James Bond practically invented the action genre. Fast cars, fast women, gadgets and witty heroes who always save the day from world domination are all hallmarks of the Bond franchise, which is now at 22 films and counting. After 20 films, the makers of the franchise decided it needed a bit of a reboot. So they brought in a new pretty boy (Daniel Craig) to play Bond, went back to the beginnings of the character and downplayed the kooky gadgets introduced in each film. They also dialled down the ‘disposable woman’ factor from the previous films. The only Bond girl they had in Casino Royale was one of the loves of Bond’s life, and a character whose legacy carries over into the next film. The thing I don’t like about the reboots as they are really just ‘Bond for the Noughties’. But we had that. It was called Die Another Day!
It is a good idea to show Bond’s beginnings, but did they have to get 9/11 involved? I know it was a tragedy and all, but that is precisely why it shouldn’t be involved in a Bond film. The films involve fantastical plots to dominate the world, not terrorism attacks, people go to films to escape that sort of thing. Fair enough, that would be what MI6 deals with nowadays, but it’s not what you see a Bond film for. I don’t like the ‘gritty realism’ feel that they’ve gone for. It feels like they’ve tried too hard to embrace what they feel modern audiences like to see. I don’t want to see man-tits in a Bond movie, because I am not attracted to man-tits (like most of the viewers, most probably), for I am not of that orientation. And in the end, Bond films are very much MAN FILMS (the capitals were entirely necessary), so the only possible reason they could’ve put those in there was to give the film mass appeal. It doesn’t need to appeal to women, it has enough men and teenagers that will line up in droves to watch a new Bond film.
In many ways, what Bond always came across as was a representation of the producer’s ideas of a perfect man. Smart, sophisticated, but not afraid to get down and dirty when he needs to. He is also what most men aspire to be, as he drives fast cars, uses the top gadgets and can easily charm his way into any woman’s heart/pants (delete as applicable).
The way I see it, the best Bond films are the ones that can remain timeless throughout the years. These tend to be the ones that aren’t really linked to current events. Goldeneye was a pleasantly enjoyable film (although not one of my favourite films ever) because it didn’t really focus on the ‘big issues in our climate today’. Eventually, when 9/11 is nothing more than a bitter memory, that film will seem tired and dated. Which brings me to the second reboot film, Quantum Of Solace. It serves as a direct sequel to the first, with plot threads carried on from the first. It deals with Bond’s attempts to move past his personal quest for vengeance (didn’t they do this in Licence To Kill? He even escaped in much the same way from the MI6 personnel), while associating with, but ultimately never screwing, another Bond Girl who is also on a quest for vengeance. There was one slightly improbable bit that turned me off the film (namely, Bond punching a bike to flip it over. I didn’t know he was Hancock!), but it holds up as an okay piece of film making. It wasn’t a film that compelled me to see it again, and I’d be happy if I never saw it again as long as I lived.
All in all, the new films feel too much like a shift in tone to a style that makes it hard for me to fully enjoy them. I don’t like them, but you might. If you like man-tits and terrorism (never thought I’d say that), then check out these films.