Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Can't Wait!

Which James Bond you like depends on how old you are. If your first Bond film was with Roger Moore, that's who you think Bond is. If your first Bond film was with George Lazenby - you're screwed. My first memories of James Bond was watching some Connery film (maybe GOLDFINGER, probably YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) reflected in the back window of my parent's car at the Pleasant Hill Motor Movies when I was *supposed* to be sleeping in the back seat. This made Bond both forbidden (there was violence and nekkid chicks) and something adult... something to look forward to. Eventually I saw Connery Bond films on TV, and that's who I think is the "real Bond". Connery punched people. He wasn't elegant - he was savage. The joke was when Moore took over that Connery was the Bond who had a wetsuit on under his tuxedo... Moore was wearing a tuxedo under his wetsuit.

One of my favorite opening scenes is in THURDERBALL. It begins with a funeral for "JB" - James Bond is dead? Then Bond is revealed at the funeral with that hot Japanese chick who might have been Kissy Suzuki... and we discover the funeral is for a SPECTRE agent named Jacques Bouvar. Bond and Kissy watch the funeral procession... Then, at Bouvar's mansion, Bond shows up to pay his respects to the widow, Mrs. Bouvar.... then hauls off and punches her in the face! What? Then Mrs. Bouvar returns a punch - and this massive savage fight begins. What? Revealed that it's not *Mrs* Bouvar - but Bouvar himself, who has faked his own death. Bond figured it out when she opened her own car door at the funeral. Heck, everything you think you know about the story so far keeps changing! The fight is amazing - no pice of furniture in that room is not used as a weapon and subsequently destroyed. Chairs, sofas, fire pokers - if it's in the room, it's used to hurt someone. They just don't make fight scenes like this anymore... except for in the last Bond film.

For me, the Bond reboot CASINO ROYALE was a return to the Bond I grew up watching. Though my first "legal" Bond film was LIVE AND LET DIE (also at the Pleasant Hill Motor Movies - Mom allowed me to actually watch the film, and that meant my little brother and little sister could watch, too) with Moore, I always think of Bond as the guy who can really throw a punch. There was all of this talk that Daniel Craig was too wimpy to be Bond, but that opening scene where he basically destroys every appliance in a men's room with a bad guy's *head* gave me confidence. And the rest of the film, though flawed, delivers that Connery style Bond I'd been craving. Part of the reboot was Bond for the BOURNE audience - a more realistic style of action. When I was writing my SLEEPER AGENT script, I was trying for something between FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and the BOURNE movies...

There were rumors that the new Bond film was going to go back to teh Roger Moore style - that it was going to be filled with dopey action and quips and not nearly as brutal. Okay, here's the trailer... you be the judge.

Don't know about you, but I'm excited. One thing I think is cool is that it seems to take place *seconds* after the last one ended. And that Bond is still that violent renegade agent who smashed through anything that gets in his way. Where do I stand in line?

- Bill

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: You Need A Busload Of Scripts To Get By. New script tips M-T-W this week!
Yesterday’s Dinner: Panda Express in NoHo on the way to my friend's movie premiere.
Pages: Lots of pages of new tips! Probably because I'm supposed to be working on something else. I've also poked around on the DEMON HUNTER script, which I think I'm going to call SECOND SON, even though there is a Charles Sailor novel from 1979 with that title that is also about the second coming... though completely different than my story.


[IMH] said...

I liked On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Granted, Lazenby was no Connery, but he didn't embarrass himself either.

And I rather think that, based just on one movie so far, Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever. This trailer gives me hope that he'll remain so for at least another movie. :)

Martin_B said...

I'm old enough to remember Ursula Andress (always pronounced UN-dress) coming out of the sea in "Dr No," and for me, Connery is THE Bond.

However, Daniel Craig is pretty damn good. I thought a touch more wit, and a touch less testosterone, and he'd be perfect. At least he looks good in a dinner jacket, an absolute prerequisite for a Bond.

Which leads me to George Lazenby. Badly miscast. I thought he was like a used-car salesman completely out of his depth in a sophisticated world. Didn't he end up doing porno movies?

wcmartell said...

Actually, I'm also a big fan of OHMSS - great score, and I really don't mind Lazenby. I think they should remake it as the next Bond movie - the food shortage plot is topical.

I think the thing with Craig & "class" is that he has somewhere to go in the series - we can see him "tamed" as the films go on. Can't wait to see the film where they have to hire Henry Higgens to teach him to be a gentleman...

- Bill

Anonymous said...

I have an old book called Second Son I read in the 1980s and on the jacket it says soon to be a major motion picture starring Sylvester Stallone. Basically he was to play a construction worker who falls off his building and survives without a scratch and is the second coming... now I am going to listen to Second Son by Johnny Rivers, see what the power of suggestion does bringing back memories after one mention of Second Son ha

mrswing said...

I don't know... I really dislike Casino Royale (my first Bond experience were parts of From Russia and Goldfinger on TV, so I started off on the right foot) for several reasons. First, Craig is a great actor (did amazing work in a BBC series Our Friends In The North) but he's not Bond. Connery was a black panther: sexy, attractive, and savagely dangerous. Craig plays the part like Bond is a football hooligan. I don't want or need to see Bond 'grow' or go on a Heroes Journey (as has been his fate from the very first Brosnan). He just is a force of nature.
Casino Royale did away with the silliness and the bad gags, but what did it add to the mix? A dullwitted hero who's a thug. And with a dreadful taste in women, too. Craig looked okay in the action scenes, was suitably tough, but that's all.
Apart from the miscast leading man, the script SUCKED big time. This is one of the only action films I know which steadily becomes less exciting as it goes on. The 'climax' was pitiful - a pointless shootout with anonymous baddies in a contrived setting (still don't understand why Bond sank the building AS HE GOT INTO IT). It's my firm convinction that the parkour scene got so much adrenaline going, that it alone kept the audience going for most of the running time.
QoS does seem to have some more extravagant action scenes and at least one big vehicle chase, so that's a plus. But apart from that, can't say that I'm thrilled, exactly (the dialogue in the trailer was pretty bad, especially in the Bond/M exchanges).
And bottom line: Bond ISN'T blonde. Never was, never has been, never should be.

wcmartell said...

That is the book... construction worker falls from top of building, survives, he's God's #2 son.

My script is about the vatican's version of Indiana Jones protecting the woman who is about to give birth to God's #2 son from Satan's minions.

- Bill

Unknown said...

Big Bond fan here, and yes, I loved Craig and CASINO ROYALE too.

I think Pierce Brosnan doesn't get enough credit - before Craig, I think he was the best Bond since Connery. I also think Brosnan's Bond films don't get enough credit for trying to reinvent the Bond formula.

Think about it:

GOLDENEYE - What if the Bond villain was another Bond - another 00 agent?
TOMORROW NEVER DIES - What if a former Bond girl came back into Bond's life?
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH - What if the Bond girl was the Bond villain?
DIE ANOTHER DAY - What if Bond finally got caught?

Yes, most of them never lived up to their potential. (Except GOLDENEYE, IMO.) But at least they tried to start with something fresh and different. And those are *great* high concepts for Bond movies.

Jonas Ussing said...

Aye, I think it looks fantastic! I was a sucker for Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace (which I often accidentaly refer to as Casino Royale 2, rather than Bond 22), looks like more of the same. I also LOVE that they - for the first time since SPECTRE - have a villain organization that keeps the ball rolling from one movie to the next.

But I don't get the wetsuit comment.... Connery was the one with the tux under the wetsuit, in Goldfinger... (homaged in True Lies).

Jonah D said...

I have to agree word-for-word with Mrswing (BTW is it "Mrs wing" or "Mr Swing"?). Bond is not a hulligan nor is he BLONDE! Stop the maddness!

mrswing said...

It's Swing, Mr. Swing - on account I'm a Mr. who's into swing music and dance. :-)

The Brosnan films did try to freshen up the formula, but never really pulled this off. Mainly by making Bond too weak - feeling guilty about not saving his friend, or having abandoned his girlfriend in the past because he had commitment issues, or because he's in love (or whatever passes for it in his world) with the villainess... As I said, Bond doesn't need to grow. He did all the necessary growing before he came onto the stage.
My favorite of the Brosnans is Tomorrow Never Dies, probably because of Michelle Yeoh and some nice action scenes/stunts.

As for the post-Connerys, I'm partial to Spy Who Loved Me (first Bond I saw in the cinema, and the formula perfected to a 'T'), and I also think that Licence to Kill, while often very flawed (the whole Wayne Newton subplot - what were they thinking?!?) was actually a step in the right direction. Here Bond was personally involved, went rogue, lost his invulnerabilty (he was defeated by the Chinese agents, he ended up bruised and bloodied in every major action scene), yet the essence of the character was still intact. Timothy Dalton was never my choice for Bond, but it's too bad that he wasn't given the opportunity to perfect his performance and influence the direction the movies went into.

Finally, what I've been missing since 1981 in all Bond movies is the 'war movie' climax - two armed forces clashing while Bond runs around taking care of the major henchman and the master villain.

wcmartell said...

Wetsuit thing - Connery might look refined on the outside, but underneath he was ready for action. Moore might look ready for action on the outside, but underneath he was just some fancy dude.

- Bill

ObiDonWan said...

I liked Timothy Dalton too. He had the necessary savagery and instincts. But Dan Craig is the man. Now I just hope I can come up with the modern equivalent of Bond....

eXTReMe Tracker