Controversial opinions about Bond films

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  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e il momento che verrà
    Posts: 5,604
    Speaking of microstates, I hope, one day, they'd film a Bond (partly) in stunning San Marino.
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Everybody needs a hobby.
    Posts: 619
    Sadly, this has been done too recently by Mission Impossible, but the Karakoram range is a marvelous location that I would still consider as pretty exclusive. At least from a western perspective.
    1280px-Baltoro_glacier_from_air.jpg
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,777
    Sadly, this has been done too recently by Mission Impossible, but the Karakoram range is a marvelous location that I would still consider as pretty exclusive. At least from a western perspective.
    1280px-Baltoro_glacier_from_air.jpg

    Eon could always adapt Raymond Benson's High Time to Kill (1999), either in whole or in part. It features Bond climbing the third highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga and many consider it to be Benson's best Bond novel.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 4,479
    I see a lot of commentary about Australia being too boring a location...but I think you could always do a desert training mission somewhere (Hanging Rock?) or even a scene atop the Sydney Opera House (shades of AVTAK).
  • Posts: 1,586
    This might be very controversial, but I've always wondered why EON hasn't tried adapting any continuation stuff? There is just so much material, a lot of it bound to be worthwhile to mine for films.
  • Posts: 13,267
    Don't know if it's controversial but I always found Boris creepy as hell. There's just something about evil geeks.
  • ThunderballThunderball playing Chemin de Fer in a casino, downing Vespers
    Posts: 687
    This might be very controversial, but I've always wondered why EON hasn't tried adapting any continuation stuff? There is just so much material, a lot of it bound to be worthwhile to mine for films.

    I agree, but they seem to think they can produce quality stories and scripts in-house. Foolish.
  • Posts: 2,312
    This might be very controversial, but I've always wondered why EON hasn't tried adapting any continuation stuff? There is just so much material, a lot of it bound to be worthwhile to mine for films.

    I don't know if there really is. The Gardner books are now pretty dated (Licence Renewed turns 40 this year) and most of the recent continuations are deliberate period pieces. Why pay extra for a screenwriter to update and adapt a pastiche to film when he/she can just write an original, modern pastiche for the screen instead? There isn't a single continuation novel that wouldn't require extensive rewriting before it could appear onscreen, and since they're all non-Fleming, none have a truer connection to the character than what a screenwriter could concoct.

    And since the Bond books and films form their own sort of mini-genre, they generate lots of shared concepts and conventions that appear throughout different writers' works. Instead of going to the trouble of adapting what a continuation novelist has done, you can take the basic concept behind it--which is a generated by the expectations of the genre and not copyrighted--and use it your own way.

    Also, a modern Bond film is far from being structured like a novel--it's a series of stunts and visual concepts ("bumps" as Hitchcock called them) strung together by a plot. The continuation novels wouldn't be a great supply of ideas for those action sequences.
  • Posts: 1,586
    Those are fair points.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e il momento che verrà
    Posts: 5,604
    I have never read any of the continuation novels. There must be many of them? And are they worth the effort?
  • mrlynxmrlynx Maine
    Posts: 26
    They pulled the torture scene from Colonel Sun (and some dialogue) for Spectre, and even acknowledged Kingsley Amis's estate in the credits.
    There's lots to be mined from the Gardner books - lord knows the numerous Nazi plots would still work today - but I can't see them directly adapting his novels, which are rather clunky.
    Benson's novels were written to be movies - it'll remain a damn shame that High Time to Kill was never made into a Craig film. Since most of his villains are nationalists who exploit old tensions between various nations, his novels could be easily updated for 2020's geopolitics.
    I like Carte Blanche a lot, and am looking to give Solo another shot - both of these novels heavily involve the continuing European influence in modern Africa. I liked Solo for it's imperialist plot that the author intended to be problematic - imagine a Bond film where he is ordered to assassinate an African "rebel" only to find that the Brits intend to replace the rebel with a dictator. Bond could go rogue and help expose the scandal. (It's not like we didn't pull this stuff....all the time...in Africa, South America, and elsewhere!)
  • Posts: 13,267
    Gosh I hated Carte Blanche! I hope nothing is taken from it into the big screen.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 4,479
    Revelator wrote: »
    This might be very controversial, but I've always wondered why EON hasn't tried adapting any continuation stuff? There is just so much material, a lot of it bound to be worthwhile to mine for films.

    I don't know if there really is. The Gardner books are now pretty dated (Licence Renewed turns 40 this year) and most of the recent continuations are deliberate period pieces. Why pay extra for a screenwriter to update and adapt a pastiche to film when he/she can just write an original, modern pastiche for the screen instead? There isn't a single continuation novel that wouldn't require extensive rewriting before it could appear onscreen, and since they're all non-Fleming, none have a truer connection to the character than what a screenwriter could concoct.

    And since the Bond books and films form their own sort of mini-genre, they generate lots of shared concepts and conventions that appear throughout different writers' works. Instead of going to the trouble of adapting what a continuation novelist has done, you can take the basic concept behind it--which is a generated by the expectations of the genre and not copyrighted--and use it your own way.

    Also, a modern Bond film is far from being structured like a novel--it's a series of stunts and visual concepts ("bumps" as Hitchcock called them) strung together by a plot. The continuation novels wouldn't be a great supply of ideas for those action sequences.

    Great post. And yet...CR in 2006 showed how a Bond plot can be driven by character, as spooled out in novelistic fashion. It wasn't really about parkour or poker, it was about betrayal. And as a result, the film was layered and richer. Same with OHMSS and its focus on duty.

    I think it's a fair question whether any of the continuation novels even approach Fleming. Many seem unworthy of adaptation. When Bond gets married and betrayed in the Gardner novels, it doesn't pack the punch of a CR or OHMSS...not even close. It feels like a simulacrum of Bond.

    Even CS, widely regarded as the best of the continuations, feels at times distant and condescending.

    This is why I think the future Bond films should again think about re-adapting the books and short stories in a novel way, updating them like CR. Fleming's novels have a pulse that can only come from the creator of Bond.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited February 8 Posts: 5,131
    In DAD: Has anyone ever wondered how Bond must be the first PoW to come out of custody chubby?

    When Bond mentions a Concierge he doesn’t seem to be joking. Gourmet meals galore it seems in that prison!
  • Posts: 4,791
    GoldenGun wrote: »
    I have never read any of the continuation novels. There must be many of them? And are they worth the effort?

    There are a lot, indeed. You can find a complete list here :

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bond#Novels_and_related_works

    Oh, and BTW, the first four Gardner novels have been mined in AVTAK and TLD. Just so you know.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Writer @ http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.com
    Posts: 14,777
    echo wrote: »
    I see a lot of commentary about Australia being too boring a location...but I think you could always do a desert training mission somewhere (Hanging Rock?) or even a scene atop the Sydney Opera House (shades of AVTAK).

    Well Australia was used as one of the locations in Raymond Benson's Zero Minus Ten (1997). It featured Bond in an Outback scene using his wits and ingenuity to survive. I also recall reading a letter to Ian Fleming in The Man with the Golden Typewriter (2015) where the person suggested Fleming write a Bond novel set in Australia. I agree that it has plenty of untapped potential as a Bond film location.
  • Posts: 12,643
    OCTOPUSSY

    The Tarzan yell bit: I actually like it. Sure it's over the top and silly, but so is the Magnificent Seven theme in MR.
    Another controversial opinion on this topic-
    I don't believe James Bond himself is intended to be performing the Tarzan yell, it's just an audio joke inserted.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 4,468
    There's a Tarzan yell in Revenge of the Sith as well, and it made me think of Octopussy, lol. Probably a more appropriate sound for a Wookiee to make, rather than Roger Moore (or as you say, possibly as an inserted audio joke).
  • Posts: 1,586
    It's funny I just wrote in my Bondathon post about how the Tarzan yell is the only thing in Octopussy (yeah, I like "sit" and I LOVE "hiss off") that I find overblown in terms of silliness.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,798
    It's funny I just wrote in my Bondathon post about how the Tarzan yell is the only thing in Octopussy (yeah, I like "sit" and I LOVE "hiss off") that I find overblown in terms of silliness.

    It's as unacceptable to me as is the whistle in TMWTGG.
  • Posts: 1,586
    They're both really bad. The whistle is far more egregious though because it nearly destroys what was, at the time, one of the best car stunts ever captured on film.

    The moment in OP is over as quickly as it begins. As much as I hate it, I equally hate how much people allow those 4-5 seconds to color their entire opinion about the film (not accusing you of this -- this is more common with like, mainstream critics working for Guardian or something).
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    They're both really bad. The whistle is far more egregious though because it nearly destroys what was, at the time, one of the best car stunts ever captured on film.

    The moment in OP is over as quickly as it begins. As much as I hate it, I equally hate how much people allow those 4-5 seconds to color their entire opinion about the film (not accusing you of this -- this is more common with like, mainstream critics working for Guardian or something).

    I’m not that offended by either of these moments. It’s the Dolly and Jaws meeting scene in MR that really pushes Bond into parody for me.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 19,798
    They're both really bad. The whistle is far more egregious though because it nearly destroys what was, at the time, one of the best car stunts ever captured on film.

    The moment in OP is over as quickly as it begins. As much as I hate it, I equally hate how much people allow those 4-5 seconds to color their entire opinion about the film (not accusing you of this -- this is more common with like, mainstream critics working for Guardian or something).

    Oh no, absolutely not. I love OP. I would never let that Tarzan yell spoil the fun I'm having with the movie. OP ranks rather high on my list.

    What I hate, though, is this. In all seriousness, some of Roger's Bonds are silly obstacle courses one can only navigate with the endurance of a true Bond fan, yet we all love those movies. But a film like SP is spat on and vilified for its weaker plot, the "brother" angle and, according to some, poor acting, weak action--whatever. My point is that it feels to me, correctly or not, that some "classic" Bonds get away with pretty much everything while the latest entry in the series takes a beating like the new kid in the playground. Hence some of the weirdest rankings ever, including NSNA beating SP and whatnot. Of course, this isn't an exact science, and I'm well aware of that. We all have our opinions. Yet I still cannot shake off the strange feeling that SP is being molested because it smells after the final puffs out of a can of deodorant, while certain films that stink like rotten fish are celebrated because "it has Connery at his best" or "the stunt work was awesome!"

    And I get it, I do. I love all the Bonds, including the most nonsensical ones like DAF, AVTAK, TMWTGG and DAD. I shall proudly defend them whenever they are attacked by outsiders. But oh boy, SP is sometimes treated as the worst thing since Hiroshima, as barely a movie, as some rough cut you wouldn't release even with a shotgun to your head.

    I'm sure it'll get better. Let's just give it some time. QOS took some serious beating too and has since been thoroughly re-evaluated. Still, we're all giving OP a pass despite the clowns, appalling Indian street jokes, horse's asses, tigers, circus acts, monkey suits, wait-who's-got-the-real-egg-now?, crazy Russian generals and more. So do I; the film bloody rocks! Yet poor SP, not too different from the acclaimed SF, is somehow the worst Bond film ever made. It's a strange hysteria which I just don't understand. It makes no sense to me. I don't expect people to call it the best Bond ever made--I mean, come on--but I can't help feeling that different yardsticks are being used...
  • Posts: 1,586
    @DarthDimi I can definitely understand those thoughts. You and I share a really similar view of the series as a whole. I, too, appreciate those and I love most of the Bond films. It's weird, isn't it. Ultimately, critiquing a movie will inevitably come down to something subjective or intangible that is difficult to qualify in terms of words.

    For me, as someone who *does* currently rank SP a bit below NSNA (not by much, mind you), it has to do with so many factors that I couldn't possibly fit into a forum post. The short of it is is that the feeling I get when watching SP simply doesn't come anywhere close to the feeling I get when I watch OP.

    A lot of it is assessing a movie within the context of the time it was made. A *huge* part of it is who is playing Bond. What's a good example here. MR's "flaws" would have been more egregious with Dalton in the role. This isn't the same as saying "we're giving it a pass because we hold Roger to a lower standard." Just the opposite. It's because Moore is so good at inhabiting Bond (indeed, he and Connery are the only two actors in the series who I truly see AS James Bond, they truly *become* the man rather than portray the man) that he makes these aspects permissable.

    Because, if we get down to it, "objectivity" is horribly difficult to get to in film. There is nothing inherently, objectively wrong with, say, the "brother" angle in SP. There is nothing objectively "bad" about a double-take pigeon. Everything must be looked at within context. And there is always SO much context in every Bond film. History, society, culture, the industry, the actor playing the role, the script, the last thirty minutes, the following thirty minutes.

    tl;dr -- The horse's ass isn't a flaw because it exists in a world where the horse's ass is something James Bond would actually be using. Moore makes it believable and real. And, furthrmore, even if these moments do bother you (like Tarzan yell bothers me) they are fleeting. They don't last long. Now, if someone thinks Roger Moore is a TERRIBLE James Bond, they're likely to think the entire film sucks and that everything is egregious, right? It's all contextual. Lastly, OP is just exciting and is full of exciting filmmaking whereas SP feels very tired to me, as though Mendes and company just couldn't wait to be done with it. I would be happy to talk more about this. It's a very interesting subject.

    I really appreciate your thoughts and, again, we do agree on a lot of it.
  • Posts: 1,586
    As for the "different yardsticks," time will certainly tell. You could be totally on the money. QOS has received a reappraisal here and abroad actually, and it was hated for quite some time when it was newer.

    I guess my entire post was to say that of course we are using different yardsticks, but I don't think said yardsticks are being applied unfairly (if that makes ANy sense at all, lol). In other words, I don't think I judge Craig's films any harsher than I judge Moore's. If that were the case, I wouldn't have 2 of Craig's 4 films higher than all but 1 or maybe 2 of Moore's entries. I simply judge them with different criteria.
  • Posts: 1,577
    As for the "different yardsticks," time will certainly tell. You could be totally on the money. QOS has received a reappraisal here and abroad actually, and it was hated for quite some time when it was newer.

    I guess my entire post was to say that of course we are using different yardsticks, but I don't think said yardsticks are being applied unfairly (if that makes ANy sense at all, lol). In other words, I don't think I judge Craig's films any harsher than I judge Moore's. If that were the case, I wouldn't have 2 of Craig's 4 films higher than all but 1 or maybe 2 of Moore's entries. I simply judge them with different criteria.

    First off, props to DarthDimi for a worthy point of discussion.

    ThighsofXenia, you stated exactly what I think about this. I think it comes out of expectations or what we're set up for. When looking at something like SP, we came into it with big expectations following the success of SF - that film's director coming back, the return of Bond's greatest enemy and the teaser with hints of the OHMSS theme setting us up for what we hoped was something to rival that film in terms of scope, entertainment and it was a disappointment overall.

    I don't hate SP. In some ways I enjoy it more than SF in some ways, but the ways it disappoints is tougher to take than what was basically to be expected in a typical Moore film. I get more annoyed at films like TWINE or AVTAK where the tone is all over the place.

    But it's also funny that it was mentioned about QoS being reevaluated. I liked it from my first viewing and have always rated it higher than most, but can understand where others would be disappointed in it following the standard CR set.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,778
    It's harder for SP to be "reevaluated" when it's been the most recent Bond film for nearly 6 years now. That's why I'm curious how NTTD will impact that film.
  • FatherValentineFatherValentine England
    Posts: 719
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    They're both really bad. The whistle is far more egregious though because it nearly destroys what was, at the time, one of the best car stunts ever captured on film.

    The moment in OP is over as quickly as it begins. As much as I hate it, I equally hate how much people allow those 4-5 seconds to color their entire opinion about the film (not accusing you of this -- this is more common with like, mainstream critics working for Guardian or something).

    Oh no, absolutely not. I love OP. I would never let that Tarzan yell spoil the fun I'm having with the movie. OP ranks rather high on my list.

    What I hate, though, is this. In all seriousness, some of Roger's Bonds are silly obstacle courses one can only navigate with the endurance of a true Bond fan, yet we all love those movies. But a film like SP is spat on and vilified for its weaker plot, the "brother" angle and, according to some, poor acting, weak action--whatever. My point is that it feels to me, correctly or not, that some "classic" Bonds get away with pretty much everything while the latest entry in the series takes a beating like the new kid in the playground. Hence some of the weirdest rankings ever, including NSNA beating SP and whatnot. Of course, this isn't an exact science, and I'm well aware of that. We all have our opinions. Yet I still cannot shake off the strange feeling that SP is being molested because it smells after the final puffs out of a can of deodorant, while certain films that stink like rotten fish are celebrated because "it has Connery at his best" or "the stunt work was awesome!"

    And I get it, I do. I love all the Bonds, including the most nonsensical ones like DAF, AVTAK, TMWTGG and DAD. I shall proudly defend them whenever they are attacked by outsiders. But oh boy, SP is sometimes treated as the worst thing since Hiroshima, as barely a movie, as some rough cut you wouldn't release even with a shotgun to your head.

    I'm sure it'll get better. Let's just give it some time. QOS took some serious beating too and has since been thoroughly re-evaluated. Still, we're all giving OP a pass despite the clowns, appalling Indian street jokes, horse's asses, tigers, circus acts, monkey suits, wait-who's-got-the-real-egg-now?, crazy Russian generals and more. So do I; the film bloody rocks! Yet poor SP, not too different from the acclaimed SF, is somehow the worst Bond film ever made. It's a strange hysteria which I just don't understand. It makes no sense to me. I don't expect people to call it the best Bond ever made--I mean, come on--but I can't help feeling that different yardsticks are being used...

    SP is boring and no fun whatsoever, and compounds this by including the Blofeld foster brother stuff which is not only stupid but threatens the entire premise of James Bond 007 - that he is a professional employed by the British government dispassionately. That is why it attracts so much hate.

    Whatever the defects of every film prior to SP, they mostly manage to be fun (in whatever way they attempt - by being either thrilling, spectacular, funny, silly etc. They all manage at least one or two of these qualities even if they have other weak aspects). SP fails on each one of these counts.

    Other Bond movies have weak elements or bad moments. But they are not weak or bad films overall. SP is.

    I do concede that the fact that it is STILL the most recent Bond movie means it gets more flak, and that in the future the hate against it will soften.

  • DarthDimi wrote: »
    They're both really bad. The whistle is far more egregious though because it nearly destroys what was, at the time, one of the best car stunts ever captured on film.

    The moment in OP is over as quickly as it begins. As much as I hate it, I equally hate how much people allow those 4-5 seconds to color their entire opinion about the film (not accusing you of this -- this is more common with like, mainstream critics working for Guardian or something).

    Oh no, absolutely not. I love OP. I would never let that Tarzan yell spoil the fun I'm having with the movie. OP ranks rather high on my list.

    What I hate, though, is this. In all seriousness, some of Roger's Bonds are silly obstacle courses one can only navigate with the endurance of a true Bond fan, yet we all love those movies. But a film like SP is spat on and vilified for its weaker plot, the "brother" angle and, according to some, poor acting, weak action--whatever. My point is that it feels to me, correctly or not, that some "classic" Bonds get away with pretty much everything while the latest entry in the series takes a beating like the new kid in the playground. Hence some of the weirdest rankings ever, including NSNA beating SP and whatnot. Of course, this isn't an exact science, and I'm well aware of that. We all have our opinions. Yet I still cannot shake off the strange feeling that SP is being molested because it smells after the final puffs out of a can of deodorant, while certain films that stink like rotten fish are celebrated because "it has Connery at his best" or "the stunt work was awesome!"

    And I get it, I do. I love all the Bonds, including the most nonsensical ones like DAF, AVTAK, TMWTGG and DAD. I shall proudly defend them whenever they are attacked by outsiders. But oh boy, SP is sometimes treated as the worst thing since Hiroshima, as barely a movie, as some rough cut you wouldn't release even with a shotgun to your head.

    I'm sure it'll get better. Let's just give it some time. QOS took some serious beating too and has since been thoroughly re-evaluated. Still, we're all giving OP a pass despite the clowns, appalling Indian street jokes, horse's asses, tigers, circus acts, monkey suits, wait-who's-got-the-real-egg-now?, crazy Russian generals and more. So do I; the film bloody rocks! Yet poor SP, not too different from the acclaimed SF, is somehow the worst Bond film ever made. It's a strange hysteria which I just don't understand. It makes no sense to me. I don't expect people to call it the best Bond ever made--I mean, come on--but I can't help feeling that different yardsticks are being used...

    SP is boring and no fun whatsoever, and compounds this by including the Blofeld foster brother stuff which is not only stupid but threatens the entire premise of James Bond 007 - that he is a professional employed by the British government dispassionately. That is why it attracts so much hate.


    How does the foster brother thing threaten the idea that Bond is a professional dispassionately employed by the British government?

  • Posts: 13,267
    I also think people are unfairly critical of SP. It has plenty of flaws and is less inspired than SF, but it has a lot of good things too.
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