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Very good point. I think there are two things to add:
1. It is a possibility - and Bond might be edging in that direction - that something is famed for being ever-changing and that is what people love about it. But even then you can still look at it in a kind of logarithmic way, where people want the rate of change to never change... Complicated.
2. I don't think fans want exactly the same thing over and over again. Often times what we love about something is how it surprised us when we first come across it, because it is different to everything we've ever seen before.
Paul Verhoeven wasn't wrong when he decried the lack of sex in NTTD.
I think NTTD caught the attention of some directors.
And not just Paul Verhoeven, but also Francis Ford Coppola.
Here's Coppola's statement:
“Even the talented people — you could take Dune, made by Denis Villeneuve, an extremely talented, gifted artist, and you could take No Time to Die, directed by … Cary Fukunaga — extremely gifted, talented, beautiful artists, and you could take both those movies, and you and I could go and pull the same sequence out of both of them and put them together. The same sequence where the cars all crash into each other.”
It depends on what kind of Bond film you think is the norm to begin with, as this can vary wildly from something like FRWL on one side, to DAD or MR on the other side. They are two very different types of movies.
But yes, I think Bond fans are resistant to change. There are certain expectations that come with Bond films that are an expected given - gunbarrel, PTS, title sequence, briefing with M, scene with Q to be given the latest gadget, John Barry sound, Ken Adam type sets, etc.
If you start to remove too much of this, tamper too much with the formula, tamper too much with the character of Bond himself, deviate too much from Fleming, then the film no longer becomes familiar or identifiable as a Bond film, and which then begs the question, why not use that departure for another spy vehicle instead.
Ah okay. Not quite sure what he means there! :)
Because with some of the choices the interest comes from seeing how James Bond reacts in that new situation.
He's trying to make an argument that No Time To Die and Dune are similar or interchangeable films, he also say that Dune, No Time To Die and Marvel are all the same.
Alien fans embraced Aliens through all the changes it made to the Alien mythos but they rejected Alien 3 because of its inherent botched nature due to studio interference.
Star Wars fans were with Empire when it did radical and tragic things to the characters but they rejected TLJ because of its parodical tone, overpowered female lead, irrelevant side characters, and obvious scorn showed towards Luke.
Bond fans have gone through six different actors. The series has definitely leaked fans over the decades for various reasons (Moore being too comedic, Dalton being too PC, Brosnan being too OTT, Craig being too dark, etc) but overall I'd say it's poor entries (AVTAK, DAD, etc) that fans reject and not change.
Half the fun of being a Bond film is discussing with other Bond fans what is and isn't negotiable, I would say.
Personally, I am always interested in creatives straining against and working with restrictions. That is why I like genre fiction in general and Bond as a sub-set (basically a sub-sub genre in it's own right). Genre fiction only works, when authors and filmmakers are aware of the boundaries and conventions they are working in, otherwise a horror film is no longer a horror film or an action film is no longer an action film and just as @jetsetwilly says, without the Bond tropes and characteristics, a film with James Bond in would not really be a Bond film. But to me the best genre fiction works are always those that manage to play with those boundaries without breaking them and in that process show me the boundaries and their mastery in playing around them.
That's ultimately the reason why Skyfall is my favourite Bond film. That film only works if there are already 22 other Bond films and at least 2 films with this Bond and even more with this M. It knows what the fans want and it both denies us and gives it to us.
The problem - as mentioned above - is that we can never agree on where the boundaries are ^^
Yes I get that. In CR it is the first time we have seen Bond get his balls whacked, and also recovering in hospital, and yet every fan of the books knows Bond recovering in hospital after a serious physical ordeal was the norm for Fleming Bond. You can put Bond in situations we haven't seen before and I think that makes it interesting, as long as it stays within the boundaries of the world Fleming created.
Giving Bond a daughter so we see Bond playing Daddy in the kitchen, making him retire a sad lonely man for 5 years, or killing him off completely are situations we haven't seen Bond in before, yet I wasn't exactly jumping for joy at these moments in NTTD (although I appreciate others here loved these moments). To me this strayed too far from Fleming (despite the set-up death Fleming gave Bond temporarily in FRWL).
I don't think that really makes any sense to be honest. Bond moved beyond Fleming a long time ago, it would be a bit odd to stay entirely within only what he wrote. And even before you get to that point, don't forget Fleming had him fight a giant squid, have his wife get murdered, get brainwashed, live as a Japanese fisherman with amnesia etc. - that breadth of tonal variation covers quite a lot of ground and gives writers plenty of room with him to play, I'd say. Much moreso than with, say, Sherlock Holmes who Conan Doyle kept fairly restricted in the same types of adventures and plots.
If you can cope with Bond becoming a brainwashed Russian agent in the books it doesn't feel a particularly big reach to imagine him retired on his own for 5 years (and actually basically living Fleming's life).
I think, yes, they can keep vaguely inside of the sort of thing we know Bond does and the world in which he mixes, but to keep only inside the incident which Fleming established is way too much.
But then again I was never as reverential about the Fleming books as other fans. I think they should always serve as a inspiration. But if we constrain ourselves with whether Fleming would do this or not, then we wouldn’t get wonderful oddities like MOONRAKER.
Most of the Bond films stray from Fleming but still manage to keep the fans onside (including me) because they don't stray too far. And maybe the retired life I could overlook, if the rest of the decisions made in NTTD were sound. But Bond playing daddy in the kitchen is not something I would expect to see in a Bond movie, and my heart didn't leap for joy when I saw it, neither did Bond getting blown to smithereens either.
What is there about those incidents in NTTD that you don't understand why a Bond fan wouldn't be happy with?
Yeah it's puzzling. And obviously Fleming's Bond did father a child in the books; he just never met him, so it's only slight degrees of difference; it's not even going-to-the-moon different.
My reaction to seeing CR was that those scenes of Bond and Vesper in Venice at their hotel, arm in arm and giggling like lovers, was something I'd never seen Bond do -and I don't think he ever really did that sort of thing in the books- but it was refreshing and interesting and felt appropriate to that character I was watching in that film. They didn't feel restrained by what Connery did in YOLT or anything like that, they were making a movie in the current day about the character in their script. And he was still James Bond, he was just James Bond reacting like a human.
If Bond had been played daddy in the books, the film franchise would have been vastly different many years ago if they eventually adapted this imaginary novel (which no doubt would have happened at some point).
And anything adapted from Fleming I would be happy with, so the answer is a hypothetical yes (because it never happened). ;)
Bond falling for a woman, arm-in-arm walking with her did happen frequently in the novels, so not sure where you are going with this.
That is a far easier thing to accept and absorb on screen than seeing Bond playing daddy or being killed, and you know it.
Not quite sure why you're being so aggressive, but no it's not just walking I mean, it's their demeanour of carefree, almost young, love. I never got that sort of impression of his relationships from the novels. If you did that's fine, we all get different things from books.
Can I imagine the guy in the books giving a little girl a slice of apple? Well yes, it's not really a huge or terribly wild thing for a person to do. We know he's capable of love in the books. Can I imagine him being killed? Of course, he frequently survived by luck alone in the books, he nearly gets himself killed at the end of the very first novel, and as you mentioned he basically dies at the end of FRWL, his Reichenbach moment. I actually don't understand why a Fleming fan would struggle with the idea.
Dressing up as a clown or driving a hover gondola would be the things I would imagine a Fleming purist would be upset by more.
I’ve seen this exchange several times so far regarding the ending of NTTD:
“Bond movies should leave you smiling at the end.”
“Yeah, but that’s Fleming.”
And my reply is always “so what?” Let the filmmakers take as many risks as Fleming himself did. These are Bond films, not bible scriptures.
I sorta get it, because it’s the first film and they don’t want to put off audiences too much on the first impression of a Bond film. It’s too bad though, because his demise was funny in the book. I’d hope they use it on a new villain, but after 60 years that’s probably out of the cards.
Yep, indeed. Likewise I wonder if they wouldn't have used Casino Royale as the first film even if they could have- it's not really how the adventures typically go for Bond. And they obviously then did FRWL and gave it a happy ending instead of him dying.
That’s another thing. Because they started with DN, they used that formula as the template. Because Major Boothroyd was a character in it, he became a mainstay.
Had they started with CR, would the next films have tried to carry over elements of that film the way they did after DN? There was no Boothroyd, so there wouldn’t have been a Q giving gadgets in a third film. The trajectory of the film series would have been drastically different.
I agree with basically everything you, @mtm and @ImpertinentGoon have said on this page, great posts.
To be fair to @jetsetwilly though he is at least consistent in wanting to stick religiously to the books. Not a position I agree with personally, but it’s one that makes sense. What I don’t understand is the position of fans who love films like Moonraker, but then will play the “it’s not what Fleming would’ve wanted” card when you mention something like NTTD’s ending or casting a non white actor in the role. I do get it, we all take different things from the books and see some aspects as more important than others. It’s fine not to like those changes because it doesn’t match your personal idea of Bond. But if you’re okay with the filmmakers taking some liberties, then I don’t think you can really pull that card in response to them taking others.