Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Makes A Good James Bond Film

Because my life isn’t busy enough, tomorrow, we’re opening a new day at the site. . . Thursdays. And we’re going to use Thursdays to honor James Bond turning 50 this year. We’ll do Questionable Bonds, a little analysis here and there, and I’m going to rank the films from worst to best. And trust me, there were some worsts. Anyway, let’s kick things off with a discussion of what makes the Bond films work. James Bond films have three vital elements: James Bond, the Bond Girls, and the villain, and each needs to come together for the film to succeed.

What Makes A Good James Bond

Ian Fleming’s James Bond is one of the most iconic characters of all time. He’s known the world over. The reason for this is that Bond is the perfect mix of all the elements we prize in masculinity. He’s suave and confident, the kind of man who dominates a room. . . the kind of man women are drawn too. Yet, at the same time, he’s absolutely ruthless and cold-blooded. . . the kind of man men respect. He’s also hot-blooded and fiercely loyal when it comes to people he’s decided are worthy of his protection, which makes us like him.

This is why it’s so difficult to portray Bond, because any actor doing so must be able to project all three characteristics without coming across like someone in the middle of a multiple personality crisis. This is also why so few actors have been able to play the role well and why some of the men chosen just weren’t right. Roger Moore, for example, started well, but as he got older, his suave shifted into snooty. Also, the humor they gave him made his cold-bloodedness sound snippy. Brosnan, by comparison, was too aloof and you never got the sense he could be hot-blooded and loyal. Plus, they made his character conflicted and tortured which destroyed his confidence. Lazenby lacked gravitas, and Dalton. . . well, he just lacked. So far, only Connery has projected each of these qualities seamlessly and Craig has come close.

What Makes A Good Bond Girl

Bond girls are a different story. The primary role of the Bond girl is to add a sexual tension to the film and to give Bond a reason to care personally about his fight against the villain. In essence, they need to be someone who triggers Bond’s “white knight” sense while simultaneously proving sexually irresistible to him. But this is trickier than it sounds because to be irresistible, they also need to be quite independent before they meet Bond. This creates a delicate balancing act between fiery independence and damsel in distress, but the best Bond girls pull it off, the worst don’t. . . the worst Bond girls tend to be the ones who just get dropped into the plot like luggage for Bond to carry.

What Makes A Good Bond Villain

The villains are as important as Bond, or possibly more so. The villains need to be beyond typical bad guys. They need some scheme that is worth the attention of the world’s top spy, and they need to seem capable of pulling it off. They must be intelligent, ruthless, and determined. They must seem ruthlessly insane without crossing the line into just insane. They also need credibility. This is where several villains have left the audience scratching their heads. . . a moonbase huh? Oh, you’re a drug dealer, got it. . . whatever. Villains are key.

Beyond these points, Bond films typically have distinctive henchmen, a plethora of gadgets, a catchy theme song, and a cool title, but none of those things actually make or break a movie, though the invisible car kind of jumped the shark.

Thoughts?

By the way, as I ranked the films, I found quite a few surprises. Rather than just rank them in total, I ranked each according to its parts – Bond’s performance, the plot/scheme, the villain quality, and the Bond girl quality. Then I added up the points to get the overall rankings. Interestingly, the new list did not turn out as I would have expected, but in hindsight, I agree completely with the way the list turned out. I guess we’ll find out soon what each of you thinks starting tomorrow when we talk about the worst. . . Bond. . . film. . . ever!

62 comments:

Backthrow said...

Ah, this should be interesting... :)

One minor point of disagreement, right off the bat; I thought Lazenby had *some* gravitas. Not nearly as much as Connery or Craig, but moreso than Moore or (for the most part) Brosnan (who *did* have gravitas in THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR and THE MATADOR, making for a far better Bond in those than he did in his actual Bond films!). Moore, who had a couple of good Bond films to his credit, and several good moments throughout most of his 007 adventures, was a lightweight. He wasn't just snooty, he was flimsy, so the filmmakers decided to make him a clown Bond, more often than not. His roles as The Saint and Beau Maverick suited him better, I think.

What Lazenby *did* lack, at least at that point in time, was acting experience, so he came across as a bit wooden, though he managed the tender scenes in his lone Bond film well, and was probably the best all-around fighter of the Bond actors, with the possible exception of Craig (and I haven't seen SKYFALL yet).

Gadgets are fun, but I've found most of the best 007 films, had few, if any, of them, or they were toned down compared to the others. The Fleming novels had little, if any, at all.

Tennessee Jed said...

It is very hard for me to separate Bond films from the Bond stories of Ian Fleming. Coming of age (so to speak) in the late 50's mid 60's, the books perfectly reflected the times ... the cold war. First SMERSH, then SPECTRE were the perfect foil. It was a time when we were transitioning from the western as the prime setting. Men were "men" so to speak, and our heroes were extremely clear cut. In the books, the fact that Bond, had a little bit of "Dirty Harry" in him was made a little bit clearer than in the films. Sure, Bond had a certain cruelty to him, but never once does Fleming try and second guess Bond by pointing out he is not much different than the bad guys he chases. It is enough he is on the side of the angels, so to speak. I can think of one film scene, off the top of my head, that brings that streak to life, perfectly. In "From Russia With Love" Bond, without emotion or remorse, helps Ali Karem Bay assassinate in cold blood, the man who attacked them at the gypsy camp.

Bond girls - Yes Bond cares about them, but really, they are mostly seen as either accessories at best, or recreational vehicles at worst. It is the Bond girl who falls, almost unrealistically so, for Bond. That again is part of the definition of Bond, not the other way around. He is the ultimate in 60's manhood. Knows all the wines and food pairings, excels at Chemin du Fer, and yet any woman immediately falls into his arms and gives it up. Pure raw male fantasy. Pussy Galore was the most interesting because her lesbianism was much more pronounced in the book.

Bond Villains - a tough nut to crack because there was always the need to try and outdo the predecessors. Tough for me, since I always had visualized them in my mind. The literary versions of Red Grant, and Scaramonga were the most interesting to me. Grant and Goldfinger actors came the closest to recreating the characters as written. Enough for now. Look forward to the series.

Dave Olson said...

Brosnan was good in Goldeneye (the only Bond DVD I have), but none of the villains in his other movies made him rise to an interesting level. Does anyone remember what happened in Tomorrow Never Dies? Dalton had a lot of potential but he was hamstrung by a script that had been tailored for Moore (Living Daylights), and a story that just wasn't good enough for a Bond movie (License to Kill). Moore got prissier as he got older, and of course he got older. He really should have hung it up after Octopussy. Lazenby? Meh. I can see why people still revere Connery, but some of those early Bonds were just laughable. And for my money, Craig became Bond a few minutes into Casino Royale with just two words: "Yes. Considerably."

ScottDS said...

I just watched the new Bond documentary Everything or Nothing on Netflix last night and they did point out something important: no one element makes a Bond movie. This was in reference to Connery coming back for Never Say Never Again and how, despite opening against Octopussy, it didn't make as much money.

(The documentary pulls no punches whenever the subject of producer Kevin McClory comes up - the man spent his whole life in and out of court claiming he owned the Bond character.)

And I agree with Jed - Lazenby had some gravitas and a twinkle in his eye but he just wasn't an actor. And he was convinced by people in his inner circle that the franchise was over. After all, it was the 60s and Easy Rider was the new thing - how cool could Bond be, with his suit and short haircut? I think he still regrets bailing after one flick.

And yes, I like Dalton. I'll save my comments for the individual films but one wonders what a third Dalton film circa the early 90s might've looked like. (They were planning one but the studio had its own problems to deal with.)

rlaWTX said...

good Bond film:
[1] sexy Bond
[2] decent story
[3] see #1

yeah, I'm shallow... and female :)

tryanmax said...

I've previously made no bones about the fact that I think T-Dal is shortchanged as Bond, though Daniel Craig has demoted him to my #3 slot.

Still haven't seen On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

As far as bringing the different, sometimes contradictory aspects of Bond together into one character, I think Bond works best as an archetypal sketch of a hero. Bond seems at his flattest when we peer too much into him. Ironically, he's the most believable when he's the least realistic.

tryanmax said...

Afterthought: That said, some of the best moments in Bond films are when a shortcoming is shown and Bond must compensate. Still, that contributes to the idea that Bond possesses endless ingenuity, which is more appealing than a flawless superman.

Kit said...

I think you nailed it. The Bond girl thing is right: She must not be finger-nails on a chalkboard annoying for the audience.


Side Note:
Anyone seen SKYFALL?
I did and thought it was amazing -despite a weak Bond girl.
What did everyone else here think?

Tennessee Jed said...

I've seen Skyfall. Typical of the Daniel Craig era films, which is to say, not perfect, but pretty darned good, nonetheless. Top notch cinematography and effects. Liked the Scottish highlands. I never like "M" as a woman so there is that, as well which impacts positively or negatively depending on your point of view. But, like most geezer curmudgeons, I like my original players best, including Bernard Lee. I didn't realize until the advent of the dreadful "Sherlock" on CBS right now that he was grandfather to Jonnie Lee Miller. (an actor I actually like despite his sacrilege with Holmes.)

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I don't dislike Lazenby at all, I just think he lacked the seriousness that the better Bonds have. I do have agree about Moore though. In hindsight, he was not a great choice.

I think the series will be interesting. Like I said, some of the rankings were really quite interesting to me once I did them by elements rather than just my view of the whole film. And, interesting, I think they ended up "more correct" that way, even if I wouldn't have put them in that order originally.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Excellent insight! I haven't read all the books, sadly, but I intend to. I think you are right that Bond is basically the ultimate male fantasy. And I think the films where they tampered with that are the ones that struggled the most.

On the Bond girls, I think the feistiness really is important because Bond is supposed to win these women, not just come across them. Strangely, in a couple instance in the film -- especially the later Moore films -- they don't even seem interested in him.

In any event, we will rank villains and Bond girls and Bonds and the Bond actors in the coming weeks. So tune in!

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, Craig won me over almost immediately and I've been very impressed with everything he's done in the role.

Interestingly, growing up, I like the Moore films a lot, but over time I've come to dislike quite a few of his later films.

Dalton has problems all around in my opinion. He never embraced the role, his villains stunk, his plots stunk, even the films felt cheap.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't count Never Say Never Again and it's not on my list because it's a cheezy remake with a Connery who was way past his prime. The film is dead to me.

I wanted to like Dalton, but it never happened. His films are just rotten.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, No harm there! LOL! Nice list.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I think you are right the films tend to get bogged down when they try to humanize Bond. He is best presented as an archetype. And I think what the new films do best is present you with the archetype in full blast while suggesting there is more there that you don't see but telling you point blank -- this doesn't concern you. It makes the character very strong and mysterious and it makes the character compelling.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, The Bond girls are actually the least relevant element, but they can ruin a film. A good Bond girl is also necessary to hit that top tier.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I had no idea they were related. Interesting. That seems to be the case with a lot of actors -- their kids and grandkids end up as actors.

K said...

For me, the Bond series ended with Goldfinger. That's when the series caught a bad case of movie sequelitis (bigger! better! more wacky!) and it killed the patient.

Thunderball and it's successors were a parody of the earlier Bond films. The trend was momentarily interrupted when Bond was re-invented and rehabilitated for the new PC audience with Brosnan and Goldeneye. Whereupon the series went right back to being a parody of the originals until the Craig versions in the same PC universe.

The Craig Bonds were an attempt to add some gravitas by playing Bond as a disgusting thug. This is a postmodern deconstruction of the Bond concept - if you kill for your country you're just as bad as the people you kill.

This is NOT Ian Fleming's James Bond. The Craig Bonds are arbitrary action spy films where a DB5 was stuck in the script and then passed off, as so many mediocre scripts are these days, as a sequel to a previously successful franchise.

To me, the only alternative to creating a yet another pseudo Bond would be to go back to the original material and do it as a period piece, hopefully UN-ironically (IOWs not like Madmen). My suggestion would be to start with From Russia With Love Stalinist NKVD plot and all.

AndrewPrice said...

K, So you're a big fan of the whole series, huh? :P

Patriot said...

Andrew.....I know you'll be discussing this later, but my favorite Bond girl was Eva Green in Casino Royale. Smart, held her own with Bond and believable in the part. Oh..and sexy too!
Favorite villain - Auric Goldfinger
Favorite Bond Film - Casino Royale
Worst Bond Film - Moonraker
Worst modern Bond Film - Quantum of Solace (Enviro piss boy as world's greatest villain mastermind?! Please)

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Yep, we'll be hitting each of those questions. :)

Commander Max said...

Andrew, I think the gadgets are just as important as all of the other elements.
That includes the Auston and the PPK. What good is 00 who can't kill anybody.
Bond is a pure masculine image, any man without his tools is not in that image. On top of that Bond is doing things most men wish they could. That includes the jet set, playboy lifestyle, which is the pinnacle of materialism.

I think the last Bond film I saw was back in the 90's. I really like the over the top flavor of Broccoli's films. But then I want these types of films to be pure escapism, which his films were.

Patriot said...

K...I think they could be "modernized" if Bond started taking on a contemporaneous villain. Now who or what would be a modern day global villain? I wonder....

Some recent movies that would be similarly scripted along the lines.... Killer Elite, Taken I. You know, villains that the global public could actually relate to!

AndrewPrice said...

Max, The car and the PPK help make the character, but you really can do a movie without them. Plus, in some instances, the gadgets end up distracting because they aren't well integrated or they are just stupid -- like the invisible car.

Brotherhood of Associated Global Villains Union said...

You can use any global villain as long as they are up to date on their union dues

AndrewPrice said...

Wonderful, now the JB villains want to unionize.

Patriot said...

The Aston Martin DB is definitely an iconic piece of Bond lore. One of my peeves with Casino Royale was the very limited use of the DB9S in the film. One chase scene and then totaled?! I did like the use of it in QOS...great opening scene then the movie went downhill from there IMO.

Sorry Andrew....Am I too early with my critiques?

Patriot said...

.....Oh...and Andrew.....I was hoping that Clive Owen would be the new Bond after Brosnan. Think he would've worked?

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, No, that's fine. People can talk about anything they want. :) I'm going to avoid going into too much right now though because I don't want to spoil the countdown by telling people what I think of the various films.

I will say that I really thought Casino Royale was excellent and you may be surprised how highly I rank QOS.

Totally agree about the Aston Martin -- needed more use in CR and the intro to QOS was excellent.

AndrewPrice said...

On Clive Owen, I'm not sure. On the one hand, he's too gruff whenever I've seen him. BUT he's never been in a really suave role, so it's hard for me to judge. I suspect he would have been good, but I can't say for sure.

Patriot said...

Maybe the ladies on site could weigh in if Clive Owens would make a good Bond........from a females' perspective of course! Would he clean up nicely and be suave and debonair?

Patriot said...

Andrew....BTW, I think the Bond franchise is the gold standard that all the other wannabe's strive for. Star Wars, Star Trek, Die Hard, Batman...not even close. There's a reason for that and it lies in the remarks you made in your article. It's the character that Fleming created.....right attitude for all times.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I agree. The Bond franchise is THE standard. They've survived everything from bad scripts to bad timing to bad casting and still they chug along with each movie making more than the last and the franchise's popularity growing from generation to generation.

And like you, I think the key is that the character speaks to us in a way that few others ever have.

ScottDS said...

Re: villains -

Do the films work best when they go for larger than life villains, or when they try to be relevant?

I think there's a good middle ground there but if the Bond films are about escapism, then seeing Bond fight Arab terrorists doesn't exactly fit the bill. On the other hand, we've seen Dr. No/Blofeld parodied countless times, are audiences unwilling to suspend their disbelief anymore?

After seeing Skyfall, I suggested to friends that, technology notwithstanding, perhaps Bond should remain timeless.

P.S. I liked Skyfall but on further reflection, it's not written very well, there are a few too many coincidences and characters not acting intelligently, and at the end of the day, why the hell did they bother rebooting the franchise only to have Craig's Bond wondering if he's over the hill two movies later?!?!

Skyfall would've worked better as Pierce Brosnan's last Bond film instead.

Patriot said...

Scott...I really didn't like the premise of Skyfall...a rogue 00 going after world domination? Really?! And the final confrontation sequence and outcome? A bit too unrealistic.

I did love the settings though.....London, Somalia(?), Scottish Highlands. Wonderful locations. And the scene where Bond and M are leaving London and he opens the garage door....perfect homage to all the previous Bond films!

K said...

They've survived everything from bad scripts to bad timing to bad casting and still they chug along...

In the 60s non EON James Bond film "Casino Royale", ALL the characters called themselves James Bond. Perhaps this is the answer to the movie industy's woes, making all films as James Bond films. E.G.:

The Transformers Who Loved Me.
It's a Good Day to Live and Let Die
Casino Wreak It Ralphe
The Golden Crawling Eye
Octobabes in the City
Moonraker Wars
Dr. X-men
Thunder Bat
On Her Majesty's Hunger Games

etc etc etc

K said...

Patriot: Now who or what would be a modern day global villain?

Considering how PC the Bond films have become, I'd say the Koch brothers would up for be the next super villians. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think Bond villains need to be larger than life, BUT also credible. Whenever they've gone over the top, the films have suffered -- like Moonraker or the volcano lair.

In terms of being larger than life, Islamic terrorism just won't work. For one thing, it's too political -- the films actually have been apolitical. For another, Islamic terrorism is too complex to put on the screen. People don't know the players, the history, the locations or the motivations. They also don't see how a single terrorist act can lead to the achievement of any particular goal, and since the villain needs a plan that makes sense and can be wrapped up in two hours, it just doesn't work. Finally, it doesn't really interest Western audiences. So they will stick with "Western" plots like blackmail, world domination, drugs/diamonds, etc.

AndrewPrice said...

K, Don't ever give that idea to anyone from Hollywood. They would run with it.

shawn said...

The Bond franchise is THE standard.

Sorry Andrew, I'm going to have to throw a flag on the play. I do love me some Bond, but Trek has far more good material out there than Bond. From the original series, the animated series, the next generation, DS9, voyager, Enterprise to the reboot, there's a lot to love there.

As to Bond- play it serious, but not too maudlin, babes, and don't flood it with too many gadgets. And for the love of god, get the mood of the scene right. I like Dalton as Bond, but the end scene of License to Kill where Felix is says thanks about killing Sanchez is painful to watch. That scene should have been a somber reflection on revenge served cold for Felix's dead wife and his shark amputated leg, not
Felix laughing and saying that he heard that M has a job for Bond.

I rate my Bonds as
Connery- the one and only.
Craig- looking good so far.
Brosnan- better than the material he had.
Dalton- Underappreciated.
Moore- stayed too long and got too silly.
Lazeby- should have rode it out longer, could have grown into the role.

Commander Max said...

James Bond without a gun?

Auston and PPK are staples of the Bond lore. That would be like Star Trek without the Enterprise(I know they did it). You can do it, but things just wouldn't be right.
Like making Bond gay, it's no longer Bond.

With all of the serious talk, the Bond films were meant to be fun. Moonraker being one of favorites, I liked the Bond films prior to that. After that it fizzled out for me. Quite frankly I wish they would give it rest. Come up with something new. The way they are going I expect to see Bond a homeless bisexual doctoral student wading tables, fighting Tea party members. At least with the over the top villains your not making things topical(I think Howard Hughes was often made fun of, but he was an over the top figure). Silicon valley? Drug lords? Neither of those films were all that exciting. They both helped me out of the whole Bond thing.

ScottDS said...

Max -

I think Howard Hughes and Cubby Brocolli were friends in real life, which is where the character of Willard Whyte in Diamonds are Forever came from. Any jokes at his expense were no doubt part of what they were going for with that movie... which wasn't exactly their finest hour. :-)

ScottDS said...

This one's for the room...

The Bond films have their PC moments but, on the whole, they really aren't PC. One could even say the entire idea is un-PC... and Skyfall reaffirms this - that there is danger in the world, civilization is worth protecting, and countries need honorable men to operate in the shadows.

That Bond isn't battling bin Laden, et al doesn't make the series PC. Middle-Eastern villains are a little harder to do for the reasons Andrew mentioned above.

And I never felt having a female M was PC either, considering art imitated life.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, I suspect that Bond has made a lot more money and is a much more sure-fire hit that Star Trek.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, Quantum of Solace was an example where they really never focused on the gun he had, he just had one.

In terms of the PC stuff, I honestly don't see it. The series has at times tried to throw in the off comment now and then, but it's always been to show that Bond is proving the PC stuff wrong. Even people who think the villain in QOS is an environmentalist are missing two facts: (1) he IS the villain, and (2) he's part of a larger organization that is using hiding behind environmentalism to enrich itself. If anything, that's an anti-PC statement.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, There are a handful of PC moments comments the films but they tend to actually be anti-PC moments as the PC characters come to admit that Bond was right. I just don't see the claim that these films are PC.

As for the Islamic stuff, again, there are many reason not to deal with Islamic terrorism. It just wouldn't make for an interesting film.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

I'll have to see QoS again one day - I only saw it once and was turned off by their attempt at making a Bourne-style film. (Skyfall's editing and camerawork are back to normal, thank God!)

I've heard the film was a victim of the WGA strike - they went into it without a finished script and the film is really only half a film at best!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, the film was a victim of the WGA and apparently the director and Craig wrote most of the script because no one else was allowed.

But I'll tell you what, give it a chance. I'm actually quite impressed with the film. I was very disappointed the first time I saw it because it just didn't seem "big" enough, but I have to say that they do everything right actually and it's one of the better written films. The two problems with the film are that the CIA is made out as evil, which is annoying, and the villain seems small time because he doesn't have a grandiose plot. But neither did Casino Royale, nor did From Russia With Love, which were two of the best films.

Give it a chance and take the villain for what he is, rather than hoping for a Goldfinger, and I think you'll find that the film is really quite good.

shawn said...

Shawn, I suspect that Bond has made a lot more money and is a much more sure-fire hit that Star Trek.

I'll grant you that as a Film franchise, Bond has more going for it, and that it's more likely to continue well into the future, but looking at all the various media combined, Trek has more going for it.

As far as making money- the Bond franchise is number 2.

Trek is number 11.


Critch said...

My uncle let me read his James Bond paperbacks, something my mother frowned on...and I got to see Dr No when it opened in Memphis, my older brothers took me,,,something else my mother frowned on....

Anyway, I don't know how to exactly put it, but, Dr NO was good, so was Thunderball, but Goldfinger was awful. I really liked From Russia with Love, possibly because of Daniella Bianchi..some of the films just didn't work, some did. I loved Live and Let Die, The man With the Golden Gun and my almost favorite of Moore's, for Your Eyes Only, but then Carole Bouquet was so darned lovely. The Spy Who Loved Me was his best movie, but then again, I always had the real bads for Barbara Bach. Timothy Dalton was alright, Brosnan's only good one was Goldeneye, but I have liked all three of the latest films, esp. Skyfall. People trash Quantum of Solace, but it wasn't all that bad. In some ways I prefer Craig's Bond because he is more like the literary Bond, sort of a trainable blunt instrument.

I hated Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever. Both were overacted and in most places just plain stupid. There I said it.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, What's number one? Star Wars?

I agree with you that Trek has more, and if I were going to do something, I would rather have Trek. But in terms of sellability, I think Bond is probably much easier.

Tennessee Jed said...

Don't know if everyone knows it or not, But Bond used a Bareta 950 pistol for several books before Major Boothroyd talked M into making Bond switch to the Walther. Bond like the lightness of the former, but it didn't have enough stopping power.

Interesting to me, Hugo Drax and The Moonraker was a much, much better book than it turned out on film. It contains one of the greatest chapter in Bond history titled "an evening at Blades." Drax was a national hero (even though he was a native German) and become a member at "M's" private club. Drax was cheating at Bridge, but they couldn't figure out how. "M" asked Bond to come and cath hi. There is a whole chapter dedicated to just the dinner and champagne, followed by the ingenious trap Bond laid for Drax. Fleming at his absolute best!

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, It's clear that we're going to have some very different opinions from everyone throughout this series. That should be interesting.

T-Rav said...

Okay, I had a very long workday (assuming you can classify writing papers about whatever historical subject as "work"). Looks like I missed a good discussion.

Anyway, I have a question regarding the Bond films which I've thought about before. Quantum of Solace, which was generally panned, was also a Bond film that built off the events in Casino Royale. I'm not saying there's a connection there, but is it a good or bad idea for there to be plot continuity between Bond movies, and for them to try and focus on Bond as a three-dimensional person? Because I really don't have an answer to that.

(For the record, I immediately bought Daniel Craig as Bond, too, so there's no problem there for me.)

shawn said...

The number 1 franchise is Harry Potter. Almost 8 billion in world wide sales.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, Ah. That makes sense.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Work is for losers! :P

It was pretty much unique to continue the plot from CR as the basis for CR and I think that bothered a lot of people. I didn't really have a problem with it though because the two movies do fit together quite well and you get to see the Bond of CR mature as he ends up on his own.

As for him being three-dimensional, I think one of the great decisions they made was to only give the appearance of being three dimensional. I think they did that well to enhance his cruelty and single-mindedness actually.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that's fair enough.

One of the reasons I ask this is because of what good ol' Mr. Plinkett said in his review of that non-existent fourth Indiana Jones movie. Among other things, he made the point that we like Indy not because we're invested in him as a person--what's his background, who's his true love, etc.--but because he's a symbol we can project ourselves onto. Would he be Indy without the whip, hat, and so on? No, because the image he presents is more important in this case, not a three-dimensional character.

Anyway, I wonder if maybe this isn't the case with Bond to some degree. When we think about Bond, we think cool gadgets, hot girls, "Shaken, not stirred," etc etc. Whether or not he's ever given a full biography is beside the point. To be clear, it doesn't matter to me if they focus on him as a person. Casino Royale did that quite a bit and I liked it. I just wonder if that's the best road to go down.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think Casino Royale gave the appearance of delving into her personality but really didn't. At least, that's my take on it. I think they made a bigger attempt to dig into the character during the Brosnan years, and that hurt he films. In CR and in QOS, I think they mainly presented with the question of "who is the man really" and they answered it with, "none of your business, he's a cold-blooded killer."

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. That said, I do agree with Plinkett and I think it would be a mistake to delve too deeply into the background or personality of these characters.

rlaWTX said...

skipping to comments after TN Jed's Skyfall query:
[1] I liked Judi Dench as "M"
[2] I really liked Skyfall

rlaWTX said...

OK - so, it was Kit's question, not Jed's, sorry.

And Patriot's question:
Not as interested in Clive Owen... I like Daniel Craig and his Bond.

The Skyfall "over the hill" idea: I think that this could give him some room to prove himself - to the new "M" and other detractors. Also, one of the complaints that Commentaramans tend to have about some tough guy movies is that the tough guy doesn't show it when he's hurt. This story idea shows the wear and tear, but also the "tough it out"-ness... Just my reaction.

Post a Comment