60th anniversary. James Bond Day. Etc.
Time to address the basics:
- WHY IS 007 SO IMPORTANT TO FILM?
Because it’s a model of longevity. How to keep a franchise going and retain the essence, whilst tweaking details to fit the times. Along the way, the series has given us some truly wonderful innovations in visual design, special effects tech, music, acting and genuinely compelling geopolitical commentary. Mostly British sourced, too; backed by American money.
You always know what you might get and somehow enjoy being surprised, every time, by how they mix up the formula.
Without James Bond? There is no Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel et al. Seriously. It’s THAT vital. James Bond IS Cinema. Starts with the Hitchcock thriller template, expands that into 1960s style and then adapts, every step of the way.
- WHO IS THE BEST JAMES BOND?
Easy! It’s Ian Fleming. No actor is the avatar for Bond. The writer who created the character and his style is what makes this franchise somehow still ‘work’, alongside the Broccolis as ongoing Producer custodians. The filmmakers always go back to Fleming, whilst expanding /reinventing and recognising specifically cinematic legacies to match.
Each actor brought something to the role. Connery is raw, visceral, sleek, style. Lazenby is a walking punch via everyman credentials. Moore is comedy gold and super-suave. Dalton is sensitive yet strong; complex, layered, theatrical but real. Brosnan is every Bond, in one.
Craig is the Fleming narrative, made real: brute force, veteran insight, relentlessly rookie rebellion, gallows humour, gentleman ethics (right up until that awfully indulgent death scene but I am trying to be positive here so will leave that alone).
- WHICH ARE THE BEST BOND FILMS?
For me, it’s: From Russia with love, Goldfinger, OHMSS, Live and let Die, The Spy who Loved me, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, Goldeneye, Tomorrow never Dies, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall.
- WHAT SHOULD THEY DO WITH BOND 26?
Play it VERY safe. 90s period piece. Henry Cavill as Bond prime; Pierce Brosnan and /or Timothy Dalton in coda at end.
Make Idris Elba M (Canon: post Robert Brown; pre Judi Dench); surround him with great villain (Hugh Grant as Drax?) and Gala Brand as the girl (Kaya Scoldario /Nicole Kidman).
Comfort food. Forward looking nostalgia. Bond himself need not be interesting though Craig did pull that off, as did Dalton. But now? make the man the mission, albeit while sewing darker designs.
That’s the beauty of having killed him in NO TIME TO DIE (though very badly imho): clean slate and now audiences will be able to expect ANYTHING but within formula.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAMES BOND ON FILM
Or: Augmented World
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