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"You carry a 00 number, it means you have License to kill, not GET killed!"
July 6, 2010 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Is James Bond past his sell-by date? What’s the difference between ’suspended indefinitely’ and officially dead? When it comes to James Bond and the planned twenty-third movie featuring the character, it can be difficult to tell. We’ve known for months that EON Productions had suspended development on the film thanks to MGM’s financial troubles, but now there’s a report circulating that the film is officially dead. But is it really?

"UK's Mirror confirms: "Members of the production crew have been told the Bond film has been canned. There is a lot of bad feeling as a lot of time, money and hard work has already gone into this." The studio is said to be in a financial crisis, with $3.7 billion in debt, but will proceed with The Hobbit, which is still underway."
posted by Fizz (80 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
James Bond will Return...
posted by djrock3k at 7:45 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are they going on with The Hobbit? I read on the AVClub that Sir Ian is getting tired of waiting for the production to get rolling. If MGM is having money troubles, they might have a bit of trouble going forward.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:47 PM on July 6, 2010


A character whose main hook (cold war stuff, sexism, big bulky gadgets) is about 40 years old? Past his expiration date? Naaaah.
posted by Melismata at 7:49 PM on July 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


It's all right. It's quite all right, really. She's having a rest. We'll be going on soon. There's no hurry, you see. We have all the time in the world.
posted by mazola at 7:50 PM on July 6, 2010 [28 favorites]


I hope it happens. I will pay to watch a Bond film by Sam Mendes.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 7:50 PM on July 6, 2010


Maybe it's mostly dead, in which case I can go through Daniel Craig's clothes and look for loose change.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:51 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Preferably while Daniel Craig is still in them, natch.]
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:51 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


A character whose main hook (cold war stuff, sexism, big bulky gadgets) is about 40 years old? Past his expiration date?

I might have bought that before the Daniel Craig era.
posted by smackfu at 7:52 PM on July 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


I may have bought that hook before we found a bunch of Russian spies in the US this year.
posted by mikeh at 7:55 PM on July 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


(cold war stuff, sexism, big bulky gadgets)

As far as today's world stands: 2 out of 3 isn't bad.
posted by Fizz at 7:57 PM on July 6, 2010


Never Say Never Again... You Only Die Twice...
posted by Some1 at 7:58 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last time Bond was "dead" it was because he was to be replaced by extreme sports doing Vin Deisel type spies... I think it's safe to say that he will, indeed, return.
posted by Artw at 8:02 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by fyrebelley at 8:06 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bond died the first time he was polite to a woman.

But seriously ... there are still spy flicks, I was conned into seeing "Knight and Day" which is just a bond flick where the use of gadgets is replaced by logic-defying stunts.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:10 PM on July 6, 2010


Is James Bond past his sell-by date?

James Bond (along with his many copycats) was done to death long before I was born. And, yet, somehow, the same damn movie continues to be made several times a year. It boggles the mind.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:10 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


What's with studios and financial woes? I ran across this head-scratcher today at Reddit about how Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has made close to a billion dollars...but is $167 million in the hole.
posted by zardoz at 8:18 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


"So, Mr. Bond, it seems you've finally met your match. One stroke of my pen and your film series will be finished forever.

However, before your demise, its only fitting that I explain precisely what I have planned for the future of MGM..."
posted by condour75 at 8:18 PM on July 6, 2010 [29 favorites]


Ornithologist from Bermuda.
posted by ovvl at 8:23 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the plot followed James Bond from Lhasa, to Guangzhou, to Shanghai, and finally to Beijing, as he aided in the cause of...Chinese democracy.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:30 PM on July 6, 2010


"Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"
posted by KingEdRa at 8:34 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Never Say Never Again... You Only Die Twice...

Coltanfinger?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:35 PM on July 6, 2010


The only reason why the project may die, is because James Bond is very much alive. Were its right to the Bond franchise not among its crown jewels, MGM would sell them to another studio in a second, which would keep it on its original schedule. Being as those rights are crown jewels, MGM can't let them go and hope to complete its sale / financial restructuring with anywhere like the same success. The project might slip by a year or two, but it'll be back. Although maybe ruined by 3D :(
posted by MattD at 8:38 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I don't get is why Quantum of Solace was so awful. It seemed like such a slam-dunk coming off Casino Royale, but somehow they managed to mess it up. I have been watching the old bond films on TV (I guess the broadcast rights are being flogged off cheap now), and even the bad ones have a goofy charm. I walked out of the theatre after QoS vowing never to pay for another James Bond film again.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:39 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whereas I will pay to watch Sam Mendes thrown out of an airplane by James Bond.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:40 PM on July 6, 2010


*wilhelm scream
posted by fleetmouse at 8:41 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I ran across this head-scratcher today at Reddit about how Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has made close to a billion dollars...but is $167 million in the hole.

It's the magic(al accounting) of Hollywood!
posted by MikeMc at 8:41 PM on July 6, 2010


Well, maybe if they wrote that character into a movie that was not utter shite for once- then perhaps things would be different.
posted by the noob at 8:42 PM on July 6, 2010


What's with studios and financial woes? I ran across this head-scratcher today at Reddit about how Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has made close to a billion dollars...but is $167 million in the hole.

I file that under Hollywood accounting.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:44 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


> > (cold war stuff, sexism, big bulky gadgets)

> As far as today's world stands: 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

You're talking about the iPad, aren't you?
posted by Chuckles at 8:49 PM on July 6, 2010


fleetmouse, I love you.
posted by PsychoTherapist at 8:52 PM on July 6, 2010


May his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one.
posted by unliteral at 9:09 PM on July 6, 2010


Casino Royale - in addition to its other pleasures - had what I think is a strong candidate for the Single Most Obtrusive Product Placement in Film History.

Bond Girl: What brand of watch do you wear?

Bond: Omega.

posted by Joe Beese at 9:09 PM on July 6, 2010


What I don't get is why Quantum of Solace was so awful.

Well, Casino Royale had a great core to it, esentially all the bits that came from the book, but had a whole bunch of tacked on crap as well. QoS looked like it was entirely tacked on crap.
posted by Artw at 9:10 PM on July 6, 2010


the planned twenty-third movie featuring the character

"Bond. Gold Bond."
posted by Ratio at 9:10 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


As long as they don't cancel the goldeneye remake for the wii, meh.
posted by scodger at 9:26 PM on July 6, 2010


Oh, many more Bond movies, good movies, could be made. James Bond is more of an archetype than an actual character, equal parts warrior, trickster, and Lothario, so that won't run out. His character rarely changes, though the Craig run tried to give us a sense of where he might have originated. Bond movies aren't about James Bond specifically so much as they are about the Bond setup, no component of which is dated:

International intrigue: still going strong
Spies: relevant as long as humans exist
Gadgets: how about those Droid sales?
Megalomaniacs: we hardly have a shortage of them, though rarely so grandiose

The Bond movie problem is that the franchise has coasted for so long on a sure thing nobody has cared to develop it as any kind of artistic asset. Bond flirts mercilessly. Bond has a spectacular outdoor chase or escape scene. Bond dispatches henchmen. Bond foils overconfident supervillain. Bond gets laid. That's the key to the success of Austin Powers, Bond has become so utterly predictable. The Fleming Formula is so obvious, though, that the temptation is to fill in the blanks, get a couple of writers to throw in some punchy lines, then it's on to budget and casting.

The best thing that could happen to the Bond property is that MGM falls apart and some unknowns snap up the property in a fire sale. They a five picture deal, sign some unknowns, develop the movies as a package, rather than as a set of interchangeable episodes which could be in nearly any order. Small budget, crank out of the films with no more than two years between them. Throwing writers at it who wouldn't be afraid to broaden the formula a bit and play around, while still maintaining form and a little respect, could keep it alive. You'd need an oddball writing team, with some outsider script doctors and some folks with long-term vision, like Straczynski, but it could be done. Let Whedon work up the dialogue and some surprises (not tweests), and if he didn't try to go too meta or Handicapper General, he'd play pretty well to making a memorable set of films.

It could work, but not in the hands of MGM.
posted by adipocere at 9:26 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Something will surely come up.
posted by PHINC at 9:34 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's mostly dead, in which case I can go through Daniel Craig's clothes and look for loose change.

I do not think "mostly dead" means what you think it means.
posted by Hicksu at 9:38 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a huge Bond fan, to the point where a couple of years ago my husband and I watched the entire series of films. Alternating with other things on our Netflix queue, it took us the better part of a year. I'm meh on Craig as Bond. He's smokin' hot, but to be honest CR had some very serious flaws and QoS was ooooookay in the not-as-bad-as-feared way after some of the problems I had with CR. I'll be sad if the indefinite suspension ages him out of the role before either MGM has to sell the rights or MGM is sold and production resumed.

But my real fantasy for a reboot of James Bond is, honestly, a Mad Men style period piece. Sure, Bond's a Cold War relic and he's had trouble making sense since the late 70s. If that's the problem, run with it, and set him back in the 1960s. Mad Men proved it can be done. I can imagine a James Bond film done in that style, and it's more exciting to me than another modern-day Craig Bond no matter who's in charge on the creative side.
posted by immlass at 9:54 PM on July 6, 2010 [16 favorites]


This makes me really sad; the new Bond movies are the only ones I can stomach. Bond actually suffers real emotional trauma from womanizing and being screwed over by female spies; that small change simultaneously made him more sympathetic to me AND made the series less nauseating to watch. Now that the women in the movies are more realistic they're gonna scrap a Bond movie for The Hobbit, of all things? I get that they expect Tolkien to bring in the money but compared to Bond...? Did anyone even like that book?

The only thing that sucks about the new Bond movies are the songs, and I was determined to hold out hope. I really loved "Diamonds are Forever," "Goldeneye," "A View to a Kill," and "The World is Not Enough," but I couldn't even tell you who sings the new songs because they're all so unmemorable. I assume the songs are named after the movies, but I don't even know that.

A new Bond movie would make a hundred zillion dollars if it had a decent song in the trailers, Itelluwut.
posted by Nattie at 10:03 PM on July 6, 2010


I'm a great admirer of the books and so far no film has camptured the interior monologue of Bond. He's a weary individual, often plagued by self-doubt, but who tries to control his life by having an opinion about everything.

The stories, and try reading them in order, portray a man constantly being pushed to the limits and what that does to him. The film chases and the gadgetsoften distract from the storytelling.

I like Craig, he has that complete bastard quality. There were a lot of good things about QoS, they way in followed on from the end of Casino Royale, the setting up of Quantum - today's SMERSH, and Bond often works best against an organization, hovering in the background.

However, Bond is also an investigator, we need to see that side also.
posted by quarsan at 10:04 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


OK, so they're $3.7 billion in debt. They've got a half-done movie. Why is it that going to $3.8 billion and finishing a movie that will most likely get you to $3.6 billion a bad idea, and throwing away the money you've spent on the movie and having fewer money-making products out there a good idea?
posted by Evilspork at 10:13 PM on July 6, 2010


A shame considering Damon and Greengrass are no longer affiliated with the Bourne series and apparently no one can get a script written for the prequel. Where am I going to get my spy fill now?
posted by cloax at 10:14 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


i'm with immlass on this one. bond needs a reboot back to the cold war. for that matter, they should use the original written stories; there's actually an interesting character arc as bond grows from a young hotshot into disillusioned veteran, with his wife getting killed along the way.

the books were also a great early example of lifestyle fiction, where bond's tastes and style choices drive the series as much as the plot and intrigue. we all know "shaken, not stirred", but the novels had many other such details (bond's shirts came from a particular tailor, his cigarettes were an elite brand, he loved his bentley, etc). this would dovetail nicely with a true period piece ala mad men.

i'll never understand why they didn't film the bond novels by kingsley amis(!) and john gardner.
posted by bruceo at 11:04 PM on July 6, 2010


I realised that I've been watching a brilliant five-series James Bond TV drama for the past couple of weeks.

Of course it's not called a Bond franchise, but it is, really. The most interesting character's believably cold-blooded yet code-bound, he has non-gratuitous sex scenes with attractive partners, engages in well-shot scenes of glamorous violence that yet don't strain suspension of disbelief, has memorable but not corny catchphrases, has "signature" weapons and branded consumer habits, meets slightly bizarre and interesting people (and teams up with them to defeat greater villains), and has a habit of using his own name for effect in dialogue.

Omar Little is a better James Bond than James Bond.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 1:03 AM on July 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree with MattD - it's all tied up in the sale of MGM.

Bond as a franchise is worth too much for someone to let it die. Casino Royale re-booted it, Craig is excellent, but QofS was a total disappointment. They need to keep Craig, get in someone who really loves it to re-think what the series is all about (not a big chase) and make some films that stand up artistically.

On no account let Quentin Tarantino anywhere near it.
posted by DanCall at 1:15 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bond was a character that people in his era could identify with:

Think about how that works in the post war era. The office dwelling accountant/lawyer/ad man/salesman has an expense account. This covers some lunches at counters with clients , or maybe a few nice dinners. He flirts with the secretaries and receptionists and sometimes sleeps with them. He travels on business, perhaps from his suburb into Chicago, or from Chicago to Cleveland, or San Francisco to LA. His office issues him a dictaphone (he can't type) or perhaps a rolling display case for his wares. He has a work car, maybe an Oldsmobile 88 if he's lucky, or a Ford Falcon if he's not. He's working his way up to the top, but isn't quite ready for a management slot. He wears a suit, tie and hat every day to the office. If he's doing well he buys this downtown at a specialty men's store. If he's merely average, he picks this up at Macy's, or Sears if he's really just a regular joe. If he gets sick his employer has a nice PPO insurance plan for him.


Now look at Bond. He has an expense account, which covers extravagant dinners and breakfasts at the finest 4 star hotels and restaurants. He travels on business, to exotic places like Istanbul, Tokyo and Paris. He takes advantage of the sexual revolution (while continuing to serve his imperialist/nationalist masters) by sleeping with random women in foreign locations. He gets issued cool stuff by the office-- instead of a big dictaphone that he keeps on his desk, Bond has a tiny dictaphone that he carries around with him in his pocket! He has a work car -- but it's an Aston Martin with machine guns! He's a star, with a license to kill, but not management. Management would be boring anyways, they stay in London while Bond gets to go abroad and sleep with beautiful women. Bond always wears a suit, but they're custom tailored of the finest materials. If he gets hurt, he has some Royal Navy doctors to fix him right up.

In today's world, that organization man who looked up to James Bond as a kind of avatar of his hopes and dreams, no longer exists.

Who is our generations James Bond? Jason Bourne. He can't trust his employer, who demanded ultimate loyalty and gave nothing in return. In fact, his employer is outsourcing his work to a bunch of foreign contractors who presumably work for less and ask fewer questions. He's given up his defined benefit pension (Bourne had a military one) for an individual retirement account (safe deposit box with gold/leeching off the gf in a country with a depressed currency). In fact his employer is going to use him up until he's useless. He can't trust anyone, other than a few friends he's made on the way while backpacking around. Medical care? Well that's DIY with stolen stuff, or he gets his friends to hook him up. What kinds of cars does he have? Well no more company car for sure, he's on his own on that, probably some kind of import job. What about work tools? Bourne is on is own there too. Sure, work initially issued him a weapon, but after that he's got to scrounge up whatever discount stuff he can find, even when it's an antique. He has to do more with less. And finally, Bourne survives as a result of his high priced, specialized education. He can do things few people can do -- fight multiple opponents, hotwire a car, tell which guy in a restaurant can handle himself, hotwire cars, speak multiple languages and duck a surveillance tail. Oh, and like the modern, (sub)urban professional, Bourne had to mortgage his entire future to get that education. They took everything he had, and promised that if he gave himself up to the System, in return the System would take care of him.

It turned out to be a lie.

We're all Jason Bourne now.
posted by wuwei at 1:27 AM on July 7, 2010 [344 favorites]


Clearly the way forward is to make Jame Bond a moody sexually frustrated emo vampire who is taking classes at a magic academy and is participating in in said academy's glee club which specializes in 80's covers.
posted by srboisvert at 3:19 AM on July 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wuwei, comments like yours are why I love MetaFilter.
posted by Shepherd at 3:32 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clearly Bourne's ability to hotwire cars is very important, wuwei, but don't forget that he is also good at hacking cellphones, too. (I kid only because that is the most awesome comparison of the two movie franchises, ever, and an amazing analogy to the contemporaneous worlds during which they were made. You could write a PhD thesis out of it!)
posted by autopilot at 3:37 AM on July 7, 2010


Here's an idea for reviving the franchise: redo them in book order. Make them take place in the year they were written. Make Smersh the bad guys again, where applicable. (Cubby used SPECTRE so as not to hurt international sales, but I doubt anyone would care now)

I know they'll never do it, but think of the production design! And On Her Majesty's Secret Service especially deserves a remake with a decent actor in the role.
posted by condour75 at 3:50 AM on July 7, 2010


IMHO Bond died over 20 years ago when, in the UK, they stopped showing them on Christmas day afternoon right after the Queen's speech.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:15 AM on July 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


To borrow an idea from the Nerdist podcast, if want to do anything with James Bond, make him a Time Lord. It explains all of the different actors playing the role.
posted by drezdn at 5:02 AM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or... what imlass said.
posted by condour75 at 5:24 AM on July 7, 2010


What I don't get is why Quantum of Solace was so awful. It seemed like such a slam-dunk coming off Casino Royale, but somehow they managed to mess it up.

The producer thought of the plot of QoS, while a questionably different director was chosen and more screenwriters were used on it.

QoS lacked the tight focus of CR, which was about Bond, while the latter film had a very important message, and just a few bits about Bonds character.
posted by new brand day at 5:57 AM on July 7, 2010


I've always wanted a Felix Lighter series, where he's played by a different star in each movie. That could help pass the time between Bond flicks!
posted by kimota at 6:25 AM on July 7, 2010


Jason Bourne is boring as fuck.
posted by Artw at 6:29 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's funny how Bourne is the "modern James Bond" when Robert Ludlum wrote the Bourne Identity 30 years ago in 1980.

OTOH, apparently the 2nd and 3rd movies have nothing to do with the books of the same name.
posted by smackfu at 6:34 AM on July 7, 2010


The Fleming Formula is so obvious, though, that the temptation is to fill in the blanks, get a couple of writers to throw in some punchy lines, then it's on to budget and casting.

And this happened almost immediately (well, almost immediately after Bond became a phenomenon and a cash cow, which really happened with Goldfinger). Just two films later, when Roald Dahl (!!) was hired to write You Only Live Twice, he talked about being given a very precise formula. He just had to fill in the first girl, who dies, preferably in Bond's arms, the second girl, some gadgets and some action set pieces.
posted by Naberius at 6:51 AM on July 7, 2010


.


posted by liza at 7:09 AM on July 7, 2010


bond needs a reboot back to the cold war.

I am so down with this.

Actually now that I think of it, the key to a successful Bond movie seems to be increasingly dramatic ridiculousness played with a straight face. No winking. no nudging. But yes huge death machines and plots to Take Over The World and plots that hinge on big dramatic set pieces. If you pretty much follow that you'll be on the right track.

wasn't there a rumor back when Mendes took over the series of a Bond Boy in the mix? It could be my selfish, selfish gonads talking but the idea appeals from a pure spying standpoint if Bond is supposed to able to seduce anyone
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 AM on July 7, 2010


The only problem with Bond is when they attempt to change the character into anything he wasn't meant to be. Intriguing story, fancy gadgets, fantastic locations, etc. Until we achieve world peace, there will always be those things in which to set another Bond movie. My favorite thing about the Bond movies is the sheer endurance of Bond. The movies are all about him getting his ass kicked over and over again, and he still powers through to achieve his goal.

Yeah, there is some sexism, but my interpretation was always that it was done with a bit of a wink. Sure, he enjoyed swatting an ass and saying "run along honey, man talk" sorts of things, but in the end, he knew that the various people he ran into were integral to his mission, male and female alike. Just as he might enjoy a nice cognac and cigar with a male character, he enjoys a glass of champagne and a roll in the hay with female characters.

For every female character that swooned for his antics, there was at least one other who called him out on it.

And I think it is notable that knowingly or unknowingly, whenever he accidentally gets a female killed, that female was either trying to kill him, or he is hurt by the killing and it redoubles his efforts to dethrone the mastermind.

And finally, in nearly every movie (as I remember it), the female characters are integral to his remaining alive and completing his mission. Every time he says "stay on the yacht, honey, it's dangerous out here," the character doesn't and saves his ass.

The Bond message is far less sexist than "fancy man uses women and discards them".
posted by gjc at 7:18 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loved the Bond movies as a kid. My whole family did. We would watch them incessantly, taped from HBO or even the (bleah) televised versions. Even the crappier ones...I count "A View to a Kill" as one of my favorite so-bad-it's-good movies ever. But I gave up seeing them in the theater after "The World is Not Enough"...and gave up even Netflixing them after "Casino Royale."

But my real fantasy for a reboot of James Bond is, honestly, a Mad Men style period piece.

YES! A million times, yes. OMG, just think of the costuming possibilities. And wouldn't Christina Hendricks make an amazing Bond girl???
posted by JoanArkham at 7:21 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


EON Productions: How did it die?
MGM: Your 23rd movie? Not well.
EON Productions: Made you feel it, did it? Well, you needn't worry. The second is...
[MGM shoots EON Productions]
MGM: Yes... considerably.
posted by codswallop at 7:35 AM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought it was hilarious, in retrospect, when Bond tried to get trendy in the past and we ended up with the Star Wars Bond... though Blaxploitation Bond fucking rocked.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:37 AM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there is some sexism, but my interpretation was always that it was done with a bit of a wink.

This is true in later films, but there's stuff in the films made in the 1960s that made me cringe horribly. In particular, there's a bit in Thunderball where Bond is at a health spa and someone tries to kill him by locking him into a hot box of some sort while the nurse/therapist is away. When he gets out of the deathtrap and the woman comes back, Bond coerces her into sex with the threat of reporting the incident to her superiors. There was no wink or nudge there, either.

The R word is strong, but that was how I felt about it, watching it and identifying with, not Bond as the viewer is supposed to, but the female character he was coercing. It was the single most uncomfortable moment I've ever had as a Bond fan. This is part of why I think Bond is better as a period piece; this is part of his nature. I'd rather address it as it is than try to work around it in modern clothes. Jason Bourne, whose movies I also really adore (and own two of, despite almost never buying DVDs) is much better as a modern spy, for the reasons wuwei expressed so well.
posted by immlass at 7:53 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's about time. I never did see a Bond movie I enjoyed. Good riddance, the stench of your long-expired goods has been lingering for far too long.
posted by Malice at 8:56 AM on July 7, 2010


The Incredibles is the best Bond movie since Connery.
posted by Trochanter at 9:09 AM on July 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, Malice, when was the last time you were forced to watch a Bond movie against your will?
posted by spaltavian at 9:55 AM on July 7, 2010


I think Bond could still be relevant, but it'd take some interesting writing to make it work. I like the Mad Men styled reboot suggested above, but I'd also love to see a Bond film from the perspective of the "bad-guy". Where, because the villain is the focal character, you naturally sort-of gravitate to him being the protagonist, just a guy trying to get his team to finish that pesky particle-beam (death ray) for that lunar excavation (blowing up the moon) while dealing with all the problems of setting up an new office (volcanic lair) and the whole time there is the boogyman (Bond) in the background, sleeping with his girlfriend and his chief scientist, and generally ruining every plan.

It'd be too easy to turn that into a Dr. Evil ripoff though, so maybe not.
posted by quin at 10:11 AM on July 7, 2010


What blew me away watching one of those Bond movies last weekend was the fact that George Lasenby, (the second Bond), married Pam Shriver. Bizzare.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:20 AM on July 7, 2010


James Bond is more of an archetype than an actual character... His character rarely changes, though the Craig run tried to give us a sense of where he might have originated. Bond movies aren't about James Bond specifically so much as they are about the Bond setup, no component of which is dated.

And that's EXACTLY where the franchise went wrong by casting Craig -- in fact where the franchise goes wrong: By marrying any one performer to the role. The way things have evolved during just the past 10 years, we ought to all be watching Spy vs. Spy .

Rather than see the same actor in the same titular role every 2 to 3 years, 'James Bond' ought to be a rotating title, like 'Head Executioner' or 'Attorney General'. This year he should be played by a small man of Asian descent, next year by a brown-skinned woman. Bond is a type and at this point, the type should resemble any and every audience member, not just white men.

Since they've run out of books and folks like Angelia Jolie can make 'Salt' (and Tom Cruise can make 'MI:4') we're long past the old James Bond model; MGM just needs to wake the hell up and see the bacon and eggs sitting there on the table.

The Bond movie problem is that the franchise has coasted for so long on a sure thing nobody has cared to develop it as any kind of artistic asset.

Exactly. What if someone actually had to THINK about what goes into making a Bond? This white guy stuff is cookie-cutter bland.

The best thing that could happen to the Bond property is that MGM falls apart and some unknowns snap up the property in a fire sale. They a five picture deal, sign some unknowns, develop the movies as a package, rather than as a set of interchangeable episodes which could be in nearly any order. Small budget, crank out of the films with no more than two years between them. Throwing writers at it who wouldn't be afraid to broaden the formula

Hear, hear!
posted by vhsiv at 11:47 AM on July 7, 2010


The Bond message is far less sexist than "fancy man uses women and discards them".

Exactly. It's not that he wants to be sexist. He has to. I think Tom Jones put it best in Thunderball...
He knows the meaning of success.
His needs are more, so he gives less.
They call him the winner who takes all.
And he strikes, like Thunderball.

Any woman he wants, he'll get.
He will break any heart without regret.
His days of asking are all gone.
His fight goes on and on and on.
See? It's not the R-word. His days of asking are just all gone.
posted by umberto at 3:05 PM on July 7, 2010


"If that's the problem, run with it, and set him back in the 1960s. Mad Men proved it can be done. I can imagine a James Bond film done in that style, and it's more exciting to me than another modern-day Craig Bond no matter who's in charge on the creative side."

They'd have to let go of the money train of product placement; can't see that happening with out a serious shake up.
posted by Mitheral at 8:16 AM on July 8, 2010


They'd have to let go of the money train of product placement; can't see that happening with out a serious shake up.

While I see the problems from a financial angle, as a viewer I consider this a plus. The product placement has gotten very obtrusive, as noted upthread.
posted by immlass at 9:34 AM on July 8, 2010


They could do a James Bond movie set in the '60s and have product placement the same way they had product placement in the movies they filmed in the '60s. Smirnoff, for example, has been prominently featured in Bond films since Dr. No.

Rather than see the same actor in the same titular role every 2 to 3 years, 'James Bond' ought to be a rotating title, like 'Head Executioner' or 'Attorney General'

"Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. He took me to his cabin and he told me his secret. 'I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts' he said. 'My name is Ryan; I inherited the ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from is not the real Dread Pirate Roberts either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired 15 years and living like a king in Patagonia.' "

Since they've run out of books

They've run out of book titles. (And almost all of the short story titles.) The plots of the movies diverged from the book's as the film series went on. The Spy Who Loved Me is completely different than the movie. Even when the books' plots are similar to the movies' they're less gadgety and the villains' plots are much less over the top.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:27 AM on July 8, 2010


The book of Dr. No did have a giant squid though.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on July 8, 2010


Is James Bond past his sell-by date?

That's a very disingenuous way to link to that article, which says the delay will be good for the franchise - keeping anticipation up.

I'm sort of disappointed that QOS is considered an artistic failure, when it most certainly is the most auteur-driven film of the series and looks absolutely gorgeous. I could take issue with the plotting, but I have always felt like it was such a perfect follow up to Casino Royale, that any issue with incompleteness for me comes with it being the second chapter of a duology.

Also, both films made in excess of $550 million worldwide and QOS ended up surpassing CR's take in North America. So I hardly think the franchise is past its sell-by date. I'd ease up on the every-two-years thing, every 3 years would be better.

I'm disappointed this has come down to money, though. The Craig films re-energised the series and they are both influenced by and sufficiently different from the Bourne trilogy to keep my interest. I'd hate to see this drag out for as long 6 years - like the early 90s between Licence to Kill and Goldeneye. That called for a kind of reboot, whereas I don't think the franchise needs another new actor quite so soon after it found the perfect guy.
posted by crossoverman at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2010


I'd like to see a Bond film made which attempted to be something like the book Bond - lurching from vodka to vodka in a miasma of self-loathing, rather than simply becoming more and more like every other action hero.

Just me then? I'll see myself out...
posted by pompomtom at 6:11 PM on July 8, 2010


I'd like to see a Bond film made which attempted to be something like the book Bond - lurching from vodka to vodka in a miasma of self-loathing, rather than simply becoming more and more like every other action hero.

This is what I liked so much about the Casino Royale Bond played by Craig. That movie struck a perfect balance between being a Classical Bond Movie and something that was relevant as a post-Bourne spy-thriller.

I don't hate QoS, but I think it failed to strike the proper balance, and I'm a little disappointed that they're not doing the third one.

I always thought that the next one should have Bond really bottom out. Like have him cause (unintentionally) the death of M at the beginning of the movie or something. And then have him take 1000% of the blame for this and he spends the rest of the movie going after the people who really did do it, etc, etc. Alienate him completely from everyone, and kill off the one person who trusts him at all. And have him have to really change as a character to get it all back.

Could be good! (but maybe not)
posted by sparkletone at 10:07 AM on July 10, 2010


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