Has the Fleming 'flavor' been 'diluted' for you in the Bond movies through the years?

chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
in Bond Movies Posts: 15,243
IMO, the Fleming 'flavor' was strongest in the movies up 'till OHMSS. Strong hints of it in DAF through AVTAK, a noticeable rise in TLD & LTK, then back to the recent past in Brosnan's. A slight rise in Craig's.... hopefully we'll see a stronger resurgence in SP.
Thoughts?
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Comments

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The 0,07 %
    Posts: 27,215
    It s almost inevitable, isn t it? Pretty much agree with your assessment.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    Posts: 15,049
    On a visual level, the Fleming flavor is pretty good. On a story level it's been hit or miss.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The 0,07 %
    Posts: 27,215
    The Fleming touch certainly took a dive in the 70s, and completely drowned in the 90s.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    Posts: 22,645
    It's been mostly gone since OHMSS, with hints of it sprinkled throughout (particularly FYEO and TLD), but it's been gone. I'm referring to the vibe as much (even more than) as inserting Fleming dialogue/story. The Craig Era has brought a welcome shift in tone to the more serious, but those films never evoke the Fleming feeling in me.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger The 0,07 %
    Posts: 27,215
    Me neither. CR naturally came the closest. DN, FRWL, GF, TB, OHMSS and partly FYEO and the Dalton films have it. As for the rest, just some bits here and there. Except the Brosnan films, where there is nothing of it at all.
  • echoecho Piz Gloria, I hope you enjoy it.
    Posts: 2,677
    Me neither. CR naturally came the closest. DN, FRWL, GF, TB, OHMSS and partly FYEO and the Dalton films have it. As for the rest, just some bits here and there. Except the Brosnan films, where there is nothing of it at all.

    ^This. I wish they would go back to what they did in the '80s (save AVTAK): take remaining elements from various books and mash them together. That era's approach generally worked, and the scripts were stronger back then. (Of course we still had Maibaum.)

    By the time the films got to the '90s, they abandoned Fleming entirely and were content just to remake other Bond films. We only got mere crumbs (006 mentioning the climbing accident, Brosnan's cryptic response to Elektra, and the mess DAD made of MR).

    CR was a welcome return to form and QoS a valiant effort derailed by the strike, but SF and SP took us back to the '90s remake mindset.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    Posts: 22,645
    Maibum was key.
  • Posts: 5,555
    I always felt the 60's films minus YOLT were the closest in terms of Fleming flavor.
    When one remembers Fleming only lived until 1964, it puts into perspective how much of the world's changes he missed in the ensuing years.

    The late 1970's were completely different in flavor to the 50's and early 60's. Clothes, fashions, hair, cars, furniture etc and technology were rapidly changing. Same with the '80's and '90's.

    I felt the 80's Bond films were a welcome return to the themes and concepts of Fleming. It's great to see some Fleming sequences sprinkled throughout that batch of films.

    The 90's had very little Fleming vibe, and reminded me more of John Gardner. That decade was more homage to the classic traditions of cinematic Bond.

    Of all the post 60's Bonds, the Craig era has a better timelessness in visual flavor. Aside from the tight fitting suits, Craig clothes could be worn in pretty much any decade and be fine. The haircuts in the Craig films more or less would also have worked in Fleming's time.

  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 15,243
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Maibum was key.

    yes.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ The Bondologist Blog.
    Posts: 11,984
    chrisisall wrote: »
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Maibum was key.

    yes.

    It certainly showed once he'd gone. He was from the same generation as Ian Fleming too.
  • Posts: 808
    Oddly DAD does have a bit Fleming flavor in its torture scene. And Graves is a North Korean version of Hugo Drax, albeit in a very loopy way. Plus the sword fight at Blades has an old fashioned flavor to it.
    The rest of the film...so not so Flemingian.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 15,243
    As much as I like Brosnan, his films were sorely lacking in Fleming flavour. I feel this is on the writing and direction more than him for all the usual reasons. LTK was the end of a generation IMO.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Maibum was key.
    MGW too for those 80s films which, AVTAK apart, successfully mixed some juicy morsels of Fleming with decent plots.

    Would love for MGW to pick up his pen again.
  • Posts: 6,586
    For me after QoS we got emo-Bond which is about as far as we get from Fleming.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ The Bondologist Blog.
    Posts: 11,984
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Maibum was key.
    MGW too for those 80s films which, AVTAK apart, successfully mixed some juicy morsels of Fleming with decent plots.

    Would love for MGW to pick up his pen again.

    Agreed, though sadly I don't think that will ever happen.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    Alas not. I don’t even know how much input he has anymore. His health hasn’t been great recently and he seems rather burnt out.

    Given he’s been producing Bond for longer than Cubby now I don’t think we can begrudge him taking a back seat, if not actually retiring. Fabulous servant to the series.
  • echoecho Piz Gloria, I hope you enjoy it.
    edited June 7 Posts: 2,677
    Revelator wrote: »
    Oddly DAD does have a bit Fleming flavor in its torture scene. And Graves is a North Korean version of Hugo Drax, albeit in a very loopy way. Plus the sword at Blades has an old fashioned flavor to it.
    The rest of the film...so not so Flemingian.

    DAD did MR so poorly that I wish they hadn't even bothered. At least they didn't use Gala Brand in the end.
    Alas not. I don’t even know how much input he has anymore. His health hasn’t been great recently and he seems rather burnt out.

    Given he’s been producing Bond for longer than Cubby now I don’t think we can begrudge him taking a back seat, if not actually retiring. Fabulous servant to the series.

    If MGW said to any screenwriters, "Hey, let's put THR and the rest of TMWTGG in this one," you know they'd do it. Even just one Fleming scene or two would help--look at TLD. It's like the amber in Jurassic Park; just inject a little Fleming DNA.

    All that's needed is a little direction from the top.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    Posts: 22,645
    It's not even putting it in there, it's how it is put in there.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    Posts: 22,645
    That sounded like a Brosnan Era pun, upon reflection.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ The Bondologist Blog.
    Posts: 11,984
    Birdleson wrote: »
    It's not even putting it in there, it's how it is put in there.

    Yes, and that was of coirse where they went wrong with their (very loose) adaptation of the MR novel in DAD.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    edited June 7 Posts: 1,662
    Strongest Fleming films:
    DN
    FRWL
    GF
    TB
    OHMSS
    FYEO (to a certain extent)
    TLD
    LTK (at a reach)
    CR
    QoS
  • edited June 7 Posts: 1,256
    I think parts of CR capture Fleming’s flavor, and SF also manages it probably the most from the era. The other two, not so much.

    So, yeah, I mostly agree. However, Fleming’s influence pops up quite a bit in some of Moore’s films, particularly first two Glen helmed, TLD is very heavy on Fleming echoes as well.

    The Brosnan years were lacking. Some of the atmosphere and cinematography of GE evokes his prose/tone a bit, I think, but otherwise Brosnan’s films had whiffs of Fleming at best.
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 1000
    edited June 7 Posts: 15,049
    chrisisall wrote: »
    As much as I like Brosnan, his films were sorely lacking in Fleming flavour. I feel this is on the writing and direction more than him for all the usual reasons. LTK was the end of a generation IMO.

    Actually I felt like GE had a lot of Fleming flavor but Pierce's following 3 films didn't. CR has it but QOS didn't then SF and SP had it in spades. From a visual perspective of course.
  • RemingtonRemington I'll do anything for a woman with a knife.
    Posts: 457
    I think TWINE had a Fleming vibe at times. I remember a great post by @thelivingroyale detailing why.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 9,271
    I agree with the above. I think most, if not all, echo Fleming to some degree.
  • edited June 7 Posts: 1,256
    I think TWINE screams until its vessels are bursting from its forehead, “Fleming elements! Fleming! Look!”

    A lot of the checklist Fleming stuff is there, but it is too conscious and the film doesn’t commit to it (a symptom of the Brosnan era, come to think of it). The ole, “okay, we’ve done this, now we can call it Flemingesque” checklist mentality. Too forced. The little flags pop up to signal that they’re here (Elektra’s backstory, arc, relationship with Bond being the major one) and then they’re lost in the soap opera that is the rest of the film.

    I’m trying not to rag on the film too hard, despite my distaste for it. I don’t think it’s inherently bad, in a franchise known and often praised for being formulaic, to adhere to formula or return to common tropes and themes from the past, but it has to be done in earnest. It can’t be shoehorned, which is precisely what TWINE does.

    The Fleming elements in the film (weren’t people bantering about it being “Brosnan’s OHMSS” or some shit?) would be stronger and more effective if the screenplay weren’t horrendous.

    It is the chief example of screenwriters wanting to be “Flemingesque” without having any idea of how to actually evoke Fleming’s tone and, as the thread is titled, “flavor.” Instead, it’s a box-ticking exercise.

    This, in my questionable opinion of course, is why TND is so obviously superior to TWINE. You can find a bit of Fleming in there if you look hard enough, but the film doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. It fails in ways most of the Brosnan films do (mentioned earlier) in that it is a bit too self-conscious, but where TWINE fails to be authentic, TND doesn’t really have any misgivings. Ironically, TND ultimately ends up being a far more sophisticated and compelling film than its (supposedly) more dramatic successor.

    Anyways, I’m being long winded again. Take me to task, or whatever.

    Edit: One last opinion on this (interesting) topic: I’m of the opinion that just because something does qualify as having the “Fleming flavor” that is not an inherent or automatic signifier of quality. For example, and I’m sure many disagree with me but I feel pretty strongly about this — QoS is, at least as far as 007 is concerned if not the entire film around him, pretty bereft of Fleming in my opinion, and I have reappraised that movie a bit after my recent viewing.

    Now, Fleming was a strong writer (not without his faults / shortcomings / issues, of course), and one of the strengths of his prose was his command of tone and ambience and atmosphere, and as such most films that are able to successfully achieve echoes of Fleming do tend to be stronger, but it is not an inherent positive quality, I don’t think.

    Anyways, take me to task. QoS has very little Fleming in it, despite being a successor to CR which does contain quite a bit of Fleming, at least in its later half (the stuff at the hotel/casino primarily as well as Craig’s portrayal as written in the script).
  • Posts: 2,180
    Considering the fact that Fleming wrote the character of James Bond between the years 1952 and 1964 as a hero who was contemporary to that time period, dilution was bound to set in post-1960s although as stated before there was a brief resurgence of it during the all too short lived Dalton era and in CR(although not so much in the post-CR Craig era films IMHO).

    This, in my questionable opinion of course, is why TND is so obviously superior to TWINE. You can find a bit of Fleming in there if you look hard enough, but the film doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. It fails in ways most of the Brosnan films do (mentioned earlier) in that it is a bit too self-conscious, but where TWINE fails to be authentic, TND doesn’t really have any misgivings. Ironically, TND ultimately ends up being a far more sophisticated and compelling film than its (supposedly) more dramatic successor.

    ITA. TND was Brosnan's least pretentious Bond film while TWINE was definitely his most pretentious one. It makes me very glad they didn't have the rights to make CR 7 years earlier.

  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    edited June 7 Posts: 22,645
    I just don't get the Fleming vibe from the Brosnan or Craig films very much at all. I love CR '06, but even with the scenes and dialogue that are left in tact, and even with Craig's excellent performance, that doesn't feel like Fleming's Bond nor does it feel like Fleming's world. To me.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 15,243
    Birdleson wrote: »
    I just don't get the Fleming vibe from the Brosnan or Craig films very much at all. I love CR '06, but even with the scenes and dialogue that are left intact, and even with Craig's excellent performance, that doesn't feel like Fleming's Bond nor does it feel like Fleming's world. To me.
    Yeah. I love TND & QOS... really like CR & SP... still, just weak Fleming faerie dust being spread randomly about. Last real Fleming vibe was OHMSS. Last identifiable Fleming Vibe was LTK. IMHO, anyway.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    Posts: 22,645
    It's definitely there in the Glen films, though it is fighting to share screentime with the comically absurd.
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