Morpheus on… The Death Of James Bond

Blofeld never caught him. 007 was finally nailed by that which catches us ALL – TIME.

This chronicler was a mere boy of ten when Dr No emerged and has since seen ’em all, including the ’54 TV movie of Casino Royale, the ’67 romp of Casino Royale and the “remake” of Thunderball: Never Say Never Again. Plus he’s read all of Fleming’s Bond books. Thus he feels qualified to make the bold statement above.

The thing is, the Bond movies are essentially ACTIONERS – and they have always LED the field. But not anymore.

So what MAKES a Bond film so special that they have ruled the genre for over forty years?

Well, first and foremost – PACE. With Dr No, the franchise hit the ground RUNNING. Compared to other actioners of the period, Dr No was a breath of fresh air. And it was a pace that other actioners always sought to match – but never quite did.

However now, pace has been substituted by MTV-editing which fails to allow the viewer time to assimilate what’s going ON. Like in the Bourne movies: Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum – or as I call ’em: Bourne One, Two and Three (Born Free?). And now Quantum Of Solace tries to play CATCH-UP with those.

Then there were the famous “gadgets”. In the Sixties they were fantasy, but now all of Q’s PRACTICAL toys can be purchased from Radio Shack. And if you think your car really NEEDS a defibrillator in the glove box…

And the Ken Adam sets, with their trade-mark descending circle in the ceiling, which distorted perspective to make the sets appear bigger.

Plus the exotic locations. While other movies were content to film everything in the studio in front of second-unit plates, the “Bond Circus” toured the World. Again in the Sixties, most people had no IDEA what a country other than their own looked like.

Then there were the “of the moment” items. The Bell-Jump. The Millennium Dome. MI6’s shiny new HQ. And most people got their first look at a digital watch in a James Bond movie.

And the “Bond Song” generally used an artist who was “now”. At least the latest offering must have pleased Aha – they no longer hold the dubious distinction of having produced the crappiest Bond Song ever.

Then of course, there was the Bond Villain. Outwardly a cool dude, but inside was a megalomaniac bent on mischief on a global scale – the latest example is just a thug.

But what Bond was REALLY about was birds, booze and ciggies. However, thanks to American Paranoia, 007 has had to give up the fags and only gets to shag ONE sexy foreign bird per movie. Oh DEAR.

And to add insult to injury, the Bond strain has now fallen victim to Prequelitis – Hollywood’s obsession with movies set BEFORE the classics. Which in Bond’s case makes NO sense. I mean, Judi Dench was “M” during the Pierce Brosnan era, so how can she be M now? And given that EVERYONE has seen – on TV at least – SOME of the earlier outings, how can this “re-start” be credible?

Finally, despite having the most famous intro of any series EVER – the “gun-barrel” sequence – the makers decided to follow the annoying modern trend of putting the titles between the movie and the end credits – and placed said intro THERE. AAARGH!

So R.I.P., James. We enjoyed your style, your charm, your bad one-liners and envied you all those bodacious babes. But you overstayed your welcome. Now it’s time for audiences to be bedazzled by no-brain action movies filled with noisy stunt sequences (that are cut so quickly, they can only be appreciated by those on cocaine) – and not very much else.

UPDATE! Since penning the above, in 2008, there have been two more entries in the saga – for my latest take on the franchise, see… 


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by jmkeighland on January 8, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Good point. 007 has always maintained its own genre, but that went out of the window when Daniel Craig took over. I have to admit I haven’t seen the latest offering, but when I spoke to a friend of mine who had seen it, he said there wasn’t any point if I wanted to see a “Bond Film”, because it wasn’t one.

    I think they should’ve stopped with Die Another Day, which was off the wall compared with the other Brosnan outings, but a good actioner, keeping the format of earlier films.

    Now though Bond has gone, and there is nothing like it at the moment, and probably never will be!

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