Originally posted 1 April 2013 – migrated from previous blog
As my friends on Facebook are now tired of my continual posts moaning about the Bond reboot, I’ve decided to get it all over and done with here on my blog. Once and for all. Then I will shut up. Unless something new comes up, which it will.
I <heart> James Bond
First of all I will put this out there: I love James Bond. Always have. Always will. Ever since I saw my first Bond film, which wasÂ Diamonds are ForeverÂ as a little girl, I was HOOKED. The glamour, the danger, was blockbuster action movie entertainment in its purest and most effortlessly consumable form. I was thrilled by the danger, fascinated by the ridiculous stunts, tickled by the cool gadgets, entranced by the glamorous and beautiful women, bemused by the eccentric villains,Â titillatedÂ by the silly names, and curled up laughing at the brilliantly delivered classic one-liners. The recipe was brilliant. And I looked forward to a big helping whenever it came around.
Children often don’t notice incredulous misgivings in the realms of logic or reason, and of course it bothered me not one jot that there were several chaps playing this character, who all looked sounded and acted different. I mean…shit if I was happy enough with the irregularities of having some strange old man in a red suit deliver me presents every Christmas that I never saw, and suspiciously these presents were wrapped in the same paper as some other presents, and were gift-tagged from friends and family, and weren’t what I asked for (a unicorn)…well – who cares? That’s not actually that important. I got presents. Cool. So this Bond guy keeps changing? No-one seems to be bothered, so I’m not. It’s accepted.
In my opinion this is the recipe for a Bond movie:
- One British attractive actor
- The famous Bond theme music
- 2-3 beautiful women with quirky or downright silly names
- One eccentric villain hell bent on world domination or destruction
- Some excellent state-of-the-art (in five years) gadgets
- One sexy-ass souped up car
- One replacement watch for the one he lost/broke in the last film
- One ‘M’ who is strict and not impressed with Bond’s jokes
- One ‘Q’ who is annoyed that Bond breaks/loses gadgets
- One gun barrel target circle with blood drips
- One short mission to kick off the film
- One titles with dancing ladies and guns
- A selection of silly one liners
- 1-3 sexual conquests
- 10-1000 dead baddies
- 3-5 epic stunts by Bond
- One twisty turny plot where we meet some colourful characters, see a bit of the world, and where Bond leaves a trail of dead, kills the baddie, saves the planet and gets a nice naked cuddle from a girl after all that exertion.
Cliche? Duh! Yes.
Reboot up the arse
And now we get to this reboot thing. Why oh why oh why…did the keepers of the Bond franchise think it was a jolly good idea, just after “Die Another Day” which celebrated the TWENTIETH Bond film, to throw away the biggest asset they had eh? Namely – the journey traveled so far.
NO-ONE CARED that the actor kept changing
NO-ONE CARED that this career was suspiciously long
NO-ONE CARED that he was getting a bit on the immortal side (he may have been a Highlander – who cares! No-one!)
You can’t buy that kind of ‘not caring’ you know? The audience loved and accepted it. Didn’t give a monkeys and was just looking forward to the next installment. After all, they’ve watched and enjoyed all these other ones and feel like they know the chap really quite well now! The bit in “Die Another Day” where he’s walking through the old gadgets (the ones Q managed to re-acquire of course), was brilliant. So nice to see them all brought together so we could reminisce along with Bond.
Thoughts when I heard the next Bond was Daniel Craig:
Cool, not exactly my cup of tea, but looking forward to it, bring-it
Thoughts when I heard the next film was ‘Casino Royale’:
Cool, re-interpreting the old David Niven one, clever, will prob be awesome, bring-it.
Thoughts during theatrical exhibition of Casino Royale (reboot):
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhh!!!!!!! What have they done!!!!!!
They’ve taken him back to the beginning of his career as a double-o? But for WHY???? What about all those missions I followed him on? All those women he slept with? All those baddies he killed? Forgotten? Wiped clean? FOR WHAT GAIN GODDAMMIT??????
This article from The Huffington Post written by Mark Juddery talks a little bit about Bond in its look at the latest fashion of reboots in cinema: Â http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-juddery/series-reboots_b_2515049.html
Mark suggests this reboot might hold the benefit of explaining Bond’sÂ misogyny. It may well do. So what? We just assumed it was something about mummy issues anyway. Misogyny usually is.
“Here was a new world in which Bond started afresh, he didn’t need to be around 90 years old, and best of all, the entire Roger Moore era never happened.”
Um…cheers Mark. I actually enjoyed them thar Roger Moore Bond films innit.
On JamesBondwiki.com there is an interesting discussion debating the pros and cons of the reboot:Â http://www.jamesbondwiki.com/thread/1699056/Why+the+hell+did+they+have+to+reboot+the+series%3F%3F%3F%3F
Here you can always rely on the really die-hard fans to pick apart the politics from their immense knowledge of the books, the films and the studios and finance that made them. One poster writes:
“It has to do with two things that were messed up about Bond from the very beginning, and they both have to do with mistakes Ian Fleming made that might have seemed innocuous at first but snowballed over time.
One, the rights to Casino Royale were sold to CBS for a song. It’s interesting to speculate whether, had he not done this, the movies would have been made in sequence. Perhaps not; but if they had, as it’s been discussed elsewhere, the EON series would have made much more sense.
Two, as far as the charges Kevin McClory leveled against him for ripping off the Thunderball story, it seems the facts strongly suggest Fleming was guilty as hell. And this caused a nightmarish cascade of glitches. The cafeteria of stainless steel, Blofeld becoming the villain in Diamonds Are Forever, Blofeld failing to recognize Bond at Piz Gloria even though he should’ve been able to; the whole SMERSH/S.P.E.C.T.R.E. thing is partially due to this as well.
While Die Another Day is a far superior movie to Batman and Robin, it was equally damaging as a “bad steer” of it’s respective franchise, directing it into a cul de sac from which said franchise had been unable to retreat. The cool story arc in the books about hunting down a deadly shadowy criminal syndicate from one installment to the next, that had been jettisoned, and it never could have been recovered in a sequel to Die Another Day. You’ll notice, post-reboot, they’re making a high priority of recovering this even compared to bringing back Q and Moneypenny. And doing a fine job of it, too”
This may be, and is actually very interesting, but nevertheless – they’ve just flushed all that down the toilet and tried to Domestos away TWENTY STORIES I LOVED.
Another poster writes:
“The Bond series has been re-booted several times over the years, usually because the franchise has slipped perilously close to parody; the gritty FOR YOUR EYES ONLY was the antithesis of the cartoon antics of MOONRAKER, the harder edge displayed by THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS and particularly LICENCE TO KILL was a direct response to the silliness so prevalent in A VIEW TO A KILL, and the dark tone established by CASINO ROYALE brought a much-needed seriousness back to Bond after the outlandish nonsense which severely undermined DIE ANOTHER DAY.Â
Hopefully, the producers won’t repeat past mistakes and allow the series to descend into self-parody once again.”
While inaccurately saying the franchise has been rebooted several times, this is an interesting point, some of the above-mentioned titles were getting a bit too far on the comical side, but I think they are still important representations of when they were made. This is where films become historical documents for more than just their content, especially for a unique long-running series of films such as Bond. “Moonraker” and “For Your Eyes Only” are mentioned here,Â now the Eighties still appear a bit on the garish side for us over twenty years later, our hair still hasn’t got that big again, we still can’t quite muster up the courage to wear such big shoulderpads, or bright clothes. The Nineties and Noughties dulled us and made us sage with our anti-capitalist views, magnolia painted living spaces, andÂ abhorrenceÂ and shame that we had that decade of surplus income and big stereos – still making us cringe at poor Roger Moore in his Lotus with a woman bending over it in one of those waist-high-cut leopard-print swimsuits that goes right up her crack. And stilettos. Can’t forget them. Why would you be walking round in a swimsuit WITHOUT your stilettos in the Eighties. Yes we did think that looked hot. Fact I’m afraid.
And I’m still no closer to understanding why they’ve attempted to Domestos away TWENTY STORIES I LOVED.
This is going to be short and sweet. “Quantum of Solace” – I’ve only seen ten minutes. Twice. I don’t approve of cheap tricks to incur adrenalin-fueled excitement in a viewing audience. Quick-cutting is a cheap trick. I’ve tried to watch it but when I can’t tell what I’m watching because it’s all a mash of limbs, guns, bits of cars and various other close-up things that are gone in a split second and I don’t know what it was. Then I’m sorry. I’d rather turn it off and do the washing up so it doesn’t worry me anymore. If you want me to watch your film sir, then you have to let me see what’s going on. Simple.
Skyfail and Blondefail
Wow, the latest film “Skyfall” has become the “most successful film in British box office history” according to the Telegraph:Â http://news.sky.com/story/1061375/skyfall-success-helps-cineworlds-profit-riseÂ – that’s incredible, congratulations to the production, creative teams and cast. According to Box Office Mojo, it has madeÂ “Worldwide: $1,108,561,013” (at the time of this blog posting):Â http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bond23.htm. That’s incredible. That’s even wiped the floor with the original Star Wars:Â http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=starwars4.htmÂ and Jaws:Â http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=jaws.htm
I didn’t like it. I’m just going to post my Facebook conversation here (names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty):
- Belinda: Um…SkyBALLS
- Person #1: Are you saying that a James Bond film isn’t very good? Well, pull me up a chair.
- Person #2:nooo! it’s awesome!
- Person #3: Hope your referring to fatty’s song!
- Belinda: Just watched it. It’s FUCKING CLOWN SHOES
- Person #4: THAT was a villain…?
- Person #3: Stop watching Austin Powers!
- Belinda: Boring theme, repetitive plot devices seen too many times, spoon-feeding exposition to the audience, and shit CGI kimodos, [and CGI] breath … BREATH! In ‘Scotland’, and just balls. Cheers Sam Mendes. Can I have my Microsoft points back now please?
- Belinda: *komodos
- Belinda: Haven’t seen the like of them so bad since the CGI gophers at the beginning of the Crystal Skull
- Belinda: *shit CGI gophers
- Person #4: Wait! He’s using a polymorphic code which evolves every time we try to access it! Thank heavens I invented it…
- Person #3: This coming from a Star Wars fan!!!
- Belinda: And…still not a blonde Bond girl in sight since A View To A Kill.
- Belinda: Yeah [Person #3]…holy trilogy only. You know better than that. Not those fucking animated political snorefests.
- Person #3: So The World is Not Enough doesn’t count then for blondes then?
- Belinda: Sophie Marceau and Denise Richards arnae blonde
- Person #3:Â Don’t do politics. Snorefests are your domain. Couldn’t stand the King’s Snnnnnnnnnorrrrre. Sorry speech.
- Person #3:Â Denise Richards was in that movie!
- Belinda: And…after all my years of school in England trying to convince English kids we didn’t live in caves in Scotland, and only had enough electricity to watch our one television programme Taggart, in our kilts with our pet haggis…he takes her to an empty barren glen, to an old stone house with a priest hole, and one old codger with a shotgun he calls a rifle.
- Belinda: Like I said. She’s not BLONDE!
- Person #3: Plus there is one on Die Another Day. Fort William is like that & Glencoe is beside it!
- Person #3: All it was missing was some tacky granite clad buildings and sheep!!!
- Belinda: Miranda Frost and Jinx ARE NOT BLONDE
- Person #3: Obviously Berry is not blonde. Others are dirty blonde.
- Belinda: They have BROWN HAIR [Person #3]. Brown. That’s Brown. That’s NOT Blonde.
- Belinda: I’ll show you dirty blonde mate
- Person #3: No thanks. Not my type!
- Belinda: Mwa-haha <posts picture of Jennifer Aniston> <whom actually I don’t think is a blonde either>
- Person #5: ‘Some men are coming to kill us. I’m going to kill them first.’
- Person #5: WORST LINE OF ‘DIALOGUE’ I HAVE EVER HEARD. EVER. IN ANY MOVIE. INCLUDING ‘HOLIDAY ON THE BUSES’. Thank you SO very much for posting about this… made my night.
- Person #6: Pertinent question: Is Judi Dench to be considered a ‘Bond girl’ in Skyfall?
- Belinda: Of course not – she’s ‘M’. And while it was an interesting twist to have a lady boss for Bond, sadly they’ve been wringing out this ‘M stands for Mummy’ ever since.
- Person #6: Yet in Skyfall she ticks all the boxes required from a Bond girl shy of making the beast with two backs with 007…..
- Belinda: Out of interest – what boxes?
- Belinda: Correction to my former claim – the last blonde Bond girl was Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights
- Person #5: Such a shame they didn’t hire David Walliams to play the Skyfall villain. The guy they did get seems to be channelling Walliams throughout. Ah, well. At least it leaves room for a future, MUCH better Bond film in which Matt and David will play Mr Wint & Mr Kidd…
- Person #5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2GHL8VhMjo
- Person #6: the boxes being that she’s the ‘damsel’ in distress needing rescuing in this movie, that she gives Bond sass etc…etc.. And of course SPOILER ALERT!!!!! she dies, like Gemma Arterton, Jill Masterton, Diana Rigg, Caterina Murino (Hubba hubba), Eva green, Teri Hatcher (I think) and the list goes on…..
- Person #6: Mendez is being lined up for the next Bond film too m’fraid, B. But the bond writers for the last half dozen movies have packed their bags, so a fresh writer(s) will be taking up the reins…
- Person #6: Also the villain Le Chifre’s GF in Casino royal is like Platinum Blonde.. Does that count?
- Belinda: YES [PERSON #5]! When I saw the villain walking into camera from a distance I thought it WAS Walliams!
- Belinda: Och [Person #5] – she needed rescuing in The World is Not Enough too. Old news there. And this guy agrees with me about the definition of blonde Bond girlshttp://thearchnemesis.com/Bond%20Girls.html – see no. 13
- Person #5: Eve green beats out Jane Seymour?? Nay, I say! Nay! Jane seymour to this day and age is still hotter than Eva Green. She can cougar my arse any time. Helen Mirren too, but that’s another story…..
And what, you might well ask, qualifies me to have such inflated opinions of this?
…30 years experience of watching Bond films…
…and a masters degree in screenwriting.