN: Connery is the only actor of the bunch.
ANDREW: Timothy Dalton should get an Oscar and beat Sean Connery over the head with it!

I think the movies started to go downhill before Moore came along. The later Connery movies are already overwhelmed with gadgets and overpopulated battle scenes. Though there have a been a few minor corrections over the years, Bond long ago turned into an overly-suave superman armed with ridiculous weaponry.

As much I'd love to see the series get back to its roots, I wonder if I'd still accept it as Bond at this point if 007 didn't have cufflinks that jam enemy computers, engage in a laser battle with the chief villian -- whose scheme would be both blatantly unworkable and more expensive than the value of whatever he's trying to steal -- while racing down a snowboard cross course, and make a few really bad puns.

Also, I don't think the EON folks could make a movie like "From Russia With Love" these days without ruining it. But, as Die Another Day showed, they can do a reasonably good job of referencing the old movies in the middle of an otherwise-ludicrous film. Let them stick to that, and maybe someone else can make a real Bond movie, just with a different name for the character.

"Let them stick to that, and maybe someone else can make a real Bond movie, just with a different name for the character."

Not if the M:I and XXX series are any evidence.

If the movie is even halfway decent people will still go see it. Every time a human being is cast as a licensed property the fanboys get up in arms ("Michael Keaton is too short to be Batman!") but it doesn't seem to hurt the films' box office. The biggest problem with the James Bond franchise isn't the acting but the fact that it's no longer 1963.

I didn't say it was likely, just a possibility. In their defense, I think the people behind the M:I and XXX movies are trying to produce loud, dumb pictures. I don't think anyone is trying to make good spy movies these days, but I can always hope.

Dalton was OK, better than Bronsan, on par with Moore in my book (who was appealing in his way). I didn't mind the gadgets so much as the PRODUCT PLACEMENT that has completely overtaken these films. The tie ins with BMW are just out of hand, what does he drive now, a Z3?

the cool spy series now would have to be the two bourne films, which were both fairly excellent. what makes them work is 1) relative realism, 2) Damon making cool without all the gadgets but with just what at hand. My favorite moment is probably in the first film when he takes over the driving of the beat up old mini (?) and is like, "I noticed it pulls to the left a little." Through out the movies he's stressed and just riding on his superspy instincts, the opposite of the bonds, who are always acting like it's some kind of fucking vacation, being a spy.

It's a little-known fact that the ARPANET, precursor to the Internet, was created in the late '60s to disseminate gossip about George Lazenby.

Totally agree about the Bourne films, which also show how talented directors can give franchise films a personal touch without overwhelming what makes the franchise consistent.

What I don't like about the current era is the emphasis on slambang action over style and creativity. (The second Bourne movie fell into this trap too.)

For example, in Goldfinger, Bond never fires a gun, and only deliberately kills (I think) one person. But it takes too much effort to craft a movie in that way. It's eaiser to have him mow down one faceless villian after another, but it isn't interesting to watch

I thought "Goldeneye" was pretty decent, but the remainder of the Brosnan Bond movies were pretty bad ("Tomorrow Never Dies" had a great villain concept, but never did anything substantial with it.)

And I thought the first "M:I" was pretty decent, and the third one has promise based on the behind-camera talent and the new folks involved (Michelle Monaghan, Keri Russell), indicating that they'll go a little non-traditional.

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