Why James Bond has no
|We’ve found another article that questions the future of Bond since the
“scruffy Craig” was chosen.
With all of these radical story and character changes EON has implemented
in Casino Royale it is obvious there will be very little left of Fleming’s
wonderfully sublime novel to enjoy, and almost nothing will remain of the
James Bond we've loved on film or in print
“If Bond is over-treated and becomes sensitive like Bryan Singer's
Superman or too cryptic, mysterious, and dark, audiences may
react negatively and long for the Bond they've known in the past
Why James Bond has no secret desires
Can a reinterpretation of James Bond save the franchise?
Thursday, October 12, 2006
When blond-haired Daniel Craig replaced Pierce Brosnan as James
Bond, there was hardly a headline writer who couldn't resist
calling him "James Blond". Purists were appalled. In Ian
Fleming's novels, Bond is dark-haired. In the first book written by
the author and which the new movie is based, Casino Royale, the
character Vesper Lynd says of Bond, "He reminds me rather of
Hoagy Carmichael, but there is something cold and ruthless."
The cold and ruthless side of Bond is the reason why scruffy Craig
was chosen to interpret the new Bond. In an interview with
SuperHeroHype, producer Barbara Broccoli said her company is
going back to the origins of the character and the story, which she
says is rougher and more complex. "It's more realistic and it's not
as fantastical as the last couple have been or we've made through
the series. There were times, when the films got very fantastical
like with "Moonraker" and things like that. You change because
you change with the times," Broccoli said.
Since Thunderball was released in 1965, the fourth film, the
franchise has struggled to remain fresh and in-touch in face of
competition of other action films. Actor George Lazenby played
Bond in only one film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, because he
refused a seven-film contract believing the character couldn't
survive the changing times and audience attention.
Seventeen films later, the producers continue the struggle to
enthrall audiences while giving them something unique that
they're finding in other movies such as the Bourne films or even
spoofs on the franchise such as Austin Powers.
The Structure of a Bond Film
Bond films, like the original novels, were based on a simple quest.
Bond's object of desire, what he truly wants, in every film is to
capture the villain to be able to set the world right. He has no
other desires that impact the spine of the story.
Fleming said about his character, "Exotic things would happen to
and around him but he would be a neutral figure — an anonymous
blunt instrument wielded by a Government Department."
Audiences today may want more.
The trend in action and superhero movies is to explore the
unconscious desire of the hero, seen in recent movies such as
Batman Begins, Superman Returns, and X-Men, which often
creates a darker story with conflicting desires. "At the moment, I
think everybody is feeling very serious about the world and they
don't feel frivolous about the world, and I think it's the right time
to tell this story and Daniel's the right actor to play him," Broccoli
Story analyst Robert McKee wrote in his book, Story, "An
unconscious desire is always more powerful and durable, with
roots reaching to the protagonist's innermost self. When an
unconscious desire drives the story, it allows the writer to create a
far more complex character who may repeatedly change his
The complex story Pierce Brosnan wanted?
Realizing the scriptwriter is the only one who can give Bond
unconscious desires, Pierce Brosnan is quoted on more than one
occasion saying that he wanted to bring more emotion and depth
to the stories. He explained he was tired of the formulaic dramas
where Bond saves the world from a madman. In an interview with
The Daily Mirror after he was removed from playing Bond, Brosnan
said, "I had all these stupid one-liners and loathed them. I felt like
such a phony. It never felt real to me and I never felt I had
complete ownership of the role. I'd look at myself in the suit and
tie, and think 'What the heck am I doing here'?"
Part of Brosnan's wish may come true.
In the same interview with SuperHeroHype, Daniel Craig
explained how Casino Royale would explore Bond on a deeper
level. "Bond is damaged. His reason for being marked is because
of the upbringing he's had and the profession he's taken on. What
we do discover in this movie is why he becomes damaged and his
relationship with Vesper is the key to this. It really forms this
character. What you'll see is that there's a fallibility to him that
sort of slides as the movie goes on and he becomes stronger and
stronger. He always takes things on the nose, and as the movies
goes on, his single-mindedness starts to come out, and you start
to understand why he's [the way he is]."
Are audiences prepared to watch a multi-dimensional Bond?
Timothy Dalton played Bond twice in the 80s and tried to give the
role more depth by playing him darkly, particularly after Roger
Moore's lighter interpretation. But the stories remained the same
with James Bond only having a single object of desire to save the
world -- no one but a scriptwriter could change that.
When Peter Hunt directed George Lazenby, he would reshoot
scenes in which he was unhappy with Lazenby's portrayal of
emotion. In an interview, he said he was insistent that the actors
stay with the story of the book. In On Her Majesty's Secret
Service, considered to be the closest movie that followed the
novels, the writers included important background which added
depth to the character not seen in the other movies: Bond
contemplated resigning from MI6, he was briefly married, and
then his wife was murdered. Critics still hotly debate whether this
is the best or worst of the Bond films.
How the scriptwriters craft Bond's desires will probably be the
sole determination of the movie's success. If Bond is over-treated
and becomes sensitive like Bryan Singer's Superman or too
cryptic, mysterious, and dark, audiences may react negatively and
long for the Bond they've known in the past twenty films.