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Moonraker (1979)

Where all other Bonds end, this one begins... | guide

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Old Oct 13, 2005, 01:19 PM   #1
Nexus
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Bond is Overrated

Bond is overrated. IMO.

Now, if a Bond film is on TV, I will watch it. It doesn't matter if it's a good one or not, I will watch it. I always see the latest one at the cinemas. But the thing is, I will never buy them.

Okay, I bought two on DVD. But that was because I was bored and I had the money. What's odd is that this happened many years ago and I have still yet to watch them.

The Bond films are fun, but there's so many of them and they're all the same, so I'm never in the mood for one. Sometimes with really prolific directors, like Hitchcock and Woody Allen, I would randomly buy a cheap DVD from them that I know I don't own and chances are, I will probably not bother watching them till ages later. But when I do, I tend to be overwhelmed and have the urge to buy another one from said directors and my addiction starts all over again.

The thing is with Bond, it's not like saying, "Tonight I'm in the mood for this certain film," it's more like, "I'm in the mood for this certain car chase" or something. It's a universally admitted fact that all the Bond films are all structured exactly the same but with better action, hotter Bond girls, crazier gadgets, etc. than the last one.

The Bond films are unique and unlike most film series - they're not really sequels or prequels and they're not literally (but they technically are) remakes either*. They're like repeated stories but the next film is a new director's interpretation. It's a bit like how the Batman movies could have gone if only Shumacher hadn't killed the franchise with Batman & Robin and so we couldn't see what new direction the series could have gone (and now we have Batman Begins, a totally new interpretation but I'm not sure if people would say it's part of the same universe. The same goes for the 1960s Batman movie). Also, there was a new actor for nearly every new film. But Bond still remains unique and different from most film franchises. You don't even have to ask someone if they've ever seen a Bond film before because you just KNOW that they have seen at least one.

So the Bond movies are unique, but they are also quite episodic, if that is the word I'm looking for, instead of cinematic. Sometimes when you list your favourite action films or essential films that you must see or whatever, you tend to forget Bond, either because everyone has seen them or they just don't feel like real films.

(*Excluding Never Say Never Again, which is not an "official" Bond film, and the upcoming Casino Royale because the original wasn't a proper Bond movie either. If Casino Royale is considered a Bond film, then so is Austin Powers, probably.)

I'm probably just rambling mindlessly but all what I'm trying to say is, they're overrated. I've never had the urge to join a James Bond message board and I don't think I ever will (excluding this forum, that doesn't count). The films are samey and can be quite predictable, but are good light entertainment, but none of them are worth buying. To make another comparison, they're like the Friday the 13th films. They, like Bond, are all the same and there's not really one that stands out which might be the reason why I never bought one (or maybe it's because the Friday the 13th films are utter crap).

This is why I'm all for a fresh, new style, which is what the makers of Casino Royale have promised. I don't think it matters that if one trademark thing (i.e. the gadgets) is taken away and therefore is "not Bond" because I want to see something totally different. Why not a faithful adapatation of the original novels for once (where Bond was a bigger bastard, an anti-hero that wouldn't make bad puns)? Hell, I loved the idea of Tarantino writing a script even though the producers said that if this were to happen, the films "would go out of control" or whatever - perhaps this is what the series needs.
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 02:10 PM   #2
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Re: Bond is Overrated

No gadgets? Now that's just cruel.


Seriously though, if you rewrite the whole thing, it wouldn't be Bond and you'd piss off the only people that watch them because it's got nothing to do with the 50 odd films that came before. It's a serialisation, like the old tv series, one adventure after another with the same structure - that's the point. Each one is made so they can make another, they're not looking to make a super duper blow everything else out of the water blockbuster, they're looking for a steady revenue. That's why they play safe.

You want something completely different to Bond? Then watch Bourne Supremecey or xXx (I dare you ).


Brocolli.
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 02:26 PM   #3
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Re: Bond is Overrated

xXx is actually quite like how the series is heading. Die Another Day, while I now consider it to be the weakest Brosnan, tried to do things differently, but not in a good way - in the party sequence, the camera doesn't just zoom in but whizzes in in a rather hyper-stylised, Rob Cohen-esque way. To make matters worse, Bond also, for once, sleeps with the heroine first, and then the villain. This wasn't good because it made him seem like a bigger bastard than he was before - in the past films, the women he sleeps with first tends to be a back-stabbing b*tch and later dies, and in the end, he finally sleeps with the heroine. However, in Die Another Day, he acted a bit like a he-slag.

True, he's slept with countless women, but because the series is so episodic and - excluding the Blofeld and SPECTRE plots - there seemed to be no story arcs at all, it makes you wonder if it is all set in the same universe, especially when Bond's physical features are always changing.
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 02:54 PM   #4
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Re: Bond is Overrated

If you try to rationalize the Bond series as whole you'll just end up with a headache. There's no logical way to explain why a spy in his early 40's in 1965 remains in his early 40's in 2005, why Q for example aged normally but Bond never did. It's one of those things you just don't worry about becasue Bond is not a sequalized series. They've attempted, over the years, to create small story arcs and expermanted with the idea of exploring the character more in the early Brosnan films (like talking about his parents) but I think they realized quite quickly how impossible that was. How could have a plot that connected with, say, From Russia With Love in a film set in 1998 after the fall of the Soveit Union? So they wisely dropped it.

As a huge Bond fan I'll be the first to admit the shallowness of the film series. But that's what I loved about it. Bond was the guy most guys dreamed about being...not long term, just for a little while. He had the gadgets, he had the women, he had the luck, and he had the skills we all dream about having. The films aren't deep, they're fun.

This is again why I would love to see the series go retro if they are intent on creating a more substantial character. If you are going to explore James Bond then you need to put him in the setting from which he originally sprang. If you try to recreate Bond in 2005 you're going to end up with something either totally different or, as M stated in one of the films, a masochistic womanizing alcoholic dinosaur.

Question: Is Casino Royale the only Fleming book not yet filmed (not counting the Americanized film or the spoof film from 1969 of course)?
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 04:14 PM   #5
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Yeah. The Bond books:

Casino Royale
Live & Let Die
Moonraker
Diamonds Are Forever
FRom Russia With Love
Dr. No
Goldfinger
For Your Eyes Only
Thunderball
The Spy Who Loved Me
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
You Only Live Twice
The Man With The Golden Gun
Octopussy/The Living Daylights

That's the chronological order they were published. Funny how the films did it in a different order.
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Old Oct 13, 2005, 04:24 PM   #6
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Re: Bond is Overrated

I've heard a number of the films used little more than the title from the book. If that were the case, several of the book might be available for films.
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Old Oct 14, 2005, 01:58 AM   #7
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Re: Bond is Overrated

HWS, you are correct. Other than the title, the films and novels have very little to do with each other, Moonraker being the most obvious case. And there's still debate over whether or not Ian Fleming actually finished The Man With The Golden Gun. Some films borrowed certain elements from different novels, so it's hard to say if any book (other than Casino Royale) has been touched. Elements from the novel have been taken and changed around in the movie and so on.

Who knows if Campbell and Haggis will stay true to all of Casino Royale. They've changed the card game from Bacarrat to Texas Hold 'Em, so who knows what the hell they are thinking.

In the case of Thunderball, I believe the screenplay was written first and then Fleming wrote the novel. Don't quote me on that though. That's why there was so much controversy between Fleming and McClory and who created what. Thunderball was supposed to be the first Bond film, but the lawsuits and so on caused them to chose Dr.No as the first Bond film

And probably why EON gave Blowfeld the shaft in FYEO as a way of getting back at McClory for the lawsuit and NSNA.

As for the original post, The James Bond series has never been about attaining a high cinematic standard for film, it's simply a pop culture phenomenon.

Just about every hot-blooded male in the world has stood in front of the mirrior and said, "The Name's Bond...James Bond."
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 11:09 AM   #8
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Quote:
Originally posted by Slash
They've changed the card game from Bacarrat to Texas Hold 'Em, so who knows what the hell they are thinking.

Texas Hold-em? That's just perverse. Sounds like they are making him out to be some kind of cowboy...playing poker. I guess next they'll change his drink of choice from a Vodka Martini to a Jack and Coke. This is just stupid.
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 05:43 PM   #9
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Quote:
I'm all for a fresh, new style,
Quote:
Die Another Day tried to do things differently ... the camera doesn't just zoom in but whizzes in in a rather hyper-stylised, Rob Cohen-esque way. To make matters worse, Bond also, for once, sleeps with the heroine first, and then the villain.

Just never happy are you?

[Interesting aside: Read an article on JoBlo the other day, guy was ranting on about how everyone (read critics) had been ranting on the director of Dominio - for that and previous films, because of his very choppy hyper stye. The gist was, so it's not their cup of tea great, but at least he's trying to do something different rather than shoving a camera on a stick.]

You know I love Tarantino, but to have him do Bond is ridiculous, he's far too overexposed as it is what with 'sticking his name on this', 'guest directing' on that - it's beginning to get ridiculous (I make exception for the total (un)possibility of him choreographing Ja-Ja-Blinkin-Idiot's death by lightsaber). Not to mention what's the point in making something so atypical Bond and calling it Bond? Make a different film, or at least parody it. But yes in the highly unlikely event Mr T should have anything to do with it, I will in all probability, wind up paying good money to see it, helpless marketing minion that I am.
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 07:37 PM   #10
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Quote:
Originally posted by Seraph
Just never happy are you?

How suspicious that "not in a good way" mysteriously disappears in the quote!
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Old Oct 18, 2005, 08:21 PM   #11
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Eh detracted from the overall effect ~grins~

Anyway so if you don't want it MTVed and you don't want him to become a sleeze bag, what do you want (bearing in mind this still has to be Bond and recognisable as such)?
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Old Nov 19, 2006, 02:26 PM   #12
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Now that I've seen Casino Royale, I want to buy some James Bond DVDs again.

Dammit.
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Old Nov 19, 2006, 06:02 PM   #13
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Ha Ha

Casino Royal is long over due and kicks Brosnan's (though I lvoe you for Thomas Crown Affair) perfecly prettified booty.
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Old Jul 1, 2008, 09:32 AM   #14
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighWiredSith
This is again why I would love to see the series go retro if they are intent on creating a more substantial character. If you are going to explore James Bond then you need to put him in the setting from which he originally sprang. If you try to recreate Bond in 2005 you're going to end up with something either totally different or, as M stated in one of the films, a masochistic womanizing alcoholic dinosaur.


I have to quote myself - wrote this well before Casino Royale came out and how true it was. The new Bond is nothing like the Bond of films 1-21. They've completely changed the character to something far more along the lines of Jason Bourne. The original Bond was the rich, spoiled, playboy who on the surface appeared nothing but that, rich and spoiled. But it was all a facade - for underneath (and to our delight) lurked a deadly hero with a license to kill. The new Bond seems as if he were some grungy, street urchin, plucked from a life of pain and struggle and then molded into a killer - to which there is nothing inherently wrong mind you, only that it's just not who James Bond is.

As a stand alone action/spy film - Casino Royale is as good as it gets. Heck, it might even stand as the first entry into a new and different series of films. But alas, it's not James Bond. Bond appears to have died with the end of the cold war and the rise of women's rights.
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Old Jul 1, 2008, 05:40 PM   #15
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Re: Bond is Overrated

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighWiredSith
As a stand alone action/spy film - Casino Royale is as good as it gets. Heck, it might even stand as the first entry into a new and different series of films. But alas, it's not James Bond. Bond appears to have died with the end of the cold war and the rise of women's rights.

Absolutely. As much as I enjoyed "Casino Royale", it never felt like I was watching a Bond movie, but rather some other generic series starring a dashing british spy.

I'm looking forward to "Quantom of Solace" (despite its ridiculous name) more than I can say I looked forward to the last few "genuine" Bond movie, that tended to suck, but it's still not the same. I think the last interesting Bond was Goldeneye, and from that point on, it was just crap until this new retcon gig.
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