So, MGM are out of their financial straits and Sam Mendes is, if his ex-wife is to be believed, still on board to direct the next James Bond film, due in 2012. So, with mixed reviews for Bond’s last adventure, Quantum Of Solace, what do we want to see in the new film?
And, no, a new actor as James Bond is not one of them, you CraigNotBond.com wags… (Besides, that’s clearly going to be Henry Cavill when Craig is done in the role. You just wait and see…)
1. Keep the stunts grounded
James Bond films have always been famous for their practical stunts and the films are all the more exciting when we know that the action was done for real. Think of Bond’s best stunts, the rotating Mustang in The Man With The Golden Gun, the Aston Martin crash in Casino Royale and the speed boat flip in The World Is Not Enough. All done for real, where stuntmen’s lives were actually in danger.
Unfortunately, while Quantum Of Solace had some decent, although frantically edited action (the opening car chase), there was also a lot of CGI-enhanced set pieces, notably the ‘jumping out of the plane’ sequence in Bolivia. Now, there were ways they could have done this without CGI. For example, with stuntmen and models. But instead Marc Foster opted for the easier route and in a Bond film, it just looked out of place.
We should not be able to notice good CGI, so if you are going to use it, Mr Mendes, use it subtly and not in the film’s main set pieces.
2. Retain Bond’s allies
Bond may be a super spy, but it’s always good to see he’s not alone. Whether it’s Felix Leiter, M or his best friend in MI6, Bill Tanner (who was re-introduced in the last film), making sure Bond has people to turn to, stops him from turning into a One Man Army, which, again, makes Bond lose his realism.
Which was better: Bond freeing the US/UK and Russian submarine crews to launch an all out attack on Stromberg’s men in The Spy Who Loved Me or Bond shooting everyone in sight by himself on Carver’s stealth boat, like some sort of Terminator?
Perhaps, see a couple of 00 agents join Bond in an initial raid on a QUANTUM safe house in the opening sequence, before they are brutally killed….?
3. Bring back Q Branch
I’m all for making Bond grittier and more grounded, but whether you agree or not, gadgets have always been a key element of the Bond films (even the more serious ones). So, let’s get a few missile launchers on the Aston Martin, instead of simply a defibrillator.
Also, one of my favourite parts of any Bond film was where Bond when to Q Branch and, as well as tormenting Q, you got to see all the other cool gizmos the department was working on. (“We’re building it for the Americans. I call it a Ghetto Blaster!”)
Of course, the reintroduction of Q Branch will require a new Q. Unfortunately, Desmond Llewelyn has passed on, John Cleese was a bit awkward in the role, so how about the likes of Mark Addy or Hugh Laurie as the constantly frustrated gadget master?
Bond is now over Vesper, bringing those responsible to justice, so I think he can now crack a smile or two. Of course, I’m not talking about Roger Moore style one-liners or the awful attempt at humour that came up in Die Another Day (“I’m bird-watching …”). But along the lines of Casino Royale, which walked that line between Bond’s laconical nature and seriousness perfectly.
Perhaps bring back Moneypenny to get some of the flirting banter back in the series? I don’t believe, like many, that she is crucial to the franchise, but her re-introduction would be nice to see.
5. Keep the storyline unexpected
I remember one of the funniest complaints I ever read about Casino Royale was that it ‘didn’t follow the basic Bond film layout’, which involved:
a) A stunt filled opening sequence
b) Bond being sent on a mission
c) Bond going undercover (but revealing himself as an M15 agent within five minutes)
d) Meeting first Bond girl
e) Getting first Bond girl killed
f) Breaking into bad guy’s base
g) Killing bad guy
h) Bedding secondary Bond girl (“Oh, James!”)
Now, we already have a dozen Bond films like this, so why do we need more of the same? I liked the unexpected twists and turns of the last two Bond films and I hope that the next film will be as unorthodox.
6. Make it a standalone mission
A major complaint about Quantum Of Solace was that, if you hadn’t seen Casino Royale since you’d seen it in the cinema, you may not have a clue what was going on. Who’s Mr White? What had Vesper done, again?
Bond films are not traditionally sequels, but standalone adventures, and the new Bond film should make sure it doesn’t confuse audiences by referencing the two previous films too much.
James Bond is now trusted by M and is a fully fledged MI6 agent, so now is the time to unleash him on the world. However, we do want to know what QUANTUM are up to, so by all means have them back as the film’s villains. They are clearly the 21st century’s SPECTRE, after all.
Craig has already said of the new film, “We’ve finished this story as far as I’m concerned. We’ve got a great set of bad guys. There is an organization that we can use whenever we want to. The relationship between Bond and M is secure and Felix is secure. Let’s try and find where Moneypenny came from and where Q comes from. Let’s do all that and have some fun with it.”
7. A brilliant theme song
While Another Way To Die was by no means the worst James Bond theme (stand up, Rita Coolidge’s All Time High (Octopussy)), it didn’t have many fans. Chris Cornell had given Casino Royale an excellent theme with You Know My Name, which captured the coldness of Craig’s Bond perfectly, but Alicia Keys and Jack White’s song was all over the place.
Plus the line, “Another ringer with the slick trigger finger for Her Majesty” should not be anywhere near a Bond theme.
How about getting the likes of Muse or The Killers in to do the next theme song?
Composer David Arnold has confirmed he will be back doing the film’s score, so that’s a bonus, even if his Quantum score lacked the bombastic quality of his previous Bond soundtracks. Track Night At The Opera was stunning, though.
8. We want to see what’s going on!
As previously stated, Quantum Of Solace had some great action scenes, but we could barely see what was going on, due to the film’s rapid style of editing. The opening car chase, the boat sequence and most of the fight scenes, all of them were cut so rapidly you could barely see the action.
It’s a shame, as you feel that all the stuntmen’s work was wasted, if the audience couldn’t see it. In comparison, Casino Royale‘s free-running sequence and airport chase sequence was filmed relatively steadily, so the audience could see the fights, Daniel Craig doing most of his stunts and more importantly, what was going on!
9. A villain who is an actual threat to Bond
QUANTUM is clearly going to return as the ‘big bad’ in the next Bond film, but who will be revealed as the head of the evil organisation? There have been rumours of Rachel Weisz pulling the strings, and if this turns out to be the case, she is really going to have to have a henchman to provide a physical threat to Bond.
So far, Bond hasn’t really been physically tested by the villains. Le Chiffre was killed by Mr White and Dominic Green was hardly a challenge in hand-to-hand combat, so perhaps it is time to have a villain the equal of Bond, such as Alec Trevelyan (Goldeneye), Necros (The Living Daylights) and Stamper (Tomorrow Never Dies).
How about someone like Goran Visnjic (who was almost cast as Bond) as the villain? Or even a global superstar like Shah Rukh Khan to make the next Bond adventure even more internationally appealing?
Whoever they go with, let’s have someone who can actually knock Bond on his ass.
10. Make the Bond Girls Bond Women
Now, I like Gemma Arterton as much as the next red-blooded male, but casting a then 21-year-old as an M15 agent opposite the 40-year -old Daniel Craig was a bit icky. Dare I say, we want our Bond Girls with a bit of maturity, as well as the requisite curves?
For my money, Michelle Yeoh was one of the best Bond girls the series has had, confident, independent and could quite possibly floor Bond if the situation required it.
Instead of 20-25-year-old ‘it-girls’, why not cast stunning actresses like Rachel Weisz, Kate Beckinsale and Noomi Rapace to give weight to an otherwise light role? Saying that, I have liked how they have tried to give the recent Bond girls of Vesper Lynd and Camille more depth than previous female leads.
So, that’s what I think will benefit the next Bond film. Do you agree or disagree, or are you, like me, simply happy that James Bond is returning?
Add your thoughts to the comments section below.
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