Archive for August, 2007

Should Q and Moneypenny come back?

Posted in James Bond with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

This has been much discussed by fans lately. Many of us were horrified to learn that these two staple characters wouldn’t be in Casino Royale, but when that movie was so wonderful, well, now the discussion is, should they come back? And the tone is sort of fearful, like Oh noes! If stock characters come back so will silly gadgets and double-taking pigeons!

First of all, Eon just made a great movie. Let’s give them credit for not being total idiots. Second, if they wanted to screw up the series without Q and Moneypenny, they certainly could. So let’s set aside the whole “they’ll screw it up” motif and just ask if they belong.

In my mind, absolutely.

James Bond is part of an organization. I think recent movies have made him too Lone Wolf; we haven’t seen him as part of a big, organized battle since TLD. 007 isn’t Jason Bourne, or John McClane, or Rambo; it’s not One Man Against Everyone. So to see other important people in that organization is meaningful. And to have those people be anonymous faces just doesn’t work over time. Oh, sure, it’s fine that we don’t know the name of the guy who gave Bond the trace implant in CR, but if that guy comes back and we still don’t know him, it’s implausible, and if it’s a different anonymous guy, that’s also implausible. Fans are cringing at the thought of a Q because they don’t want Bond to revert to jokey, but those same fans loved Michael Kitchen’s recurring role as Tanner, and Colin Salmon as Charles Robinson. These characters fleshed out MI6 and made Bond appear a part of something.

And here’s another thing. Q and Moneypenny are recurring characters in Fleming’s novels. Q is referred to as Boothroyd or the Quartermaster; nonetheless, his role exists. So if we want to get back to a “Fleming feel” (and we do), then eliminating Fleming’s characters doesn’t work for me.

Finally, these are real-life, authentic characters. The real MI6, like the CIA and the KGB, has gadgets and geeks who make them and provide them to agents. The real-life MI6 has a support staff that interacts with and forms relationships with agents. Again, we get back to the fact that Bond isn’t Bourne; he has people he connects to, who send him on missions. And those people matter.

The more we, the audience, care about the supporting cast, the more fully-fleshed our film experience is. So definitely, let’s start caring about Moneypenny and Q again.

James Bond Coffee

Posted in Food & Drink, Ian Fleming with tags on August 30, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

I found this article while scanning for Bond news.

Toasted Espresso, a roastery in Auckland’s Takapuna, took the top honour with a blend titled AA7, inspired by James Bond’s 007, at this year’s New Zealand Coffee Festival in Auckland.

On the face of it, it’s one of those silly stories that clutters up the inbox if you’ve got “James Bond” as a search criteria, but in fact, I kind of like it.

In the Ian Fleming novels, Bond always drank coffee, and would sometimes sneer at his countrymen for their habit of drinking tea, which he called “flat, soft, time-wasting opium of the masses”. Bond drank strong, black coffee, and loved Jamaican blends. All of this, of course, is Bond speaking as Ian Fleming’s altar ego.

And so for once, an inane story that is barely about Bond at all actually means something to the Bond aficianado.

The history of Bond actors (in brief)

Posted in Daniel Craig, George Lazenby, James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton with tags , , , on August 28, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

When Eon first cast another actor as Bond, lots of folks said it couldn’t be done. If there had been an Internet back then, there would have been ConneryISBond.com. Even with the primitive (teehe) technology available in 1969, a lot of people managed to make their complaints heard. To this day, I run into people who have never seen anyone but Connery in the role, or have reluctantly viewed later movies and found them wanting—mostly, found them wanting a certain Scotsman.

But Lazenby’s casting, unsuccessful though it was, did an interesting thing: It freed Eon. They didn’t feel they had to cast ‘Connery light;’ audiences still came to see a Bond movie without The Man. So they felt confident in changing the game utterly, and casting Roger Moore; long on their list, and an actor absolutely nothing like Sean Connery.

But confidence is a funny thing. Once Moore proved a hit, Eon was reluctant to change. There is no doubt that Moore was way too old to play 007 in A View To a Kill, but I’d argue he was long in the tooth by Octopussy, even though that is a much better movie. Seven movies is probably just too many.

Letting go of Moore finally taught the Bond producers a lesson in letting go; a lesson that perhaps Pierce Brosnan believes they learned too well. Lots of fans (like me) believe that Brosnan had a fifth excellent Bond in him, but it was not to be.

What’s interesting here is the way that Eon was able to move from one actor to the next. Dalton made one successful and one less-than-stellar (financially) movie, and some of us stand by his portrayal. But from Dalton on, the producers have been able to look at each actor as truly a new era, a new Bond, a new interpretation, and allow the movies to shape the actor, and the actor to shape the movies.

Could Pierce Brosnan have made Casino Royale? I believe so. I believe he could have made an outstanding Casino Royale. But he couldn’t have made this Casino Royale; the one Daniel Craig made. It would have been a Brosnan movie, with whatever you feel is good or bad about that. CR is Craig’s movie through and through; I mean, yes, it’s Ian Fleming’s, it’s Martin Campbell’s, it’s Paul Haggis’s, but it’s really Daniel Craig’s. He’s been allowed to interpret the character, to be in his own place with 007, and that has made all the difference.

Agent XXX Turns 60

Posted in Birthdays with tags on August 27, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Happy birthday to the beautiful Barbara Bach.

Barbara Bach

Paul Haggis Interview

Posted in Quantum of Solace with tags , , , on August 26, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Commander Bond has the goods: Paul Haggis, interviewed on Coming Soon, talks Bond 22.

“It picks up two minutes after the last one, and it’s going to be fun.”

Haggis denies the Clarice Van Houten rumor. and also denies that Bond 22 will be humorous in tone.

Sir Sean Turns 77!

Posted in James Bond on August 25, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Or sheventy sheven, if you prefer.

Then…
In the 60s

…and now.
in a tux

So Much Bond News

Posted in Daniel Craig, Events, Pierce Brosnan, Quantum of Solace with tags , , , , , , on August 24, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

An interesting interview with Pierce Brosnan in the Daily Mirror:

You get complacent having a role like that – the luxury of doing one every 18 months. It focused my attention on what I want to do with my career and the choices I want to make. Now I’m out there in the field, what’s going to happen next?

Commander Bond has a couple of YouTubes up of Daniel Craig in Italy, and of a crucial action location, with spoiler information about an Italian action sequence in Bond 22.

MI6 News reports that Switzerland remains a possible location for Bond 22:

“As soon as we knew that Marc Forster grew up in Switzerland and would direct the next James Bond film, we had to offer our services”, said André Brice of the Swiss film commission (Film Location Switzerland). “Still nothing is definite, but the chances bode well”, he added.

And, most thrilling of all, my local revival theater, the Lafayette in Suffern, NY, will be showing Goldfinger on November 24 (also on the schedule, The Great Escape; One, Two, Three; Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing; Charade, and more). All showings are on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m.