The End of the James Bond Film Series?
Those of us who were looking forward to seeing the planned 23rd film in the James Bond series will just have to content ourselves with dipping into our DVD collections and rewatching some of the older films, after it was reported that the pre-production on Daniel Craig’s third outing has been indefinitely postponed. MGM’s well publicised financial problems, the lukewarm critical reception to the last Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008), and the fact that audiences may finally be getting sick of endless revamps, reboots, remakes and reinterpretations of classic films and classic characters have all contributed to the fact that we won’t be seeing James Bond 23 any time soon.
This is worrying news for Bond fans. Some Bond films are better than others and there have been a few real stinkers in the series now and then, but the series only just underwent a major revamp (as Casino Royale (2006) was in essence a prequel to all the previous Bond films as it shows how Bond earned his 007 licence to kill status) and for it to be in trouble so soon afterwards is not a good sign. Every time a new actor plays Bond it is in some ways a revamp, but if the new film is delayed long enough for Craig to lose interest in the part, how will they replace him without once again skewering the continuity and tone of the series? The longest gap yet between Bond films was the six- year hiatus after Licence to Kill in 1989. It took a new Bond in Pierce Brosnan, and a whole new approach to the films in the 1990s, to revitalise the series. As Quantum was released two years ago, and as production on a new film won’t start till at least 2012, we could be looking at an equally long wait. Perhaps too long? I’m being pessimistic, and I hope I’m wrong. Also, a rethink of the Bond series after Craig’s last two outings in the role may be called for. Craig, like Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton before him, has succeeded in portraying the darker side of Ian Fleming’s hard-drinking and womanising spy. But although the Craig films are satisfyingly dark and fast-paced, they lack some of the wit and delightfully British eccentricity that made Roger Moore’s Bond films so enjoyable. Moore had his faults of course, he never took the role too seriously, and he wasn’t particularly interested in challenging himself as an actor. But still he holds the record as the longest serving Bond, starring in seven films over twelve years from 1973 to 1985. The series could do well if it tried to recapture some of the charm and humour he brought to the role.
Moore’s first Bond film was the voodoo-themed Live and Let Die. In the scene below, Bond is trapped in a swamp surrounded by crocodiles and can only escape by jumping on the backs of one crocodile to another! It may not be art, but it’s cinematic gold! Enjoy.