Reunion with Death - early third Dalton treatment?

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  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,392
    It always amazes me that the producers have a clear vision of what Bond should say but not where they should place him. Bond at the rodeo or fighting robots just isn't Bondian in my mind, especially Timothy's Bond.

    I remember reading Some Kind Of Hero, they mention during the TWINE section the producers telling the writers "Bond never reveals anything about himself" which is perfect analysis about the character but some of the situations they place him in are baffling
  • Posts: 13,744
    Venutius wrote: »
    Indeed. Fembots -v- Austin Powers is one thing, but robot assassins in an actual Bond film? It'd be like copying Austin and Dr. Evil by making Bond and Blofleld brothers. Oh, wait...
    Actually, some idiot suit at Universal tried to push Doug Liman into making Jason Bourne a robot at one point! Hence the spoof in American Ultra where the kid who doesn't know he's a deactivated CIA super assassin (in a town called 'Liman'...) goes 'Something weird's happening. I keep killing people - there's a chance I may be a robot!'
    The only blessing about no third Dalton film is it kept the robots at bay...

    It would have been worse than Blofeld being Bond's stepbrother. MR and DAD were too heavy with sci-fi elements, but Dalton would have been the worst Bond actor to work with a sci-fi heavy film. Especially after LTK. His whole tenure would have been seen as schizophrenic.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 10,466
    I guess Daniel Craig just had a film with nanobots, bionic eyes and sci fi hovering magnet bomb things and I thought it still all fitted in the world of his Bond (I'm sure someone will soon tell us they thought it didn't!); and Craig's first film featured no gadgets at all apart from a tracker implant, whereas Dalton had an Aston Martin with a rocket motor! Depending on how it was all handled it might have worked fine.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 4,828
    The robots are clearly influenced by Terminator.
  • Posts: 147
    With regards to the robots, I don't believe for a moment it would've ended up that way if they'd filmed it. As Mark Edlitz pointed out, plenty of ideas that've been intended for use in one film end up being recycled later on, but that one still hasn't been used. So, if they were serious about using it there's a good chance they'd have done it at some point in the 90s but they obviously resisted.
  • Posts: 13,744
    mtm wrote: »
    I guess Daniel Craig just had a film with nanobots, bionic eyes and sci fi hovering magnet bomb things and I thought it still all fitted in the world of his Bond (I'm sure someone will soon tell us they thought it didn't!); and Craig's first film featured no gadgets at all apart from a tracker implant, whereas Dalton had an Aston Martin with a rocket motor! Depending on how it was all handled it might have worked fine.

    I think they were going to far in sci-fi territory in NTTD. But it sort of held together. Robots, androids, in the 90s especially that would have been too much. It would be too much now.
  • edited February 25 Posts: 2,537
    I can understand having reflexive distaste toward idea of anything involving Bond and robots, but I fail to see how anyone who's read the synopsis with an open mind could still dismiss it.

    The film would have been high-tech, but not a sci-fi extravaganza. The treatment says the "robotic devices referred to in this outline are complex and exotic machines designed...for specific tasks and environments. They are not humanoid in form." The only exception would have come late in the film and be revealed as just another surveillance robot in human disguise.

    The film's story has relatively down-to-earth roots in government threats to the 00 section, industrial espionage, and superconductors. The inclusion of one wildly implausible element is in keeping with Bond tradition, right down to the impossible nanobots of NTTD. For a Bond film to not have a single outrageous element would have been more unusual.

    Nan, the robot henchwoman, is a minor character, not even the primary henchperson (that would be Rodin). She's introduced as a mute woman in the background; in her next scene she's told to kill Bond, unmasked as another of Sir Henry Lee Ching's security robots, and dispatched shortly afterward. That's all.

    As Elditz writes, "the character Nan was not conceived with the intention of making a robot a central figure in the film; rather it was an attempt to dramatically expand on the premise that the villain plans to use cutting-edge technology to achieve his ends. In the outline, Nan doesn’t talk, which is possibly an attempt to keep the film from getting too outlandish, like the invisible car in Die Another Day, and risk disrupting the audience’s fragile suspension of disbelief."

    The idea that the film would have been Dalton's DAD doesn't stand up. The problem with DAD was too many outrageous concepts: the invisible car, gene-therapy, race-changing, the ice palace, etc. This treatment (which if filmed would probably would have been named GoldenEye) only has one, and it's reserved for a minor character and not integral to the plot. And unlike MR, the story doesn't literally fly off into space--the climax involves Bond sabotaging a fire pump to flood Sir Henry's headquarters.

    And even if some fans might not have liked the film, the public might well have. Let's remember that no Bond film was ever penalized at the box office for being too sci-fi. MR and DAD were big hits! Dalton needed a lighter, more flamboyant Bond film--the sort the public expected from the series--to course-correct from LTK. This story was just what the doctor ordered. Would it have caused his tenure to be viewed as schizophrenic? No more than the change from MR to FYEO did for Moore's. The public wanted a bigger, bolder, and less dark Bond film, and this treatment might have been Dalton's TSWLM. And even if it was his DAD, then at least it would have made lots of money and kept him in the role longer.
  • Revelator wrote: »
    I don't think there was any chance it would ever get filmed, even if Giancarlo Paretti hadn't been looting MGM/UA at the time.
    I haven't read the book yet, but, Reunion with Death was written after the end of the end of the Giancarlo Paretti affair: Richard Smith was announced by Variety in 1993 (https://variety.com/1993/film/news/danjaq-on-bond-wagon-with-two-script-deals-107186/); it would have followed Dalton's Goldeneye, thus the presence in the script of Loelia Ponsonby, already introduced in France's first draft for Goldeneye. But yeah, I agree this script was slightly underwhelming and, of all the Bond 18 rejected pitchs, Donald E. Westlake's Forever And A Death would have better fit Dalton in my opinion (and had a better commercial potential).

    I think you might be confusing Bond 17 and 18. Dalton's potential third Bond film would have been Bond 17. Donald E. Westlake submitted a script for Bond 18 (which turned out to be Tomorrow Never Dies) while Brosnan was Bond. Unless I'm misreading your post.
    Ludovico wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    I guess Daniel Craig just had a film with nanobots, bionic eyes and sci fi hovering magnet bomb things and I thought it still all fitted in the world of his Bond (I'm sure someone will soon tell us they thought it didn't!); and Craig's first film featured no gadgets at all apart from a tracker implant, whereas Dalton had an Aston Martin with a rocket motor! Depending on how it was all handled it might have worked fine.

    I think they were going to far in sci-fi territory in NTTD. But it sort of held together. Robots, androids, in the 90s especially that would have been too much. It would be too much now.

    I would actually be all for more "outrageous" elements in Bond, so long as they are handled in a realistic manner on screen (and by that I mean neither any of the wonky science tenuously explaining how the all-powerful, reverse deus ex machina nanobots work in NTTD nor any of the Sega Genesis-grade CGI in DAD). But if the concepts are futuristic and feel like they could really be a part of our world or one that's just a step into the future, I'm all for it. Put Bond in outer space again but with a serious script and visual effects the quality of Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. Send in the killer Blade Runner robots. Give us James Bond vs. dinosaurs. Release the giant squid. Go wild with it, but make it look real enough and make the story strong enough that we believe it's really happening. That could be a really fresh way to move forward from Craig's era and a really great way to shake up the series.
  • edited February 25 Posts: 603
    I think you might be confusing Bond 17 and 18. Dalton's potential third Bond film would have been Bond 17. Donald E. Westlake submitted a script for Bond 18 (which turned out to be Tomorrow Never Dies) while Brosnan was Bond. Unless I'm misreading your post.
    Dalton's potential fourth film ("Reunion With Death") would have been Bond 18, a script written at the same time as Goldeneye (Michael France's original draft thought for Dalton). Revelator was noting that "Reunion With Death" was somehow lacking commercial potential, this is why I mentioned Donald E. Westlake since I think his ideas, even if written with Brosnan in mind, would have better fit Dalton than "Reunion With Death".

    Revelator wrote: »
    The film's story has relatively down-to-earth roots in government threats to the 00 section, industrial espionage, and superconductors. The inclusion of one wildly implausible element is in keeping with Bond tradition, right down to the impossible nanobots of NTTD. For a Bond film to not have a single outrageous element would have been more unusual.
    Especially since the Nan character could have easily be all together cut in future rewrites, if the project was green lighted. Honestly, the thing that always bothered me the most in this script was the lack of Fleming's elements.
  • DeathToSpies84DeathToSpies84 Haydock, England
    edited February 25 Posts: 227
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Revelator wrote: »
    To get the thread back on topic, has anyone here read the summary of Reunion With Death in The Lost Adventures of James Bond? It's been a while since I did, but my first impression was that the story, despite the Japan setting and nods to Fleming, was slightly underwhelming and didn't have enough commercial potential. I don't think there was any chance it would have been filmed, even if Giancarlo Paretti hadn't been looting MGM/UA at the time.

    As for the two other script summaries in the book, I think the Hong Kong-set film, with the cat burglar and robots, would have been a winner and could have possibly drawn back audiences. The other script summary didn't sit right with me, especially the ghastly comic relief sequence of Bond at the rodeo.

    The robots were a terrible idea. It would have been Dalton's DAD.

    Agreed. If they had toned the robot idea down or scrapped it all together (Looking at you, Nan) in favour of a more high-tech suspense thriller, Dalton’s third would have been less outlandish.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,392
    I wonder if the third Dalton film would have had his Bond being more of a ladies man or kept a more consistent tone for his Bond
  • Posts: 13,744
    Revelator wrote: »
    I can understand having reflexive distaste toward idea of anything involving Bond and robots, but I fail to see how anyone who's read the synopsis with an open mind could still dismiss it.

    The film would have been high-tech, but not a sci-fi extravaganza. The treatment says the "robotic devices referred to in this outline are complex and exotic machines designed...for specific tasks and environments. They are not humanoid in form." The only exception would have come late in the film and be revealed as just another surveillance robot in human disguise.

    The film's story has relatively down-to-earth roots in government threats to the 00 section, industrial espionage, and superconductors. The inclusion of one wildly implausible element is in keeping with Bond tradition, right down to the impossible nanobots of NTTD. For a Bond film to not have a single outrageous element would have been more unusual.

    Nan, the robot henchwoman, is a minor character, not even the primary henchperson (that would be Rodin). She's introduced as a mute woman in the background; in her next scene she's told to kill Bond, unmasked as another of Sir Henry Lee Ching's security robots, and dispatched shortly afterward. That's all.

    As Elditz writes, "the character Nan was not conceived with the intention of making a robot a central figure in the film; rather it was an attempt to dramatically expand on the premise that the villain plans to use cutting-edge technology to achieve his ends. In the outline, Nan doesn’t talk, which is possibly an attempt to keep the film from getting too outlandish, like the invisible car in Die Another Day, and risk disrupting the audience’s fragile suspension of disbelief."

    The idea that the film would have been Dalton's DAD doesn't stand up. The problem with DAD was too many outrageous concepts: the invisible car, gene-therapy, race-changing, the ice palace, etc. This treatment (which if filmed would probably would have been named GoldenEye) only has one, and it's reserved for a minor character and not integral to the plot. And unlike MR, the story doesn't literally fly off into space--the climax involves Bond sabotaging a fire pump to flood Sir Henry's headquarters.

    And even if some fans might not have liked the film, the public might well have. Let's remember that no Bond film was ever penalized at the box office for being too sci-fi. MR and DAD were big hits! Dalton needed a lighter, more flamboyant Bond film--the sort the public expected from the series--to course-correct from LTK. This story was just what the doctor ordered. Would it have caused his tenure to be viewed as schizophrenic? No more than the change from MR to FYEO did for Moore's. The public wanted a bigger, bolder, and less dark Bond film, and this treatment might have been Dalton's TSWLM. And even if it was his DAD, then at least it would have made lots of money and kept him in the role longer.

    I don't care if the killer robot was meant to be very secondary character. It's already too far into sci-fi that it would exists! In DAD, one of the elements you mention alone would have been too many.
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    Posts: 1,136
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I wonder if the third Dalton film would have had his Bond being more of a ladies man or kept a more consistent tone for his Bond

    At what point would he have found out that he'd been squiring fembots?!
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,392
    Venutius wrote: »
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I wonder if the third Dalton film would have had his Bond being more of a ladies man or kept a more consistent tone for his Bond

    At what point would he have found out that he'd been squiring fembots?!

    Hahaha that's the 3rd act twist
  • edited February 25 Posts: 2,537
    Venutius wrote: »
    At what point would he have found out that he'd been squiring fembots?!

    He never would have. Bond had two love interests in the treatment, a Chinese agent and a cat burglar; neither were robots. The folks scoffing most at the treatment should try reading more about it.
    Ludovico wrote: »
    I don't care if the killer robot was meant to be very secondary character. It's already too far into sci-fi that it would exists!

    The Bond series has a tradition of including technology advanced and implausible enough to be sci-fi. You might not like that but audiences do. Bond's Aston Martins couldn't have fully functioned as a real-life road cars with all those gadgets; the amphibious Lotus in TSWLM still can't work in real life as a proper car and proper submarine; Bond's magnetic wrist watch in LALD was ludicrously powerful; YOLT had a rocket-eating relaunchable space ship that couldn't exist at the time (and still doesn't) and the same goes for the tanker in TSWLM; Blofeld's hypnotic techniques in OHMSS were wildly implausible; MR had a space station out of the future and a Buck Rogers laser gun battle (which carried on the tradition of unrealistic laser-weapons in GF and TMWTGG); NTTD had its impossible nanobots and magnet magic; and DAD speaks for itself. So getting bent out of shape over a security robot disguised as a human seems silly to me, especially since audiences have never rejected a Bond film for having a sci-fi element.
  • Posts: 13,744
    Well there's a mountain of difference between a far-fetched gadget and something which is pure, "hard" sci-fi. An android is "pure" sci-fi. The Aston Martin was far-fetched, but all the gadgets on it were real physical gadgets. OHMSS may have the hypnotic therapy, but overall ot was pretty grounded and biological warfare was not, is not implausible. I'd argue that YOLT, TSWLM and MR all went too far into the sci-fi realm. And don't get me started on DAD! In any case, I'm not sure that "audiences" want that. Audiences are not a monolithic block, for one. And they can overlook one outlandish aspect or one deus ex machina if the rest is believable. Cyborgs, androids and clones don't belong to a Bond film, even less than a magical invisible car.
  • edited February 25 Posts: 2,537
    Ludovico wrote: »
    Well there's a mountain of difference between a far-fetched gadget and something which is pure, "hard" sci-fi. An android is "pure" sci-fi.

    An android, defined as a robot with a human appearance, is not sci-fi--androids exist in real life, though obviously not in the sense of a Terminator robot. Having one in a Bond film would have been continuing the tradition of using technology that had its roots in reality but was far in advance of its time.
    OHMSS may have the hypnotic therapy, but overall it was pretty grounded

    Blofeld's hypnotic technique was sheer malarkey though.
    I'd argue that YOLT, TSWLM and MR all went too far into the sci-fi realm... In any case, I'm not sure that "audiences" want that.

    The audiences certainly made those films hits. They have punished the more down-to-earth Bonds but have never forsaken the outlandish Bond films with sci-fi elements.
    And they can overlook one outlandish aspect or one deus ex machina if the rest is believable.

    I agree and submit that the security robot would have fallen under that category, since the treatment was otherwise believable.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Senior Goldfarb, Seymour
    Posts: 5,302
    I read that script about the robots a while back, and enjoyed it. I'm more open to the idea of a female android than I was back then, provided it's brief. In that script, apparently it was.

    Had that story been used for a third Dalton film, his tenure would have had some healthy variation in it.
  • Posts: 13,841
    I liked the B17 treatment with Connie Webb, the robots, etc. It's a pity Eon doesn't develop scripts for future Bond films anymore. These days it's whenever they get around to making one.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 10,466
    It’s not as if they used it though, so what’s the difference? :)
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    Posts: 1,136
    Revelator wrote: »
    He never would have. Bond had two love interests in the treatment, a Chinese agent and a cat burglar; neither were robots. The folks scoffing most at the treatment should try reading more about it.

    Yeah, there's these things called 'jokes', see, and...oh, never mind.

  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    Posts: 1,136
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    Jordo007 wrote: »
    I wonder if the third Dalton film would have had his Bond being more of a ladies man or kept a more consistent tone for his Bond
    At what point would he have found out that he'd been squiring fembots?!

    Hahaha that's the 3rd act twist
    :D
  • Posts: 1,070
    Actually, though, a good deal of what folks scoff at in Bond books and films are real. Some nuclear material remains unaccounted for (TB). Lasers are used for industrial practices and "coloring it" red is a fictional device which allows the audience to see it and where it is aimed (GF, MR). Space stations have been built and used for years now (MR), though not with simulated gravity, which is another cinematic device largely for the benefit of the audience. The hypnosis employed by Blofeld in OHMSS is no more outlandish than was the hypnosis used in The Manchurian Candidate, both times that film was made. DAD catches criticism for a variety of things - such as the poor fX in the "wind-surfing" scene, but most people complain about the invisible car more than other aspects. Of all things ! Particularly since "invisibility" as employed in the film would not be classic invisibility. That is: No one saw THROUGH the car. They saw tiny video monitors which transmit images of whatever is on the far side of the car, thereby showing the person what is on the other side. I recall reading about the development of such devices and experimentation with them - albeit on a smaller, simpler scale than an object as large as an automobile - years before DAD was released. As for one spaceship capturing another, I read within the last week that China may soon start using a ship to seize and toss "space junk" - not capturing it (YOLT), but that could be a variation on what they plan to do. The spaceship in YOLT which returns to earth, rights itself, and lands, so as to be re-used ? Presently the case with private ships ! Jamming radio signals and causing another party's equipment to malfunction (DN) ? Using a laser to negatively affect the operation of equipment (DAF) ? Hacking goes on every day ! No, Fleming in DN and the producers in DAF did not envision internet-based actions, but the techniques they envisioned are not so outlandish, certainly not now. The jet-pack in TB ? That already was in use back then, and you can do it recreationally now. I am not saying the ideas were not fantastic at the time, but that is how is with sci-fi - some of it comes to pass. Please don't get me wrong - I would not want Bond battling robots or androids, either. It is a matter of taste, and is quite subjective, where to draw a line between OK-for-Bond, or not. Personally, I felt that YOLT stopped short of sending Bond into space, and wisely, whereas MR went too far. Then again - what were they to do ? Unless they made MR in period, people by the time of YOLT and moreso by the time of MR w e r e going to space, and working out there...up there. Perhaps it would not have been as outlandish had they avoided the space battled with numerous players, and kept it to fewer persons involved in scenes conducted...out there. Bottom line: Bond is a hero who works here on earth, sometimes using, and sometimes against villains using the most current tech developed, even if not yet in widespread use. As for which tech ? As I said, subjective. Personally, I did not find the NTTD tech outlandish at all...unfortunately for all of us, when it is used nefariously. But androids indistinguishable from humans ? Certainly not yet ! It's over there, on the other side of that subjective line !
  • Posts: 13,744
    @Revelator Spaceships exists, but they don't go to warpspeed. Does thar mean the Entreprise is not sci-fi? A killer robot, no matter how you cut it, is pretty much out of the realm of the plausible imo.
  • Posts: 603
    Regarding Alfonse Ruggiero and Michael Wilson's Bond 17 script, I know that Ruggiero declared that the movie would probably have been named "Goldeneye", but the title never finds any echo in his draft, does it? Again, I haven't read Mark Elitz's book yet, but does his summary of the script brings any new info that would justify the use of this title for such a plot?
  • edited February 26 Posts: 2,537
    Ludovico wrote: »
    @Revelator Spaceships exists, but they don't go to warpspeed. Does thar mean the Entreprise is not sci-fi? A killer robot, no matter how you cut it, is pretty much out of the realm of the plausible imo.

    From the New York Times: "Killer Robots Aren’t Science Fiction. A Push to Ban Them Is Growing."
    Robots can build cars and perform acts of war. Putting a human disguise on a security robot (and those already exist) is far closer to reality than hyperdrive to space ships.
    Regarding Alfonse Ruggiero and Michael Wilson's Bond 17 script, I know that Ruggiero declared that the movie would probably have been named "Goldeneye", but the title never finds any echo in his draft, does it? Again, I haven't read Mark Elitz's book yet, but does his summary of the script brings any new info that would justify the use of this title for such a plot?

    Working from interviews, Elditz writes that "Ruggiero dispels the myth that the film might take its name from Fleming’s short story “Property of a Lady” (1963). Instead, Ruggiero offers GoldenEye, the name of Fleming’s house in Jamaica and what would become the name of the seventeenth Bond film. However, Wilson and Ruggiero’s 'Bond 17 Outline' is a completely discrete story that seems to have nothing to do with the development of what would become Brosnan’s first Bond film. Their only connection appears to be that Wilson was considering using the title GoldenEye for both projects."

    The summary itself doesn't mention GoldenEye, but the name could easily be given to one of Sir Henry's security/robot systems.
  • Posts: 13,744
    You're citing an article dating back from 2021, come on! About 30 years after Dalton's "third" Bond film.
  • I think you might be confusing Bond 17 and 18. Dalton's potential third Bond film would have been Bond 17. Donald E. Westlake submitted a script for Bond 18 (which turned out to be Tomorrow Never Dies) while Brosnan was Bond. Unless I'm misreading your post.
    Dalton's potential fourth film ("Reunion With Death") would have been Bond 18, a script written at the same time as Goldeneye (Michael France's original draft thought for Dalton). Revelator was noting that "Reunion With Death" was somehow lacking commercial potential, this is why I mentioned Donald E. Westlake since I think his ideas, even if written with Brosnan in mind, would have better fit Dalton than "Reunion With Death".

    Ah, I see, thanks for clarifying. Yes, that could have been a hypothetical fourth film for Dalton.
  • edited February 28 Posts: 493
    To me, most unforgivable, egregious "technology" in the Bond series are ones involving the human body: OHMSS's hypnosis, NTTD's nano bots and bionic eyeball, and the worst of all (and I can't imagine no one has mentioned it here yet) DAD's gene therepy. I would argue a humanized robot, depending on how it's done, could be on that level. Personally, I can digest invisible cars and spaceships/boats that eats others better than the aforementioned kahooky.

    The one benefit I am reading here, is unlike the three Bond movies I mentioned, the plot doesn't hinge around it.
  • Posts: 1,070
    JamesStock wrote: »
    To me, most unforgivable, egregious "technology" in the Bond series are ones involving the human body: OHMSS's hypnosis, NTTD's nano bots and bionic eyeball, and the worst of all (and I can't imagine no one has mentioned it here yet) DAD's gene therapy. I would argue a humanized robot, depending on how it's done, could be on that level. Personally, I can digest invisible cars and spaceships/boats that eats others better than the aforementioned kahooky.

    The one benefit I am reading here, is unlike the three Bond movies I mentioned, the plot doesn't hinge around it.

    It's certainly subjective, and different folks find the absurdity line located in different places. I think the OHMSS hypnosis was ok, and I understood it was the result of many more unseen - but referenced - hours spent with each individual lady, setting them up for the windup results the audience witnesses. Nano-tech already is here, so suggesting a more advanced form of it is not, for me, beyond the realm of feasibility. Same with the eyeball, though certainly a pair of glasses or a strap-on device on the user's head would be easier and would not require loss of an eye. But - a henchman required to lose his eye ? Hey, part of the job, and he's clearly whacko. For Blofeld ? Not unless he got it AFTER he already lost his eye. (Not to wander, but I'm fuzzy on the timeline on that point. Did he get his AFTER losing his eye ? He already was in custody ! So - is SP supposed to have managed to corrupt his keepers, or have corrupt keepers already in place, as with Quantum in QOS, already in place as of the very beginning of the film ? Or was Blofeld supposed to have been using it BEFORE Bond captured him ?) Yeah - the change your face bit in DAD was far-fetched for me, too, even in terms of "not yet but soon." And I follow your body-oriented vs. other tech distinction, quite so.
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