In search of James Bond 007 - is he disappearing ?

13

Comments

  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Station B, Belgium
    Posts: 3,252
    I find myself in agreement with @Mendes4Lyfe, @Torgeirtrap, @BMW_with_missiles, @Univex and @JeremyBondon a lot these past few days.

    Is it because of the MTV generation that one has to act tough and unrefined before they can be a force to be reckoned with? I like my heroes to be elegant and well-mannered. Thank you very much.
  • Posts: 860
    GoldenGun, you mention acting tough and unrefined. There was that well before the MTV generation, of course...John Wayne...even going back to Beowulf! I agree with you about the element of elegance and manners, which I see as one part of Bond, though I assume those qualities are present but not too prominent with Ian Fleming's literary character. Bond can be a killing machine, but I think I read that he also "takes pleasure where he can", which we see him do, and most of us I think can identify with doing that. I was thinking of how it would be out of place to hear Craig Bond say, as Moore Bond did in FYEO during the dinner and wine selection with Kristatos, "If you'll forgive me, that's a little too scented for my palate. I prefer the Theotaki Aspro". Maybe that's an extreme example, but it shows discernment. Connery showed that in various scenes, and so did other Bonds...maybe Craig did too sometimes though those instances don't come to mind right now, just that in SP he knows he refuses the prolytic digestive enzyme shake. I guess it's all about the balance.
  • w2bondw2bond is indeed a very rare breed
    Posts: 1,764
    Does the Vesper martini count?
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 4,822
    Tbh I don't understand all these critisisms towards Craig. I find him a hard man, but sophisticated. It clearly starts in CR and reaches a good level in QoS. He still is a ruthless man when he needs to, has humour, is focussed on the job. The difference between him and Brosnan is cleary his dedication to work, which Brosnan's Bond never showed that much. It wasn't called for, except for in DAD, and there he pulls a heartbeat-stopping trance thing to jump offboard a Royal Navy vessel to end up in the most overblown 5ys/o interpretation of Bond.
    SF builds on that. He's confident, and actually trying to do some proper spying.

    Now I understand the dislike for SP. Trying to catch it all under one SPECTRE story doesn't work, and the film loses itself in too many short stories.

    Still, it's not that bad and Craig plays it exactly in the way those who complain about him were asking for: More Roger Moore, more fun.

    The real problem with that film is it's story telling. It's because of this we don't understand why Bond behaves like he does, but that's more the writers- and directors fault. Perhaps Craig plays it too good even, which makes it confusing for those who watch.

    Craig portrays an Englshman who's too international for England. Who's sophisticated, has class and charm, but has a hard edge. The only problem Craig has is he hasn't got the charismatic face of a Connery or the charm of Moore. Or the twinkle in his eye that Lazenby has.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 959
    The character has evolved over the years and so has the actor playing him. The films of Connery and Moore would not work today. I can recall Martin Campbell stating that those films took forever to get to the set up and that today's audiences won't go for that. Think of TB and how long the sequence of SP getting the bombs. In today's films that would either be done off screen or edited in such a way to speed right by it.

    I think this speeding up as also had an effect on the character of James Bond. He no longer is seen entering night clubs to find info. He is a "blunt instrument" and as such there is no time for niceties.

    The Bond film have generally had less time for romance. So while Bond and Domino sitting on a beach talking about her brother would be played another way. Think of Swann and Bond meeting and most of their dialogue taking place on the run. Even the train scene from SP is really condensed to the point where there really isn't much character development.

    I wish for the Bond of old, but is that because I long for a simpler time. Where the bad guys were easily identified and the woman were either on the side of right and virtue or out to kill Bond. Another thought, when is the last time Bond had to deal with a true femme fatale? Onatopp?

    Not much on the allies either. Felix Leiter was played with such blandness I doubt many could tell you the actor that played him in CR and QOS. Would a relationship between Bond and his ally allow for some character development? For sure. They teased it with Mathis then threw that away in QOS. While Leiter and Bond seem to be good friends we haven't really seen why. Will we see a Kerim Bay? A Marc-Ange Draco? Even a Columbo? Looks like this Bond is a one agent guy.

    So have we lost James Bond. Well we have lost the character of the 60', 70's and 80's. We have gained a gritty character. Who may lack some suave and sophistication but makes up for it with his take no prisoners attitude. We have a Bond who longer really flirts with Moneypenny, or antagonizes Q. We have a Bond for this day and age and while that seems to be gold at the Box Office I can't help but lament for the Bond of old.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Station B, Belgium
    Posts: 3,252
    I agree with that. While this Bond adepts and therefore appeals to the modern public, I am a more traditional (read nostalgic) fan and I miss the old sort of 007.
  • w2bondw2bond is indeed a very rare breed
    Posts: 1,764
    You're not going to get lines like 'Wait until you get to my teeth' in today's PC and metoo world. Plus the need to translate the dialogue into 50 languages
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 4,822
    thedove wrote: »
    The character has evolved over the years and so has the actor playing him. The films of Connery and Moore would not work today. I can recall Martin Campbell stating that those films took forever to get to the set up and that today's audiences won't go for that. Think of TB and how long the sequence of SP getting the bombs. In today's films that would either be done off screen or edited in such a way to speed right by it.

    I think this speeding up as also had an effect on the character of James Bond. He no longer is seen entering night clubs to find info. He is a "blunt instrument" and as such there is no time for niceties.

    The Bond film have generally had less time for romance. So while Bond and Domino sitting on a beach talking about her brother would be played another way. Think of Swann and Bond meeting and most of their dialogue taking place on the run. Even the train scene from SP is really condensed to the point where there really isn't much character development.

    I wish for the Bond of old, but is that because I long for a simpler time. Where the bad guys were easily identified and the woman were either on the side of right and virtue or out to kill Bond. Another thought, when is the last time Bond had to deal with a true femme fatale? Onatopp?

    Not much on the allies either. Felix Leiter was played with such blandness I doubt many could tell you the actor that played him in CR and QOS. Would a relationship between Bond and his ally allow for some character development? For sure. They teased it with Mathis then threw that away in QOS. While Leiter and Bond seem to be good friends we haven't really seen why. Will we see a Kerim Bay? A Marc-Ange Draco? Even a Columbo? Looks like this Bond is a one agent guy.

    So have we lost James Bond. Well we have lost the character of the 60', 70's and 80's. We have gained a gritty character. Who may lack some suave and sophistication but makes up for it with his take no prisoners attitude. We have a Bond who longer really flirts with Moneypenny, or antagonizes Q. We have a Bond for this day and age and while that seems to be gold at the Box Office I can't help but lament for the Bond of old.

    I agree to a certain extend. I see they're stil trying to put those elements in, like Moneypenny and Bond (shaving, in the bar in Macau) but it's necessarily brief and you have to pay attention to it. Same goes by the way for Craigs humour. Perhaps he plays it a bit too cool for modern audiences to pick up on it. I've got a feeling too much needs to be explained. This makes again for unrealistic dialogue.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 959
    Yes Craig's humour is very subtle. Nothing wrong with that at all. Not sure I can see him delivering lines such as "Mind if my partner sits this one out...she's just dead." Or "I think he got the point." Forget about Moore's humour that's very far removed from Craig.

    Yes they've brought back certain elements. Moneypenny to me was ruined when we discovered her back story and know that she was once an agent. I always liked that we didn't really know when or where Bond and Moneypenny met. We didn't know how or when the flirting started. We first see Bond sit on Moneypenny's chair and pretend to dance. It's fun and playful. In today's movie it wouldn't work. The MeToo movement would be all over it. I think the right balance was acheived between Brosnan's portrayal and Bond as Moneypenny. Not sure that Harris and Craig have the same chemistry.

    Take the flirting with Moneypenny away and you remove some of the character of the Bond we remember. No man would get away with that behaviour today and so there goes the way to establish that Bond is a ladies man who can playfully flirt and be wanted by women. Instead we have the dynamic of Bond and Moneypenny having worked in the field together. She doesn't fawn over him and he doesn't flirt with her.

    Bond isn't given the chance to know it all. He hasn't really shown the taste for the finer things. They established how he came to get his martini recipe. But no scenes where he can show he knows the temp of sake, the indifferently blended brandy, etc. This undermines a lot of the character. Bond was an expert in many things (except diamonds) and that really has been taken away from him. Don't even get me started with his smoking. The literary Bond smoked like a chimney today's movie audiences wouldn't buy the smoking. Again another piece of the character is removed. Oh and even the touch of his throwing the hat at the rack which showed how he's just all that and a bag of chips. Gone when the hat styles went out. These little things all added tot he character and made him different. It made men want to be him and ladies want to be with him. Now he's not really much different then any of the other action heroes of his time.

    Can these elements return? I think there are ways to make it happen. I don't think it can all be laid at Craig's feet. I think the filmmakers are trying to appeal to today's cinema audience. Some for artistic reasons, some for societal changes.
  • edited February 20 Posts: 860
    @thedove, I like what you say, especially thinking of your last paragraph. I think Bond needs to keep going to the edge, pushing the envelope, despite today's social issues. I thought earlier about his pushing the envelope in respect to stunts, like the ski stunt in TSWLM among others, though they're momentary show pieces. I guess I wasn't too impressed by the explosions in SP. About what the future holds, I think we have to take it one step at a time, first hoping the next film is good and written well with a good story. I can't help thinking that, after Craig goes, the producers should really get new writers--for a new take on the stories and a new type of dialogue. No doubt after all this time, Purvis, Wade and Haggis know about the character, but maybe they've run low on ideas--they date all the way back to TWINE, and Wade was one writer on GE. I vote for new blood. I say that despite knowing that, through so many of the early "classic" Bond films, you had Richard Maibaum as screenwriter, and to a lesser extent, Tom Mankiewicz. (Maibaum wrote all the way up through License to Kill.) And I'm guessing the next Bond actor could bring a few new twists to the character, or should I say, put a new stamp on old or existing characteristics.

    We know many descriptions of the Bond character, but I just read on Wikipedia quotes of Ian Fleming from a 1964 Playboy interview, talking about Bond: "I don't think that he is necessarily a good guy or a bad guy. Who is? He's got his vices and very few perceptible virtues except patriotism and courage, which are probably not virtues anyway ... But I didn't intend for him to be a particularly likeable person." And, "James Bond is a healthy, violent, noncerebral man in his middle-thirties, and a creature of his era. I wouldn't say he's particularly typical of our times, but he's certainly of the times." That last bit about being "of the times" offers hope, if any is needed (though I doubt it is) for Bond in the future, because I'm confident Bond occupies a unique niche. My opinion about the above descriptions is that they largely fit all the Bonds except Moore and Brosnan--no offense, since Moore is one of my faves, and I thought Brosnan did well too.

    From "Ian Fleming - The CBC Interview" on YouTube, Fleming said his books were meant for "warm-blooded heterosexual adults, you know, in beds and railway trains and aeroplanes. They're not meant for schoolboys". And he talked about how spying is a "dirty" trade, but he thought people liked his books because they have pace, plenty of action, and espionage is seen as very romantic. In the video "Desert Island Discs- Ian Fleming (1963)", he speaks of Bond's guts and "very lively appetites". He talked about how some critics at that time thought the books depicted too much sadism and sex. About the sadism, Fleming said he toned down what actually can happen in real life. About the sex in the books, Fleming said he didn't find any harm in that, since Bond had about one woman per book, one a year, was a bachelor and traveled 'round the world. The interviewer asked, "How much longer do you think you can keep Bond going? Is he a job for life?" And Fleming replied, "I don't know, it just depends on how much more I can go on following his adventures".

    @thedove mentioned Bond's smoking. The CDC in the U.S. said that in 2016, 26% of youth-rated G, PG and PG-13 movies had tobacco imagery in them, but some people want movies that feature tobacco imagery to get an "R" rating. However, vaping is apparently popular or acceptable in many movies--not sure if Bond would stoop to that.
  • barryt007barryt007 Stalking Kara Milovy with an elephant gun and a chainsaw.
    Posts: 17,348
    Bond vaping ? bloody hell I hope not.
    Considering it was DAD that we last saw Bond smoke,i don't think it will be back for the present.

    But his personality and mannerisms MUST be kept.
  • Posts: 3,801
    @thedove Great post and fair points. The script writers IMHO have missed a chance regarding seeing the character evolve rather than just seeing a new Bond. They could have had fun seeing him reject the offer of a smoke or seeing him throw someone elses hat onto a hat stand etc. (And the MP relationship has been trashed)

    . Small little references to a previous era without upsetting the PC brigade. Your post makes me a little sad as it reminds us of an era when Bond had style and time for a little frivolity.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Station B, Belgium
    Posts: 3,252
    patb wrote: »
    @thedove Great post and fair points. The script writers IMHO have missed a chance regarding seeing the character evolve rather than just seeing a new Bond. They could have had fun seeing him reject the offer of a smoke or seeing him throw someone elses hat onto a hat stand etc. (And the MP relationship has been trashed)

    . Small little references to a previous era without upsetting the PC brigade. Your post makes me a little sad as it reminds us of an era when Bond had style and time for a little frivolity.

    Quite right. I think rebooting the character was a poor idea, trying to emulate Nolan’s Batman. CR would have benefitted from continuing from where the last actor left. Much in the same way as TLD and GE before it.
  • Posts: 3,801
    The expert knowledge was also useful in providing room for gentle, playful banter (and affection) between Bond and M. OHMSS butterfly scene a perfect example. Nothing to do with the plot but a lovely little scene that plays very well and adds to the Bond legacy. Easy to leave out or cut but sometimes it's these little things that can add to a more rounded and loved character. Now the Craig Bond is well established, it's impossible to imagine him carrying off such a scene. (all of the other versions of Bond would have been fine with that scene IMHO, particularly RM)
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Station B, Belgium
    Posts: 3,252
    Part of the problem is what the producers think modern audiences want to see. They seem to be convinced that people today are not into more refined and subtle tastes. And although such tastes have become rare, I’d say many Bond fans are still into them.
  • barryt007barryt007 Stalking Kara Milovy with an elephant gun and a chainsaw.
    Posts: 17,348
    GoldenGun wrote: »
    Part of the problem is what the producers think modern audiences want to see. They seem to be convinced that people today are not into more refined and subtle tastes. And although such tastes have become rare, I’d say many Bond fans are still into them.

    Exactly...Bond fans do not think the same way as Marvel,Star Wars,DC fans etc.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 959
    patb wrote: »
    @thedove Great post and fair points. The script writers IMHO have missed a chance regarding seeing the character evolve rather than just seeing a new Bond. They could have had fun seeing him reject the offer of a smoke or seeing him throw someone elses hat onto a hat stand etc. (And the MP relationship has been trashed)

    . Small little references to a previous era without upsetting the PC brigade. Your post makes me a little sad as it reminds us of an era when Bond had style and time for a little frivolity.

    Thanks! I was on a roll! LOL! I like your thoughts on how to bring back some elements. I too get wistful thinking of where the character was and now is.
  • Posts: 2,017
    Just wanted to say this thread is truly marvelous, and well written by most. I agree with most of what’s been said. Well done, everyone. It’s actually a pleasure to reread some entries, if at the same time sad because of the factual nature of the subject. I still hope there will come a time when Bond will be allowed a return to form, not acting wise, Dan is wonderful in that department, but in character traits we’ve been missing. Cheers
  • Posts: 3,801
    I was thinking, there are so many ways to bridge the gap between modern culture and classic Bond: Imagine Bond in bed post bonk and he sees a small tattoo of a blue butterfly on the Bond girl's thigh:
    "Cupido minimus, unusual in these parts"
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 4,822
    @Thrasos I agree with the general feeling of your post. I too wish for different writers, I think P&W have been exhausted for some time. They worked well on CR (except for the little finger remark) but that's because they finally could make CR, and they had a full novel to work with.
    I think CR and QoS are somewhere in the beginning of Bond's career, and SF and SP are far later. No matter that the time setting or stories don't correspond. Bond never was about continuity. Maybe more like Mad Max, a legend rather than a corresponding story-arc. That's also why I'm not too fond of what they di with SP.
    Personally I like the way current Moneypenny and Bond interact, and I don't mind the backstory much, but I understand why some dont like it. Again it wasn't necessary, he could've been shot by, let's say 006 ;-)

    I think in SP they just made many small wrong choices, and rather than support the other films Craig's made, they're pulled down. Which is a pity and I guess an effect that will fade away, just like DAD pulled Brosnan down, until people start to realise it doesn't make GE a bad film.

    Considering Fleming's remarks, Craig may even be the closest incarnation to the literary Bond ( I don't completely agree with Fleming, Lit. Bond usually roots for the little guy/ weaker side, which does make him a 'better' person, or at least 'not a bad person'). But movies need a bit more show than that, and I guess the other Bonds, even Dalton, did have a little bit more glamour then Craig has.
  • Posts: 13,180
    A fantastic post thedove. Here are my thoughts.
    thedove wrote: »
    Yes Craig's humour is very subtle. Nothing wrong with that at all. Not sure I can see him delivering lines such as "Mind if my partner sits this one out...she's just dead." Or "I think he got the point." Forget about Moore's humour that's very far removed from Craig.

    Craig could make this type of line work. I truly believe any actor could. I don't believe you'd see if in a film today because it would be deemed inappropriate. You just couldn't do it. It would push things too far. Can you imagine the headlines?!
    thedove wrote: »
    Yes they've brought back certain elements. Moneypenny to me was ruined when we discovered her back story and know that she was once an agent. I always liked that we didn't really know when or where Bond and Moneypenny met. We didn't know how or when the flirting started. We first see Bond sit on Moneypenny's chair and pretend to dance. It's fun and playful. In today's movie it wouldn't work. The MeToo movement would be all over it. I think the right balance was acheived between Brosnan's portrayal and Bond as Moneypenny. Not sure that Harris and Craig have the same chemistry.

    Take the flirting with Moneypenny away and you remove some of the character of the Bond we remember. No man would get away with that behaviour today and so there goes the way to establish that Bond is a ladies man who can playfully flirt and be wanted by women. Instead we have the dynamic of Bond and Moneypenny having worked in the field together. She doesn't fawn over him and he doesn't flirt with her.

    Like you say, this wouldn't be seen as right so the romantic aspect of the character can't be what it should. The films can't be seen to show Bond as the man women wish they could be with. So, no more scenes of Bond asking a female receptionist if there are any messages for him in, before she sighs as Bond walks away up the stairs, James Bond theme playing.
    thedove wrote: »
    Bond isn't given the chance to know it all. He hasn't really shown the taste for the finer things. They established how he came to get his martini recipe. But no scenes where he can show he knows the temp of sake, the indifferently blended brandy, etc. This undermines a lot of the character. Bond was an expert in many things (except diamonds) and that really has been taken away from him.

    Sophistication. That's what it was. Other characters acknowledgement of Bond being correct - through praise or frustration - showed us, the audience, this guy know what he was talking about.

    He would do the sane with M who would praise Bond on what he know of the assignment he was being briefed on but would also give us more information himself. 007 wasn't any old agent M could find on the day, it proved to us why he was getting the best of the best and he would also show distaste for Bond somehow. But again, today this attitude or trait could be seen as not right for the lead in action/spy film series.
    thedove wrote: »
    Can these elements return? I think there are ways to make it happen. I don't think it can all be laid at Craig's feet. I think the filmmakers are trying to appeal to today's cinema audience. Some for artistic reasons, some for societal changes.

    Commander Bond seems to be no more. As does, going undercover and being prisoner of the villain for the end of the film. Again, I can only think these things have been looked on as not the right fit for an action film today because the people that make the films are well aware of their existence and are choosing not to use them.

    Bond will no longer check his hotel room, if he stays anywhere long enough!, for bugs.

    The changing times have made Bond change too. Today you would not see a film set in one foreign location, so we'll never get to ease up on the pace of the story. It must be three, four or more. Audiences would cry "is that it? I spent xxx to go to only xxx in 2 hours". And no colourful ally Bond would meet in this location, that'll be funny, clever, provide banter, and be useful to 007 only to die later on giving the story real stakes. Today Bond is a one man army - yeah, no big battles at the end either. Today Bond's alleys are M, Q and Moneypenny. They provide to same feature to the story but aren't as interesting characters.

    Society has killed 007, not EON and it is something sadly that I can't think will change any time soon.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 9,683
    With the general negativity that abounds and the recent talk of 62-02 and 06-present being demonstrably different eras, I was reminded of this stirring and excellent edit which, to me, beautifully showcases what I think is ‘Bond’ plain and simple.

  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 4,822
    @Samuel001 The receptionist in CR? Ambrosia or whatever the tennisgirl's name is? The receptionist at the airport in QoS? They all definately wanted 'to be with' Bond.

    @RC7 thank you, that was fun to watch!
  • Posts: 13,180
    They're great moments. Would love one as Bond checks into a hotel and asks if there are any messages for him.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 959
    Wonderful thread and some great points raised. Yes I had forgotten the hotel receptionist who sigh's as Bond climbs the steps. Maybe the sophistication can return, although some may think it's snobbery.

    I love what you said @Samuel001 when you said people either praised Bond or showed their frustration. Very true. I even miss Bond and the villain meeting and just talking with deeper levels going on. Think of Largo and Bond in TB when Bond has come over for lunch. Yes we saw Greene hold a charity function and some mingling there but it was missing some of the elements the older films had.

    Should be interesting to see what we get in Craig's finale. I can't see too much of a departure of his character. However when the successor is named there may be a chance to add back some of the elements we've been missing the last 14 years.
  • Posts: 860
    @RC7, great video! I got chills.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe 1962 - 2002 RIP
    Posts: 6,819
    RC7 wrote: »
    With the general negativity that abounds and the recent talk of 62-02 and 06-present being demonstrably different eras, I was reminded of this stirring and excellent edit which, to me, beautifully showcases what I think is ‘Bond’ plain and simple.


    Yes, and you can edit certain scenes from the Star Wars prequels so they appear congruous with the Original Trilogy, doesn't mean the films themselves are the same. That says more about the skills of the editor who stitched that video together than it does about EON or their output as of late.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 9,683
    RC7 wrote: »
    With the general negativity that abounds and the recent talk of 62-02 and 06-present being demonstrably different eras, I was reminded of this stirring and excellent edit which, to me, beautifully showcases what I think is ‘Bond’ plain and simple.


    Yes, and you can edit certain scenes from the Star Wars prequels so they appear congruous with the Original Trilogy, doesn't mean the films themselves are the same. That says more about the skills of the editor who stitched that video together than it does about EON or their output as of late.

    Don’t worry, this wasn’t for you @Misery4Lyfe.
  • barryt007barryt007 Stalking Kara Milovy with an elephant gun and a chainsaw.
    Posts: 17,348
    Looks like my thread is getting some nice appreciation and some great conversation.

    Personally,i would have loved to see the dinner and card game between Blofeld and Bond in SP that led to the torture scene.

    That could have changed the dynamic of the whole film in a positive way !!!
  • Posts: 2,017
    barryt007 wrote: »
    Looks like my thread is getting some nice appreciation and some great conversation.

    Personally,i would have loved to see the dinner and card game between Blofeld and Bond in SP that led to the torture scene.

    That could have changed the dynamic of the whole film in a posi
    tive way !!!

    It really would. I remember liking that scene in the script, well, most of it anyway.
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