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Author Topic: New James Bond  (Read 21850 times)
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davidelliott
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« on: November 09, 2006, 10:27:24 AM »

Gotta do this.... Casino Royale opens this month and it's the first 007 movie in 21 years I'm not gonna see.  Anyone else turned off?

I've been waiting YEARS for Casino Royale and now that they're making the film (made it) it's a mistake.
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 12:30:01 PM »

I haven't actually  seen a Bond film in about ten years, but the latest effort interests me even less than the others... Am I the only person around whose favourite Bond is Timothy Dalton?
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2006, 03:26:09 PM »

I feel the opposite way.  I walked out of "Die Another Day" vowing that I'd finally had enough.  If they did one more movie that remotely resembled that one or "The World Is Not Enough," EON would be missing out on my business for the first time since 1977.  And you're talking to a guy who put his blood, sweat and tears into a Bond fan site for 10 years (Archived articles still available at www.ianfleming.org ....end of plug! Wink )

I think the producers are gutsy to try and reinvent the franchise when it would have been all too easy to keep cranking out by-the-numbers Bond films into eternity and keep making money no matter how bad the product.  I'm also very intrigued by the possibility that we might finally see on the screen an approximation of James Bond as Ian Fleming actually wrote him.  But I have to confess I miss the days when Bond's image was that of the suave, sophisticated adventurer and not the brutish thug Craig looks like (and Fleming wrote about).  If this film succeeds, it will be by designing a whole new "Bond formula" to replace the old one, and that's a pretty tall order.  Are they up to it?  Well, we'll find out soon enough.

So I guess the answer to your quesion is, no I'm not turned off.  I'm probably more interested in this film than I have been in any Bond since The Living Daylights.  But whereas my excitement used to come from the anticipation of getting something I'd been waiting for (like a favorite meal, I already knew how a Bond film would "taste" before it was served), now the excitement lies in the mystery of the thing; will it work, will it not?  Sort of like watching a high-wire act; part of the excitement comes from the very real possibility the performer will crash to the earth.

It's about time they took some chances.

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davidelliott
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 07:02:39 PM »

Timothy Dalton was awesome...

I wrote that late last night... here's why I'm turned off...

I've read the Fleming novels several times, as well as the Gardner and Bensons (and the Amis one, too).  From what I have read about this movie, this is not Fleming's Bond.  Not in looks, not in actions, not in anything.  I admit Brosnan was not my favorite 007, but I wish he was in this one.  The could have CGI'ed Connery (first Bond and all that)

Craig, as mentioned, looks NOTHING like James Bond... yeah, I know, blonde hair is obviously wrong, but are we supposed to believe that this is the same character that was played by Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan?  All with their very good looks (007 in the novels looked a bit like Hoagy Carmichael and Fleming also saw men like Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant playing Bond... all ordinary and hansome men)... Craig doesn't come close.  I saw the commercial for the movie the other night on TV and I kept thinking that he was the bad guy, till someone called him "Mr Bond"...

Daniel Craig also has said that he has no regard or respect for the source material and no respect for fans.  He's foul mouthed and crude... THAT'S a big turn off for me...

And this is supposed to show how Bond became a Double-Oh... set in the present??  Judi Densch is M?  She replaced Miles Messervy in GoldenEye, so if this were an "origin story", Sir Miles should be M, shouldn't he? Felix Leiter, who was described as a tall lanky Texan with a mop of hair like straw and always seemed upbeat and likeable now looks like Geoffrey the butler from Fresh Prince with a dour look on his face, from the pics I have seen of him from the film.

Of course, this could be a reboot.  A new Bond series from the old.  Yeah, that means that THIS Bond never went into space in Moonraker and didn't blow up Karamanga in LALD and other absurdities "didn't happen" to this 007, but then again, he was never married, never went up against Goldfinger, SMERSH, SPECTRE (okay... Blofeld), Dr No and others.

I know most folks go to a Bond film looking for the girls, car chases and Bond to say his name or order a vodka martini, but there are folks like me (and Nightwing) who are BOND fans.  I, however, like chances that "fit".  Living Daylights, Eyes Only, OHMSS and a couple of others were AWESOME movies in which Cubby Broccoli took chances... but he did it respecting the fans and the franchise.  His heirs are taking the chance of CR by DITCHING the fans and franchise.

In a nutshell... not gonna see it.
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 08:59:18 PM »

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I've read the Fleming novels several times, as well as the Gardner and Bensons (and the Amis one, too).  From what I have read about this movie, this is not Fleming's Bond.

Well, yes and no.

First of all, none of the movie Bonds have been in the Fleming mold, in my opinion.  All the actors so far have been handsome, suave, charming and witty, for one thing.  Fleming's Bond was described as looking like Hoagy Carmichael (ick!) only with a scar on his cheek, which wouldn't help much!  He has almost no sense of humor, no appreciation of culture (he likes his brand name clothes and watches, but that's not culture.  Fleming's Bond is not a fan of art, literature or music) and he falls for pretty much every woman he shares a mission with, though on some occasions they reject him (as opposed to movie Bond, who beds whomever he likes and has feelings for almost none of them).

Fleming's Bond is pretty thuggish and indeed sees himself as not much more than a "blunt instrument" to do his country's dirty work.  In that sense, Craig seems to fit. 

On the other hand, based on what I've seen of the film and the "bio" provided at the official site, this is not technically Fleming's Bond because he did not serve in Naval Intelligence and indeed has a very different "backstory" from the one we know.  Plus, as you say, Fleming's Bond was not recruited by a female "M" and so on.

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Craig, as mentioned, looks NOTHING like James Bond... yeah, I know, blonde hair is obviously wrong, but are we supposed to believe that this is the same character that was played by Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan?

I pick up mixed signals.  On the one hand, as noted above, Bond's life story has been re-imagined.  On the other hand, why would he drive a 40-year-old Aston Martin DB5 if not for sentimental reasons?  But how could he have fond memories of adventures he hasn't had yet?  That car made a LITTLE sense with Brosnan driving, as a nod to the earlier films (assuming you never stopped to do the math and realize he'd have battled Goldfinger at the tender age of 11) but it makes none in a film where Bond has not yet met any of those adversaries we remember, and probably never will.  I gather there are other little nods to the earlier films, but I hope not many as it'll distract me terribly.

Continuity has never been a strong suit of the Bond films.  Some fit together, some do not.  The first four can go together with some ease (in FRWL, Kronsteen selects Bond as SPECTRE's target because he killed Dr No in the previous film), but as time goes on it gets murkier.  In OHMSS, for example, how does Blofeld not recognize "Sir Hillary Bray" as Bond when the two men met close up just two years earlier in YOLT?  Personally, I find the films work better if you treat each as a separate entity and try not to tie them together at all.  Otherwise when you see, for example, Bond flying over the lake in "Goldeneye", you expect it to go like this:

BOND: The bad guy's hideout is down there, under the lake.
NATALYA: How do you know?
BOND: Because that's where it was in "You Only Live Twice."

Anyway, to answer your question, I think the producers are trying to have their cake and eat it, too.  No, they don't want Craig to be the old Bond.  But they do want fans of the old Bond to come see the movie, so they'll throw in as many traditional-style "Bond" moments as they can manage.

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All with their very good looks (007 in the novels looked a bit like Hoagy Carmichael and Fleming also saw men like Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant playing Bond... all ordinary and hansome men)... Craig doesn't come close.

Well, as I said above, Carmichael was not a handsome guy.  But in fairness, he was a fabulous songwriter who gave us one of the greatest tunes of all time, "Stardust".  As for Jimmy Stewart, it's a long-standing misperception that Fleming wanted him to be Bond; he did not.  At one point, Fleming was asked to list who he thought could work and he included a "James Stewart" on the list, but he was referring to a handsome young British actor who would end up changing his name to pursue a career in Hollywood (James Stewart having been, obviously, "taken" already).  We now know that actor as Stewart Granger.

Cary Grant was a friend of Cubby Broccoli (having been best man at his wedding!) and was even offered the Bond role, but balked at comitting to a three-picture deal.

And yes, Craig is uglier than all of them on their worst day.  But it should be noted that Sean Connery wasn't most people's idea of sexy prior to Dr No, and Fleming rejected him as "that damned lorry driver."

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Daniel Craig also has said that he has no regard or respect for the source material and no respect for fans.  He's foul mouthed and crude... THAT'S a big turn off for me...

Come now, I can't imagine anyone in their right mind saying all THAT.  Certainly I never saw any quotes where he said he didn't respect Fleming or the franchise.  Craig may not be a huge Bond fan, but he did read the books and watch the films to prepare for this role, and reading between the lines I gather he finds Bond a fascinating character.  I don't know about "respect for fans" but considering the reaction he got from a lot of them...often in the form of very personal and petty attacks...I wouldn't blame him if he feels they're a dangerous pack of loonies.

As for his language, well I can't defend that. He does swear like a drunken sailor, which doesn't jibe with my image of Bond, either.  As a lifelong Roger Moore fan, I miss the days of actors who comported themselves with grace and elan off-camera as well as on.  It's hard to take Brad Pitt as "sexy" when he walks the streets looking like a homeless deviant, it's hard to take Tom Cruise as a genius superspy when he acts like a moron in interviews, and it's hard to take any "Bond" as urbane and polished when he spouts profanity at every turn.

Quote
Of course, this could be a reboot.  A new Bond series from the old.  Yeah, that means that THIS Bond never went into space in Moonraker and didn't blow up Karamanga in LALD and other absurdities "didn't happen" to this 007, but then again, he was never married, never went up against Goldfinger, SMERSH, SPECTRE (okay... Blofeld), Dr No and others.

Well, here's what gives me pause.  Every time anyone wants to make Bond "closer to Fleming," they ramp up the gritty violence.  We got it with "License to Kill" and now we're getting it again. But Fleming is about more than violence...if that's all you want, stick with Mickey Spillane.  Fleming also worked in the macabre, the fantastic and the surreal.  There was Dr No, described as a human slug, slithering along the floor and clacking his metal hands on railings.  A guy, mind you, with a giant squid for a pet.  There was Dr Shatterhand's Suicide Garden (and a castle from which Bond escapes via balloon...like Curious George!). There was Oddjob, and so on.  The films didn't invent the fairy-tale like weirdness of Bond's world,though they did take it to new extremes.  For me, at least, this sort of over-the-top, nightmare imagery is one of the appeals of the formula and my worry is that in trying to make Bond more "down to earth" and "gritty" they'll lose all that and turn him into just another action hero.

I'm not going to try and talk you into seeing it, of course.  That's your call.  But I'm trying to keep an open mind about it.  I figure if I can enjoy Fleming's books and Roger Moore's films almost equally...the two being about as far apart as you can get...then there's always room for one more interpretation.  And if I hate it, I've always got my DVDs.


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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2006, 07:50:17 AM »

I've liked Daniel Craig in the movies I've seen him in so I'm probably more attracted to this movie than anything from the past 20 years.  Which is to say, not much.  The first and last Bond film I saw in a theatre was Octopussy.  Previous to that I was enamored of the Moore films I saw on Tv but after discovering Connery I became a convert and am one of those Johnny-come-lately "Connery is the only Bond" types.  Even my better-half likes those movies!

I think of Connery as quite thuggish (more than any of the others at least) but also funny and charming.  I'm a fan of the books and agree that no-one really looks like Fleming's description.  Who cares what color the character's hair is?  At this point the movies are just action movies with the advantage of a brand name.

As to continuity, whenever I've thought of it, I imagine that new 007's are given not only the code name, but the identity of James Bond.  Heck, M may have several reserve James Bonds at any given time.

That being said, I probably won't see the movie.  The new ones I've seen on Tv are always slightly bloated and slow moving, with none of the surprise or excitement the best modern action films seem to have.  I saw MIII at a theatre this summer (the first of that franchise I've seen) and enjoyed it as a fun piece of fluff to enjoy with air conditioning.  And I don't really like Tom Cruise (then why did I also enjoy War of the Worlds? Smiley)  Are any of the recent Bond films half as entertaining?

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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2006, 03:50:28 PM »

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Are any of the recent Bond films half as entertaining?

Well, I'm not likely to see "War of the Worlds", though I may get around to MI:III as a JJ Abrams fan (sort of), but I'm betting no, the recent Bonds are NOT half as entertaining as those were.

The recent Bonds have been coasting on inertia, pretty much.  They've borrowed heavily from earlier, better Bond films, which is admittedly not a new tactic for the series, but something's gone out of them and "fun" is as good a word as any to describe that something.

The Connery Bonds were innovative and daring not only in subject matter but also in terms of radical new editing techniques, sound effects, stunt work, scores, etc.  The Moore films weren't nearly as ground-breaking, but they did have a no-holds barred approach, with spectacular locations, gigantic action sequences and, it appeared, a commitment to delivering the most entertainment possible in two hours.  (I read a book recently about Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, which travelled to small towns and cities across America with gigantic, open-air recreations of the Indian Wars and other signal events in Western history.  I like to imagine the young boys of that era had the same feeling at Buffalo Bill's shows as I did watching those 70s Bond films).

Somehow today's Bonds hit all the marks required by the formula without ever managing to be fun at all (and 40 years in, "innovative" is a bit much to ask).  I think the problem is that they want to be taken seriously, which is ridiculous when you're telling stories about a guy who drives invisible cars and villains who want to destroy the world with gigantic orbiting heat lamps.  The films are as ridiculous as they ever were, but now they're pompous and pretentious to boot, with lots of hammy emoting about betrayals and lost loves and such.  Thus we get TWINE, wherein Bond shoots his lover dead in a "powerful" scene, then follows that up with a fistfight in the bowels of a nuclear reactor, juggling plutonium rods with his bare hands!  Folks, you can do "Hamlet" or you can do a Road Runner cartoon, but you can't have it both ways.

You're right, TELLE, the Bonds are now just generic action films.  A guy who runs around for two hours mowing down hordes of opponents with a machine gun is not James Bond, even if he's wearing a Brioni suit while he does it.  The recent Bonds are a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  (Plus, for the record, the action scenes are incompetently directed.  I still don't understand what's happening in some of them).

If you can't have fun with the more outlandish aspects of Bond, you might as well chuck them in favor of something more earthy, and that looks to be what they're doing this time out.  Still, the best description of the film so far seems to be "Batman Begins meets the Bourne Identity", so as usual the Bond producers are following trends rather than leading them.
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2006, 04:14:29 PM »

Cary Grant was a friend of Cubby Broccoli (having been best man at his wedding!) and was even offered the Bond role, but balked at comitting to a three-picture deal.

I'm having great fun just imagining Grant as Bond, especially if he did it in his His Girl Friday mode!
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