I was talking to a friend of mine today about the new Bond trailer that was released today. My buddy is more than a decade younger than I am, and it was pretty clear for a generation that came of age in the 90s the crazy gadgets and glamorous gals didn’t have the same appeal when everyone has a cell phone in their pocket, and porn was marching into the mainstream.
Part of the problem is that Roger Moore was a fairly poor bond. By the mid eighties he had long outstayed his welcome, and was driving the franchise into the ground until it had become a sad parody of itself that was overripe for the kind of parody that launched the Austin Powers series.
Here’s a great video of Moore discussing how little he cares about the character, and it shows off just how far the whole thing had fallen:
Things picked up a bit by the time that GoldenEye came out, but reality was already outpacing the movie gadgets, and generally the Bond series was unable to generate any plots that didn’t have Bond, once again, running from location to location trying to intercept or stop packages as they were being shipped from one location to another.
Ever since the third film the character’s main job was to mess with FedEx, and failing to actually get the package, blow up the destination when he stumbled into it.
The actual spying and such were secondary to the “suave sophistication”, set pieces, and big bangs that the series leaned on when they didn’t have much of an actual plot. Ultimately Pierce Brosnan’s bond succumbed to this overwhelming sameness. The urge to improve the series remained however, and the last classic Bond film, “Die Another Day” became post-modern when the usual ridiculous montage of hot chicks became part of an interpretive dance representing the torture that James was undergoing while he was trapped in a North Korean jail:
But they couldn’t even hold it together for an entire move. After all the sturm und drang, the movie devolved into more of the same old thing once Bond managed to reach Hong Kong and the sexy arms of Halle Berry.
But with a new, leaner and definitely meaner Bond, played by Daniel Craig, Casino Royale, although not complete devoid of the cliches, definitely felt different. Perhaps revitalized by the more brutal nature of international politics in a post-9/11 world, and the success of the Bourne films, it had an actual edge, and gave us a Bond that is both effective and effected. The new film, Quantum of Solace, picks up minutes after the last one, and seems to be attempting to build on what the last one started. According to the interviews, they’ve even avoided the usual globe-trotting in favor of focusing on Bond and his problems. So, the big question they need to answer is, can they keep making Bond more interesting forty years after the film series launched?
The new trailer makes it seem as if the answer may be yes.