Thursday, 27 November 2008

Sidebar: Bring Back Bond

I will digress from time to time away from the journey with Stuffed Animals and rant or tell you my thoughts about various things that are generally media related. Well my first one is about James Bond, in his current movie incarnation provided by Daniel Craig, the actor playing the world famous spy, and Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, the producers and torch bearers of the Bond film franchise.

Suffice to say I hate it. I am a lifelong Bond fan. I have read all the books, Ian Fleming's originals and all the ones that have followed, dug up the radio serial and watched all the movies, many times over. I admit that the last Pierce Brosnan outing had some exceptionally silly moments, but it still looked and felt like a Bond movie.

This direction, or as it is sometimes referred to as a 'reboot', is in my opinion horrible. It is removing the essence of what makes Bond special and turning him into a the spy action hero, in the vein of Jason Bourne. I have nothing against the Bourne franchise, they are fabulous actions movies, yet they have their own style and one that should not be adopted by a much more successful movie franchise.

Right, so you are going to ask what are my reasons well here goes, they are in no particular order:-

The Character: By biggest and perhaps my most underlying problem with the 'New' Bond, is the way they seem to be portraying him. The best way I can describe it is that they seem to be treating him more like a NCO (Non Commissioned Officer) than as the Officer the character is.

What do I mean by that, I am now going into sweeping generalizations but suffice to say, officers are a certain type, hold themselves in a certain way and especially those from the Royal Navy and Marines, from which Bond is supposed to have risen. In my time I have met many military officers, both army and navy and those of the special forces and intelligence services, in my opinion they have few of the rough edges that the 'New' Bond has…even with the excuse that in the Casino Royale reboot, it is his first mission, he was an officer (& a gentleman) before he worked for the Secret Service. In both movies he does not behave, and act as either.

No I am not degrading NCOs or their behaviour or attitude, before I am brought to task on that, but we are talking about the 'hyper' reality of a fiction franchise, in that case his officer behaviour should be there, it is what sets him apart from the other cold blooded killers and action heroes. He is modeled on the early comrades of Ian Fleming and a as with most authors, element of themselves, if you have read about the author, people he is said to have modeled the character on and some of the exploits of the early members of MI6 then you will get a sense of who they are, for example the founding father of MI6, Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, an eccentric, fast car driving, ex-naval officer, these were swashbuckling men of intelligence and daring and that is what Bond should be.

Suave Style: Bond is about, style, smoothness, suave and sophistication. As he is currently portrayed he has none of that. He is supposed to have the ability to walk out of a fight and straight into the top Casino in the world and none should bat an eyelid. The current iteration is eroding that. The archetypal Bond moment is after escaping with daring do from the situation is to adjust his tie and sit down for dinner with the girl. He is supposed to charm girls, not be rugged and monosyllabic.

Bond has panache, and going back the character comments above, he is portrayed as knowing his wine, his food, his clothes and his women. The character is from a privileged background, he went to a famous school, an International University, his mother is Swiss. This is not a rough ready guy. He is smooth incarnate. That has yet to come across in this 'New Bond'.

Guns, Gadgets & Girls: Simply put where are they??? This was a key element to the movies and they seem to be rolling away in this grasp to make it more 'authentic'.

Daniel Craig: I personally think Daniel Craig is an exceptional actor. Munich; Layer Cake; Our Friends in the North, in such roles he has excelled. But to me he is not nor will he ever be Bond. I could go into physical description and all that, but it is just his whole demeanor is wrong for the character.

Script Language Style: The whole language he now uses has changed. He is no longer the charming wit, nor the elegant seducer. He is as M describes him "a blunt instrument". I will use an example, (Spoiler Alert) in Casino Royale, he is sitting on the boat and speaking to M after Vesper is dead and says to M…" The Bitch is Dead"…Bond would never, ever say that.

In conclusion, I have highlighted some of my reasons for why I believe that the current 'New Bond' is the wrong direction. They are slowly removing the elements that make him Bond, the British Officer & Spy Swashbuckling Hero and turning him into a watered down version of Jason Bourne. Please stop it.

I, for one, will not pay to see nor purchase another Bond Movie, as long as Daniel Craig in the lead nor with this current direction that they are taking the character. Barbara & Michael, you have lost a raving fan and I am not alone.

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