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And, to add my two cents, unlike Bond, neither John Carter now The Lone Ranger are movies icons. They are old classics, but do not have the same stature or popularity. When they were popular, they were through different mediums.
Regarding the OP, I am cautiously optimistic about the future of Bond. They can get it wrong for Bond 24, but so far Craig's tenure has been a critical and popular success on the whole.
And that is one of the best posts I've read on the internet! (well, certainly on this site anyway) :)
We have gone through 3 Bond movies with Craig and we still no absolutely nothing about Bond, other than some cherry picked backstory taken from the novel to make it look liked it was based on the novels. We don’t know for what Bond believes or stands. Why is he in the Double-O program?
Bond has not enunciated any belief system, probably because either EON does not care about the character development or they feel that Craig is not credible enough to articulate any idea about Bond. Today, what is special about Bond other than his name? He is bland, sexless, and quite boring. Why would I want to be Bond – for his clothes and expensive car, so I can get beaten up and then kill someone? Kim Kardashian has expensive things, I don’t want to be Kim Kardashian.
Taken the most outlandish Moore-Bond movie, this is not about Moore versus Craig or Dalton versus Craig, Moonraker. I am not interested in telling people that Moonraker was Fleming based, but if you remove all of the special effects – the story is essentially the same. It is about Good versus Evil. And Cubby was proud of this. Moore could articulate without killing someone what being good meant. We knew that Hugo Drax was evil. Did it get too comical – of course it! This was movie making. When you plopped down $3.00 to see a Bond movie in 1979, you knew who Bond was and why you were going.
Moore could utter lines and Cubby was comfortable giving him lines other than an occasional grunt. Who is Craig-Bond?? Is he Batman or is he Bourne?? Is he Frank Martin? What am I paying for?? If I want to see a mishmash of MI and Transporter and Batman, I will go see those movies. If I want to see people in fancy clothes I don't need to go to the films to see them.
Bond was also a man. He wanted women and was not ashamed of it. Bond liked to smoke and drink and gamble and was not ashamed of it. We got most of these qualities from Bronson-Bond in Goldeneye, not so much in Die Another Day.
Don't forget that the Bond franchise went from building the largest set in the movie industry (TSWLM), to having to remove locations and actions scenes because of budget cuts (SF). And that's a fact too.
Yes, must be a troll b/c all the points here are 100% wrong. Craig is the most human of all the Bonds we've had and with his 3 films there has been more character development about who Bond is than the previous 20.
please how so?
He was called as a troll almost immediately upon joining the forum but Dragonpol defended him as kosher as he's an old AJBF poster. I did think he was more likely just someone who dislikes the direction of the new films but doesn't have the capacity to relate why. I'm starting to have my doubts now.
But I have yet to read any rebuttal except name calling, which unfortunately is indicative of mental capacity of some people.
Bond has had character development. He's grown in the last 3 films. What do you want? his back-story in his Navy days?
The character of Bond and what makes him tick has been explored more in the Craig films than any other era. There are many, many posts on this forum and elsewhere on the web discussing this. If you don't think it's done well or think it's handled terribly or whatever, that's fine. To simply pretend that it's not there leads me to believe you're just on a wind-up.
In what other films did Bond enunciate a belief system? What exactly is it about his beliefs that you're unclear about?
Again, why? Explain why you think that.
I'm afraid I have no idea what any of this means. What are you saying? The movies are too morally complex now? They're not funny enough anymore?
You know that he drinks heavily in Casino Royale, right? And that QoS is the first time he gets drunk either on screen or in the Fleming novels? And that he's a borderline alcoholic in SF? And that there are several gambling scenes in CR and SF? And that he sleeps with women in them and isn't "ashamed of it"? Is it your gripe that he doesn't smoke?
Will be very interested to see if you respond.
In earlier era of the Bond film, which at the time was an extension of the Fleming novel, there was a pronounced and articulated Manichean concept that has died in the series.
I have explained Craig-Bond sexual neutrality. He has slept with women, but you have keep everything in context.
Craig-Bond doesn’t even seemed to be interested in sex. Certainly not to the extent a Moore-Bond or Brosnan-Bond. In Craig’s first outing in Casino Royale, he sleeps with Solange not necessarily because he finds her sexually attractive, but rather to get information about her husband. Then he falls in love on his very first mission, which a plot made for the Lifetime movie network.
In Quantum of Solace, he sleeps with Strawberry Fields without any discernable context.
In Skyfall, Bond seems to have animalistic sex with an unknown island girl, again, without any context and then gets involved with Severine, an unsympathetic former sex slave whose screen time is so short that there is neither no time to develop any sympathy for her nor there was really any chemistry between the two of them.
Unfortunately this was not unplanned as Barbara Broccoli said “[Bond] developed some rather distasteful pastimes but those have now receded into the past”. It sounds like to me that EON is enforcing a PC policy when it comes to Bond.
Bond doesn't derive pleasure for his actions in the Craig-Bond era, like he did the earlier eras.
This psychobabble wussification in the last movie does not count to me as character development. It goes towards the emasculation of Bond.
As fas as the plots go, they do not even hide the fact they were ripping off Batman in Skyfall. In fact the implausible plot of Skyfall cannot be denied. The sequencing and timing of the plot is beyond credulity.
Mathis says, "When one is young, it is very easy to distinguish between right and wrong. But, as one gets older, it becomes more difficult. The villains and the heroes get all mixed up." This works for the series as well. Back at the beginning (aside from early scenes with Felix in Dr. No, before he's revealed to work for the CIA), the villains were easy to spot: that guy with the fake hands, that guy with the garrote wire in his watch, the Korean with the hat. Now, much as has happened in the real world, suddenly the heroes and the villains aren't so black and white. Just realism, nothing wrong with that, or is there?
I have explained Craig-Bond sexual neutrality. He has slept with women, but you have keep everything in context.
Wait... so... Bond needs to be a sexual beast, but with meaning?
Bond's a spy, and a spy needs to use what they have to get the information they need. He sleeps with Solange to get information on Dimitrios, in order to stop his next attack. Clearly they sparked some kind of relationship, because he seems remorseful when she's discovered dead. And he falls in love with Vesper because they share genuine connections throughout the film, both being orphans and dealing with intense pressure during a tense assignment. Apparently Bond falling in love is a problem? Ever hear of On Her Majesty's Secret Service?
He slept with Fields so that she wouldn't immediately send him back to London, again, playing off the spy angle.
As for animalistic sex with the island girl, he's "enjoying death" while he's on said island (wherever the hell it is) and she was clearly there. I don't think there are any more requirements for that. Once more with the spy angle, he uses Severine to get to Silva. He didn't want to be involved with her, but he wanted her to be so smitten with him that she'll take him to her employer.
What do you mean by "wussifuication"? Giving him a past? Showing that he's a broken man? Fleming did this himself. As did previous Bond films. His parents' deaths were brought up in GoldenEye, and Tracy's death is referenced in The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and License to Kill.
I'm not gonna say much about Skyfall's plot. Yes, the timing was too outrageous (Silva clearly has the gift of sight beyond foresight) and those London cops must have been paid off almost a decade in advance (I wouldn't be surprised if Silva had a clown that was supposed to drop down from the ceiling when he pulled a cord), but them's the breaks when it comes to plotting a villain's almost stupidly drawn out revenge plot. Certainly a bit more believable than laser made of diamonds being built by one of the world's leading authorities on peace, or a space Nazi. Certainly more believable than the space Nazi.
This is an interesting and thoughtful post, and I tend to agree. It will be fascinating to see if Mendes takes it darker or lighter than SF--although one would think that Eon wouldn't let it go as dark as QoS so soon.
I do wonder about the rumored "two-film" arc and if we're finally going to see a love interest continue across films. As many have posted here, Craig is overdue for a love interest who survives.
As much as I like Moonraker and of course love its ending, I think that they'll save that material for the next Bond actor. It seems like a "younger Bond" story.
That being said, the fourth Bond for any actor is always a tricky one.
Basically, if I want a really fun time with the Bonds I like the most, I watch Dalton or Brosnan.
The others are very light to very heavy, but all are cool depending on your mood. B-)
The timing in Skyfall is sometimes really convenient, but regarding the cops, I always thought it was pretty clear that they were decoys, Silva's men passing as cops. Buying police uniforms is very easy and of course much cheaper than corrupting a team of London policemen. Getting his hands in a police vehicle, or making a fake one is also plausible for a man like Silva. What was far fetched was the timing.
Regarding the Manicheism of Bond movies, I have to somewhat disagree with you and completely disagree with Perdogg: the Craig Bond movies are just as Manichean as the others AND use the same tropes. In CR Le Chiffre is unambiguously evil and has physical deformities, in QOS Greene is a sleazy amoral dictator maker who may not be deformed but his face is Amalric's so that should count for something, in Skyfall finally we have a cruel bitter man creating havoc out of a misplaced sense of entitlement, who is literally burned inside. If Silva is ambiguous, he has the ambiguity of Lucifer.
I hadn't thought of that, but it does make sense. Yes, the timing was the biggest problem, though I'm going to reiterate my statement and say I believe it more than the space Nazi.
Don't misunderstand me, I didn't say it was gone completely. There are still obviously good and obviously evil people. It's just that now there are people who walk the ambiguous line, people like Mathis (who ended up good in QoS, anyway) or even people like Fields, who showed up to halt Bond's quest for Greene and ended up helping him and paying the price.
Silva, however, is very evil, thanks to things in his past. He's pretty much just another Trevelyan.
Oh yes, there are morally ambiguous characters in the Bond franchise, and this actually dates back from Fleming: many allies of Bond share at least some characteristics with the villains, even though they are not villainous themselves (see Umberto Eco's essay on it). And even Bond in CR wonders of Le Chiffre was really a villain.
You have to keep that in its proper context. The Nature of Evil chapter follows the chapters in which Bond was tortured, fallen in love, and generally tired after being on the job roughly 10 years. Unlike the movie where he falls in love on the very first assignment.
Yes he pontificates, hence the title of the chapter, on the nature of evil. But by the end of the novel when Vesper kills herself, he realizes that there is a difference between good and evil. This point is reinforced in Dr No at the end that novel in regards to the death of Quarrel and death Dr No's henchmen.
In the movie he falls in love on his first assignment as a 00... but he did earn his 00 status AND worked in the army before. He is not completely a rookie. And it is debatable in the novel how experienced he was as a 00. In LALD doesn't Bond mention that he has been waiting to fight SMERSH for a while? I always understood this as a sign that he still relatively new in his role, or at least that he has not worked long enough to fight SMERSH operators and thus Soviet Russia directly. In CR, he was still unsure of his place and in some aspects naive.
But in any case, there was ambiguity in the novels, or moral ambiguity was explored, in spite of or because of its Manichean stance.
I agree withyou Ludovico that Bond is relatively new to his role. In the very same chapter we're discussing, "The Nature of Evil", we find out Bond hasn't been a 00 for very long:
"In the last few years I’ve killed two villains. The first was in New York – a Japanese cipher expert cracking our codes on the thirty-sixth floor of the R.C.A. building in the Rockefeller centre [...] It was a pretty sound job. Nice and clean too [...] The next time in Stockholm wasn’t so pretty. I had to kill a Norwegian who was doubling against us for the Germans [...] and, well, he just didn’t die very quickly. For those two jobs I was awarded a Double O number in the Service."*
So, in CR Bond had killed two men "in the last few years" and been subsequently awarded the 00 number. Depending on one's definition of "a few" we can imagine that he's only been a 00 for maybe 4 years at the most? I would suggest only a year or two as - at the time of his discussion with Mathis - Bond hasn't killed anyone since being awarded his 00 number and, as we know from his subsequent adventures, the work of a 00 Agent tends to involve killing pretty regularly.
Fun (and related) bonus quiz: CR is one of only two Bond novels in which Bond doesn't kill someone. Can anyone name the other?
According to Goldfinger, CR takes place in 1951 (Goldfinger, p.19 FEL - Gildrose). The Japanese Cypher clerks could not have been in the US after 12/41. Bond has been an Double-O at least 9 years. I believe it was Moonraker.