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The Business of Bond
August 1, 2012 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Like James Bond movies? And box office grosses? And visualized data? Then today is your lucky day.
posted by Egg Shen (76 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think someone just wanted an excuse to make a cute pictogram icon thing for each 007 film. :)
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:14 PM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Do you like gun barrel sequences?
posted by griphus at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ohh and the little blood-drippy animation calling back to the famous shutter-shooting opening shot that highlights said pictograms is a bonus.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:19 PM on August 1, 2012


I could hit that 'adjust for inflation' button all day.
posted by box at 7:19 PM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


a cute pictogram icon thing for each 007 film

The Ursula Andress bikini wouldn't even need the context to be recognizable.

That's one iconic swimsuit.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2012


Wow. Adjust for inflation, indeed.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2012


brb gonna go watch Thunderball.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fascinating that someone can know how to make an interactive infographic like this and still not know how to spell "tomato."
posted by alexoscar at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2012


Poor old George Lazenby.
posted by Artw at 7:28 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've only ever seen Goldfinger and Casino Royale. I enjoyed them both, but not so much that I was able to grasp the cultural obsessions.

That being said - how closely does the box office draw compare to the .. shall we say "critical acclaim of Bond fans"? i.e. Was Thunderball considered The Best and Licence(sp?) to Kill considered The Worst?
posted by revmitcz at 7:30 PM on August 1, 2012


Licence to Kill is my favorite ever.

I concede this is a minority opinion.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:33 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


yowser! 'Dr. No' made 5415% profit. absolutely bonkers...
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 7:37 PM on August 1, 2012


My take was that Thunderball was like the epic special effects laden super blockbuster of it's day. It has aged very poorly.

License to Kill was a Timothy Dalton Bond film - my favourite Bond actor, but the majority opinion is that he's the least strong Bond ever cast. He was much darker and low key than the other bond actors, and the late '80s isn't known as a particularly classic era of Hollywood. The story wasn't particularly interesting and iirc came across as one more "drug dealer as badguy" film that was saturating the market, like vampire and zombie films now/just past.
posted by porpoise at 7:45 PM on August 1, 2012


Moonraker bigger than all the Daniel Craig movies.

See? I TOLD YOU THEY SUCK.

Don't fuck with the formula. The formula works.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:47 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahem, that's "A View To A Kill"
posted by scrowdid at 7:49 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


That being said - how closely does the box office draw compare to the .. shall we say "critical acclaim of Bond fans"?

There will be as many opinions here as stars in the skies...

However Thunderball is definatly a weird one to be in the lead. Goldfinger, on the other hand, is an acknowledged masterpiece.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service deserves far, far better - it's a different take on Bond, and Connery is hard to beat, but its a solid film, one of the bonds that work beyond just being some Bond tropes, and Lazenby does things Connery NEVER could, like that amazing final scene. It's actually kind of heartbreaking / could Connery do that? Could he fuck. Also the best music.

The Bonds on either side of it, which did far better, are pretty crappy by comparison.
posted by Artw at 7:54 PM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, and it's nice to see Live and let Die do well - it's a different kind of Bond, but it's the best of that different kind of Bond.
posted by Artw at 7:59 PM on August 1, 2012


I'm always surprised to find that Casino Royale is, for the most part, a movie made by a bunch of Bond veterans behind the camera (and in the script). The film really manages to capture the mix of suave fun with a hint of brutal cold that the early Connery flicks had while managing to take the first real legitimate look at Bond as person with some depth.

Frankly I thought that Quantum of solace was a serviceable, if not outright good, coda to Royale in that it's entire plot is pretty much Bond venting after *SPOILERS* his loss at the end of Casino Royale. That being said I admit that it is a fairly feeble stand alone movie.

I have my fingers crossed for a more Royale-esque take on the character in Skyfall but by the look of the recent trailer I fear that it will simply be a grungy, cliched old soldier keeps on soldering plot.

I would love to see a more thorough re-exploration of the character continued in the same vain of Royale. I know the internet hates him right now but I would love to see Nolan's take on Bond. His homage to On Her Majesty's Secret Service in Inception was a lot of fun and the man is on the record as wanting to direct a Bond flick if given the opportunity.
posted by sendai sleep master at 8:01 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


One odd thing - there's a steady decline from Live and Let Die until the series semi-rebooted with Goldeneye, probably coinciding with waning public interest and over familiarity, but The Man with the Golden Gun ducks that patern and is a solid miss all on its own - any idea why?
posted by Artw at 8:04 PM on August 1, 2012


On Her Majesty's Secret Service also has the all-time best Bond girl: Diana Rigg as Tracy, who is not only super hot, but also tough, funny, and poignant. She and Lazenby have great chemistry, but I think maybe the fact that she kind of overshadowed him in the movie was a factor in his getting the boot.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:05 PM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Casino Royale to me seems like a good version of the book wrapped in some forgettable nonsense. And then after that they had no more books so just ran with the nonsense since nobody seemed to care.
posted by Artw at 8:06 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


sendai sleep master - Can you fill me in on why the internet hates Nolan right now? Maybe some links or something? I must have missed that and google is doing a poor job filling me in.
posted by banished at 8:07 PM on August 1, 2012


Interesting to see the exploding budgets of the latter day Bonds. The stakes are far higher for success, and the return-on-investment much lower.

I fear that it will simply be a grungy, cliched old soldier keeps on soldering plot.

I would love to see Bond do his own soldering for once; he's forever putting it on Q.

The Man with the Golden Gun ducks that patern and is a solid miss all on its own - any idea why?

It's pretty terrible, in my opinion.

The comparative popularity of Die Another Day also surprises me, I thought it was the worst of the Brosnans - however, on reflection, I thought The World is Not Enough was the best of the Brosnans, and like so many sequels, the quality of the prior film can oft-times be a bigger indicator of the success of the sequels than the actual sequel itself (Tomb Raider series is another good example: popular consensus was that Cradle of Life was better than its predecessor [I disagree but whatevs], however it didn't make anywhere near as much money).
posted by smoke at 8:08 PM on August 1, 2012


Banished - just check the last couple of Batman threads. Mainly it's people being moany fucks.
posted by Artw at 8:13 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's pretty terrible, in my opinion.

You know, that's a good point, though the cynic in me doubts that as a reason - and other terrible bond films haven't been punished so... Wikipedia says it reviewed terribly at the time, which I'm not sure is the case with the higher grossing duds.
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on August 1, 2012


endai sleep master - Can you fill me in on why the internet hates Nolan right now? Maybe some links or something? I must have missed that and google is doing a poor job filling me in.

To be honest, banished, I don't have a specific link (upon preview, what Artw said). That being said, I think a lot of it has to do with the Internet's love of analyzing plot holes and deeming a film that has more than a certain number of them to be bad regardless of the film's other merits.

That being said (and bringing us back around to Bond) the guys over at Red Letter Media talk in there review of The Dark Knight Rises about how Nolan is ultimately a director who plays on emotion rather than logic and how this does not necessarily make his film's lacking in quality or artistic merit.

That's why I think he would be perfect for a Bond flick. The man's bread and butter is bombast, melodrama, and steely, cold set design (and I say that with the upmost admiration). That seems like a fantastic combination for taking the series in a somewhat deeper yet familiar direction.
posted by sendai sleep master at 8:24 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thunderball is definatly a weird one to be in the lead.

Indeed (I hadn't even heard of it until now!), but when you realize it came out in 1965, at the peak of the British Invasion, and right on the heels of Goldfinger, it makes a little more sense.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:24 PM on August 1, 2012


It's the one with the jetpack.

Well, the first jetpack.
posted by Artw at 8:26 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there an Easter Egg that adds Never Say Never Again to the list? I was looking for one but it seems the sense of humor of the web designers doesn't extend that far.
posted by Palquito at 8:26 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


While a lot of the early Bonds were cheesy and had goofy humor, The Man With the Golden Gun is one of the few that seems like it was a bunch of random ideas thrown together. It's not just that it's a weak movie, it's that it doesn't have a grasp on the basic plot (apart from whether or not that plot is good).

This makes it hilarious to watch, though, which is why it's one of my favorites.
posted by 23 at 8:27 PM on August 1, 2012


That opens the door to at least two more Casino Royales.
posted by Artw at 8:27 PM on August 1, 2012


Casino Royale to me seems like a good version of the book wrapped in some forgettable nonsense. And then after that they had no more books so just ran with the nonsense since nobody seemed to care.
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on August 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


Casino Royale seemed to me like a thoroughly excellent opening, a very good rendition of the book (though they should have cut that pointless guff where he gets poisoned) and a silly coda.

Plus - an admirable commitment to testicle whipping.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:50 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thunderball is not a bad James Bond movie, but it's riding on the success of the ones that came before it. In a way, it's the first of the series that hits all of the key formula points: Dr. No lacked gadgets and the opening sequence wasn't fully baked, From Russia With Love lacks a prominent supervillain or high concept world-in-danger plot, and Goldfinger lacks glamorous locations taking place almost entirely in the U.S. South (minus a red Chinese bomb factory in the alps or something -- it's been a while)

Thunderball has all those things, but maybe suffers for it, in that there's not much new to be explored. It also has a somewhat long and date-rapey detour in a british health spa. On the other hand, it has baccarat, a shark trap, spear guns, nuclear blackmail, and a Tom Jones theme song. So that's pretty cool.
posted by condour75 at 8:51 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Living Daylights: Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.

Well, except Antarctica.

And North America.

South America.

Australia.

And, um, Africa.

He does cross Europe and Asia. How many is that? Is that seven?
posted by Naberius at 9:03 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: an admirable commitment to testicle whipping.
posted by device55 at 9:04 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Another Dalton & Lazenby (really OHMSS) fan here. I watched the series almost all in order a couple of years ago, and was surprised to find some of the good ones weren't as good as I remember and some of the bad ones weren't nearly as bad as I remember.

Also this is where I express my glee at the 50 years of James Bond poster my friends brought home from Comic Con for me.
posted by immlass at 9:07 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, IE > 8 required.

Don't like upgrading your operating system? Today is not your lucky day.

:-(
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:15 PM on August 1, 2012


Wow, watching Profitability section progress over the years explains so much about Hollywood.
posted by Peevish at 9:24 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


On Her Majesty's Secret Service also has the all-time best Bond girl: Diana Rigg as Tracy

Got to disagree; it's Vesper. Only one to truly match wits with Bond; she simultaneously destroys and creates Bond. He becomes an exaggerated version of himself- cruel, cavalier- because of coming close to, and then losing, her. The Bond series can be understood as the aftermath of a tragedy; that tragedy is Vesper.

Eva Green is fantastic in her portrayal; dark and disaffected but in pain. That's the same space Bond inhabits for the rest of the series, as if in tribute.
posted by spaltavian at 9:26 PM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sorry, IE > 8 required.

Jesus, and you use the web with that thing?
posted by xmutex at 10:12 PM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can we please talk about the Skyfalltrailer now. Also Craig's ears are growing or something? And it's adorable?
posted by samofidelis at 10:19 PM on August 1, 2012


It was shocking that this profitable franchise nearly gave up the ghost due to the financial weirdness go MGM.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:21 PM on August 1, 2012


Also Craig's ears are growing or something? And it's adorable?

Where or where is his baby blue speedo? Talk about iconic swimwear!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:24 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Man with the Golden Gun ducks that pattern and is a solid miss all on its own - any idea why?

I'd love to say Christopher Lee, but the cynic in me suspects Hervé Villechaize is to blame.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:14 PM on August 1, 2012


Christopher Lee is, TBH, the sole reason for any fondness I might have for it.
posted by Artw at 11:16 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would have helped if I had looked at the graph before answering.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:16 PM on August 1, 2012


The Skyfall trailer totally makes the Bond theme into an Inception DUUURN. I find this curiouslt depressing.
posted by Artw at 11:18 PM on August 1, 2012


Interesting how the profits keep falling from beginning to end. I'll still take a Roger Moore over a Daniel Craig any day.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:27 PM on August 1, 2012


Whoever did the little icons for each movie is very clever.
posted by rmmcclay at 11:31 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


>Sorry, IE > 8 required. Don't like upgrading your operating system? Today is not your lucky day.

>>Jesus, and you use the web with that thing?


Indeed. Download Chrome or Firefox (or, if you must, Opera) for chrissakes. Unless you're running Windows 98 or something, I guess. In which case, what the hell?

Making stuff for the web has gotten so much better in the last year or two, as the most heinous versions of IE slowly die off. Or maybe it's just because I don't give a fuck anymore, and only make an effort to make things look right for IE8 and lower if someone is stuck using them and asks me to. With every other browser, and IE9+, most things Just Work, or work with very little massaging.

[/aside]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:01 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lazenby was underrated.

Walken was a great villain in a very silly movie. (well, they're all pretty silly, just that one is especially so.)

Poor Moneypenny, the perpetual spinster. :-(
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:37 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


David Niven.

That is all.
posted by Hogshead at 2:55 AM on August 2, 2012


The Skyfall trailer totally makes the Bond theme into an Inception DUUURN. I find this curiouslt depressing.
I thought the Skyfall trailer was atrocious, really bad. I find this curiouslt depressing.
And they should have stopped filming until Richard Ayoade was available for Q.
posted by fullerine at 3:58 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or to direct
posted by fullerine at 3:59 AM on August 2, 2012


Sebmojo: "Casino Royale to me seems like a good version of the book wrapped in some forgettable nonsense. And then after that they had no more books so just ran with the nonsense since nobody seemed to care.
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on August 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


Casino Royale seemed to me like a thoroughly excellent opening, a very good rendition of the book (though they should have cut that pointless guff where he gets poisoned) and a silly coda.

Plus - an admirable commitment to testicle whipping.
"

I actually kind of wished they'd been able to adapt more of the books, because that was a lot of the strength of Casino Royale. (If only because having an existing structure may have enabled them to avoid some of the Hollywood committee syndrome.) On the other hand, adherence to the book may have hurt them in the mass market because a lot of what is most iconic of Bond in film is not really in the books, so film-only fans may find the book version to be off. (See also the Basil Rathbone version of Sherlock Holmes vs. the source material.)
posted by Karmakaze at 5:27 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


the all-time best Bond girl

Again, they don't come more iconic than Andress. The one that made the largest impact on me was Corinne Clery - though that may have been a combination of my being 12 and her costume.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:37 AM on August 2, 2012


you use the web with that thing?

You're braver than I thought!
posted by goethean at 5:43 AM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


OK, I just watched "Trailer 2" at the official site and I thought it looked terrific.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:47 AM on August 2, 2012


So I'm lying in bed last night, not so long after making my snarky Living Daylights post, when it suddenly hits me what's been bothering me and keeping me from getting to sleep.

God damn it. He did go to Africa. Morocco, to be precise.

This is what I get for being a smartass.
posted by Naberius at 6:24 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Daniel Craig Says Writer's Strike "Fucked" 'Quantum Of Solace' & He Rewrote Scenes With Marc Forster

Never Say Never Again:
US Box Office
$55,432,841
Overseas Box Office
$160,000,000
Budget
$36,000,000
Not adjusted for inflation.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:11 AM on August 2, 2012


I'm a huge James Bond fan, which is funny since I don't normally go for that genre of movie. I'm rapidly approaching 50 years old, and that might explain some of it. I've read most of the books, and I have the entire series on DVD except Quantum of Solace (which I haven't seen yet). Connery really set the stage for the series, and it couldn't have been as good without him. His balance of camp/cold was perfect, and it allowed the future Bonds to put their mark on the series. Connery was my favorite Bond, and Brosnan was an obvious pick for it, but the whole Remington Steele kerfuffle allowed Dalton in, who was my least favorite. Craig was a reset for the series, and he's closer to the Connery bond, but colder, darker, and perhaps a bit more human.

What really made the older movies was the Cold War. The battle of eastern Europe/Soviet Union with the west. Once that went away, the movies kind of muddled around a bit looking for the tension they needed. Of course I grew up during the whole communism/capitalism , so that's relevant for me.The Daniel Craig era is a nice result of that muddling around, but I just don't like the whole poker thing. Bond is more sophisticated than poker dammit!

I'm not a movie aficionado, so the movies I like best have more to do with visceral and nostalgic reasons than technical ones. First, I like all the Connery ones. Diamonds are Forever I really like for the whole Vegas early era thing. In the Moore era, I'm partial to The Man With the Golden Gun since I saw it in the theater on release. I do like the other Moore movies as well, just slightly less than the Connery era. Lazenby, the initial scene where he says "that wouldn't have happened with the other guy" or whatever when the girl runs away, just turned me off to the movie. He's my least favorite Bond. Dalton is kind of a weenie, and those are the low point of Bond to me. Brosnan was a good Bond, the movies just didn't have the right tension to them. I really like Craig, and I put him up there with Moore and Connery. With Craig they were able to make him relevant to our current times, in spite of the poker.

Of course my opinions are just that, and simply what I like. Nothing to do with how "good" the movies are. Some people like great cinema, with James Bond, I just know what I like.
posted by Eekacat at 7:39 AM on August 2, 2012


Casino Royale (the first one)

US Box Office $22,744,718
Overseas Box Office $160,000,000
Budget $19,000,000
Profitability 962%
posted by eye of newt at 8:24 AM on August 2, 2012


Casino Royale? I couldn't sit through that movie and I was high as fuck.
posted by A god with hooves, a god with horns at 8:27 AM on August 2, 2012


So Thunderball, the dullest, most boring of the Connery Bonds, tops the list? Weird.

Of course, it's been a long time since I've seen it. If anyone wants to make a case for its merits (besides, y'know, the jetpack), I'm all ears.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:36 AM on August 2, 2012


The only thing I didn't like about this is that the one can't really tell if the "adjust for inflation" control is set to Yes or No without clicking it, and even then only after inference.

I'd also love to see the Audience and Tomoato Scores charted.
posted by achrise at 8:41 AM on August 2, 2012


If you have any interest in the Bond franchise at all, you really need to be aware of the recalled commentaries from the original Criterion edition laserdisc releases of the first three films, which are available from, uh... places.

They really are fascinating and, to say the least, present an absolutely unvarnished record of what the people involved really thought and did as those films were made. For example, Lotte Lenya (who played SMERSH operative Rosa Klebb) gets called something like "an absolute pervert," or words to that effect. One can understand why they got recalled. In contrast, the story of actor Pedro Armendáriz, who plays the bureau chief in Istanbul during From Russia with Love, is immensely sad and I'll never be able to watch the film in the same way.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Roger Moore over Daniel Craig? In quantity only, I think. CR is the best Bond film in a really, really long time, not in the least because it's the first one to be a more or less straight adaptation of a Fleming novel since Moore's first outing. QUANTUM was the equal of a week Moore film, certainly, so the jury's still out overall.

Connery is often cited as the best Bond, but he also got to work on the best scripts. All of his outings are essentially straight-line adaptations of Fleming's Bond novels. That stopped in the early 70s. Moore got to use some Fleming titles after that, but the rest of his films (GOLDEN GUN, SPY, MOONRAKER, EYES, OCTOPUSSY, and KILL) were only nominally connected to the source material (I'll concede the point is debatable w/r/t GOLDEN GUN, but after that I'm on solid ground).

After that, Eon Productions was mining an exhausted seam. Dalton and Brosnan got pretty crappy scripts, for the most part. Dalton's films are hodgepodges of repurposed short story titles and sequences from Fleming strung together with Hollywood glue. The "Felix fed to a gator" thing in LICENSE TO KILL is actually lifted from the novel of LIVE AND LET DIE, for example; the apparently egregious "whip the pretty girl" scene in the same film is from a short story called THE HILDEBRAND RARITY.

That said, I enjoyed all the films up to GOLDENEYE. Brosnan's other three films were increasingly ridiculous and hard to watch, Halle Berry notwithstanding, but I've enjoyed GOLDENEYE on cable several times since its release. After being very impressed by CASINO ROYALE and looking it up on IMDB, I figured out something interesting: its director did only one other Bond film, and it was GOLDENEYE. Martin Campbell doesn't have a great resume otherwise, but he seems to "get" Bond.

The mystery to me has ever been why, when they started running out of material, they stayed away from CASINO ROYALE so long. Yes, it had been adapted twice before, for non-canonical, non-Eon films, but the most recent of those was in 1967. Dalton's films are 20 years after that; nobody would've been confused. I'm not SAD about this, because I think the Campbell adaptation is about as good as it could have possibly been, far better than a Dalton or Brosnan (or Moore) version would've been, but it still confuses me. I suspect rights issues.

Finally, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN doesn't count. This is a chart of Eon productions.
posted by uberchet at 9:13 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The oddest take on James Bond and data I've seen.
posted by rikschell at 10:04 AM on August 2, 2012


I am still mad that they put Texas Hold'em in Casino Royale. I expect a certain timelessness from Bond movies, and Texas Hold'em I still look at as a fad. Plus, when I think about Bond I think of a worldly sophistication, and none of that comes to mind when I think of Texas. If Bond must play poker it should be stud poker, because stud.

(Yes, I realize that all of the old Bond movies were products of their time, but if anything survives that long without seeming like utter crap it appears timeless.)
posted by ckape at 10:14 AM on August 2, 2012


I still wonder what Amy Winehouse could have done the James Bond theme she was offered.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:16 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Yes, I realize that all of the old Bond movies were products of their time, but if anything survives that long without seeming like utter crap it appears timeless.)

For the jillionth time, I'm going to suggest that somebody redo the Bond franchise as a Mad Men style period piece. The only downside is that you then compare it to proper Mad Men era Bond.
posted by immlass at 10:54 AM on August 2, 2012


If anyone wants to make a case for [Thunderball's] merits (besides, y'know, the jetpack), I'm all ears.

Massive. Underwater. Scuba. Battle.

Connery is often cited as the best Bond, but he also got to work on the best scripts. All of his outings are essentially straight-line adaptations of Fleming's Bond novels.

Actually there are differences between the books and the movies going back to Dr. No, largely because the movies are out of sequence, and You Only Live Twice is so different from the book that it's a different story. Most of the differences before that are pretty minor, though. (Honey Ryder first appears nude, not in a bikini, in the Dr. No book. Although the bikini worked out OK.)
posted by kirkaracha at 12:59 PM on August 2, 2012


Of course there are, for the reasons you cite as well as simple creative choices. However, the stories for nearly everything before GOLDEN GUN were, more or less, recognizably adapted from Fleming's novels. Not so after that.
posted by uberchet at 1:55 PM on August 2, 2012


Dr No had a fight with a giant squid...
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on August 2, 2012


The mystery to me has ever been why, when they started running out of material, they stayed away from CASINO ROYALE so long. Yes, it had been adapted twice before, for non-canonical, non-Eon films, but the most recent of those was in 1967.

Uh, you need to recognize you can't adapt something without the rights. EON did not have the rights. You may even recall that at one point in the 90s Sony, which had acquired the similarly non-EON-controlled rights to Thunderball*, was floating the idea of doing a competing Bond series. Fortunately a series of business dominoes fell the right way and that didn't happen, and that self-same dealing meant that the CR rights were, for the first time in basically ever, in the hands of EON. For various reasons they were exploring another series reboot and the stars aligned.

Anyway, I disagree with your assessment that they were "running out of material"; Fleming isn't the be-all and end-all of Bond, surprising as a take that may be. Most of the hodge-podge inclusions were due to Richard Maibaum being a pretty loyal fan as well as the key screenwriter for most of the series' later history. But the movies hadn't been faithful replicas of the books since the 1960s -- the movie formula had been practically set in concrete and the quality of individual entries varies significantly, rather than declining along a straight line. Moore had The Spy Who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only as well as duds like Moonraker, for example, and they successfully rebooted the series with Brosnan.

So Thunderball, the dullest, most boring of the Connery Bonds, tops the list? Weird.

It was just peak Bond, as far as theater goers were concerned. Little to do with quality or historical look-back (heck, they had no idea then they'd get to 23 and up), just the way the movie business worked. Bigger budgets, snappier one-liners, sexier bikinis = box office. This was the era of the blockbuster, meaning, movies where the line stretched out around the block and back to the theater again.

I actually kind of wished they'd been able to adapt more of the books

Trust me, they ran out of books long before they ran out of titles.

Thunderball is not a bad James Bond movie, but it's riding on the success of the ones that came before it. In a way, it's the first of the series that hits all of the key formula points

This is because it was in fact a movie before there was a movie series. It wasn't produced at the time, but Fleming sat down with some folks and worked out a new 007 story that would be suitable for the big screen. When i went nowhere, Fleming adapted the screenplay into a book. Ultimately EON was able to bring Dr. No out, and then they teamed up with the Thunderball creators and in many ways it is the apotheosis of what a Bond movie should be. Today, that makes it seem too familiar, as with people complaining that Bullitt is just a series of car-chase clichés.

I'm always surprised to find that Casino Royale is, for the most part, a movie made by a bunch of Bond veterans behind the camera (and in the script).

Well, you do understand that unlike a lot of movie series, the Bond films are essentially a family business, correct? Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are the children of Cubby Broccoli, who started it all with Dr. No. The crew very typically -- when MGM dollars aren't being complete cocks -- starts pre-production work on the next film as soon as they wrap the last one. One of the few changes from this pattern has been hiring "name" directors since Goldeneye.
posted by dhartung at 1:12 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "Felix fed to a [shark]" thing in LICENSE TO KILL is actually lifted from the novel of LIVE AND LET DIE, for example


Which led to my favorite weird moment in the whole Bond universe.

Around 1980, Glidrose, which held the literary rights to Bond, got tired of watching EON making all that money off Bond while all they had were a bunch of old books, so they hired British thriller writer John Gardner to write new Bond novels. These were separate from the films and either Glidrose or Gardner himself made the decision to maintain continuity with the original Fleming novels. Gardner would eventually write 13 Bond novels.

This worked fine until Glidrose and EON cut a deal for a novelization of License to Kill, which was written by Gardner. This brought the two worlds together rather messily because, as noted, in the novel continuity, Felix had already been fed to a shark back in Live and Let Die and had been walking around with a couple prosthetic limbs ever since. (In the novels this is the end of his career with the CIA and he becomes a private detective with the Pinkerton Agency, though the CIA does end up calling him back for a couple adventures.)

So Gardner ended up writing a chapter where Bond finds Leiter mauled by a shark again, reflects on the strangeness of something that unlikely happening twice to the same guy, and notes thankfully that the second shark hadn't really done that much damage to poor Felix beyond messing up the prosthetics he got thanks to the first shark. It was a really embarrassing, "yes, yes, I know, let's just get it over with and move on with the story, okay?" moment.
posted by Naberius at 6:40 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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