Wishlisting: Bond 2020s

I’d like to see Shane Black pen a Bond script.

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Me too! But it’s about as likely as Black being asked to write and direct another Predator sequel. It’d be a treat if he recruited his Nice Guys star Russell Crowe to be the villain.

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Plus we would get another Bond set at Christmas

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why? His last two where really not that great, some would say outright bad…

The Nice Guys, Wikipedia.

the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 300 reviews

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Yes, and that´s about all 300 of them who watched it…Crowe and Gosling where great but the script is miles away from his old stuff like LW, LB or TLKG.

I agree. However, if all else fails, I see it’s rumoured PlayStation 5 will have full backwards compatibility for the entire back catalogue, and 4K support. I’ve been wanting this for a LONG time. Which means I’d be able to dust off the old Bond games again. “This is my second life.”

Everything or Nothing. I could finally play Everything or Nothing again!!!

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For this new decade, I’d like to get at least one film where Bond actually enjoys what he’s doing, where there’s no “trust” issues nor any psycho-babble. I’d like to see Bond as just Bond, being the best at what he does, doing it with style, enjoying it, and without any fuss over the relevance of MI6 or Bond or whatever. I so miss the lighter Moore era, where we would sit and watch and enjoy and not end up being depressed and weighted down!

Bring back the “nobody does it better” feel!

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I’ve heard this complaint a lot - initially I didn’t see it, but after SKYFALL and SPECTRE I have to agree that the element itself seems to have been somewhat overused. A little of that medicine can be useful; as a staple diet it feels repetitive. By now of course it’s become its own justification since the theme plays so heavily during the Craig era that dropping it now would be even more jarring.

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And it is not only the creators of Bond films who feel the pressure to have psychological depth and social relevance in their work. Escapism is not as escapist as it used to be.

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I want 3 more movies after No Time To Die, that aren’t rushed and given sufficient time to create the best possible movies.

Yeah, look at Bourne, Batman, etc.

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Absolutely, this is a major trend throughout pop culture, exploring the inner workings of its heroes and villains, telling ‘origin stories’ that claim to answer questions that simply were not asked in that way 20 years ago. A trend which does not always do its subjects a service.

Most heroes of genre fare belong to the archetype family, dating probably back to the days humans congregated around camp fires while there were predators out in the dark. These characters were heroic, or tragic or both, because of very simple and basic human urges: curiosity; lust; greed; sense of destiny and aspiration. And desire. And love (actually).

Today, the basic human condition supposedly isn’t enough any more to explain the heroes of our culture. They are ‘decoded’ backwards through our current day lens by giving them traumata, by putting them at odds with themselves and their world. They get a reason to do good - but if you look closer you sometimes find they are only self medicating their own condition. And doing good is merely the fallout. Lucky us, it could just as well have been the other side of the coin.

There’s an element of nihilism in that view that may be entirely realistic - humans simply are human - but also quite unbecoming to a family of tales we originally told each other to assure ourselves of a moral basis or benchmark.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the deeper exploration of characters of a heroic nature would be entirely null and void. But often enough these figures simply were not meant to have a depth of soul and mind like we do. Bond - when we first meet him on the pages of Casino Royale - was just a middle aged guy most male readers could slip over their own personality, their own daydreams. Amis once said Bond was a terribly shallow and boring type* - which didn’t disturb the reader at all since they didn’t want to dine with him, they wanted to be him.

Is that still true today?

*Or something to that effect, the exact words escape me at the moment.

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Warning: I am going into geek mode.

A book I love is “Staging Depth” by Joel Pfister. Pfister writes about Eugene O’Neill’s plays and how they provided their bourgeois audiences with a portrait of themselves as autonomous agents with psychological selves that can suffer trauma, be healed, improve, etc. O’Neill was following the lead of Freud/Ibsen/Strindberg and others in creating/promoting a concept of selfhood in which a person is more than just someone who exists in a society that acts upon him and shapes his life for both good and bad, and who has limited (if any) ability to change his circumstances and direct his life.

Pfister argues that the emerging middle class loved this new psychological self since it answered a need for an understanding of selfhood that provided them with something they could shape, which in turn raised their sense of autonomy to a level they believed commensurate with their new-established middle-class social status. No more were people fated to their lot in life (at least if they attained middle-class status)–they became active participants in their lives’ successes/failures (I am doing rough justice to the wonderful argument Pfister makes).

From my perspective, one of the developments in the 20th century art has been the elaboration and extension of this practice–resulting in the hyper-individualism of today’s culture. Archetypal characters now need backstories and traumas to overcome. Art is no longer concerned with presenting archetypes that model positive/negative behaviors. Art was now charged with presenting individuals
whom audiences could identify with psychologically rather than behaviorally (concurrent was an increasing disdain for art that had any whiff of didacticism). I watched THE BURMESE HARP (1956) last night and will be writing about it in the thread on movies seen, but I was struck by how Ichikawa told a fable where characters being psychologically believable was unimportant. What mattered was their validity as types, and the ethical positions they represented.

Exactly. Just doing good is not enough since to act in such a way is to strip the characters of their autonomy/individuality. Gone are the days when it was understood as desirable for a person to follow the dictates of their religion and the rules of external authority.

Again–exactly. Self-care is the priority of the contemporary person. The focus is inward rather that outward. Virtue ethics became moribund during the Enlightenment which saw the rise of the self. Fortunately, there has been renewed interest since the mid-20th century in that type of ethical thinking.

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I like psychological depth, and think it will always be present now in some form or another, but agree it could be toned down from what we’ve seen in the Craig era. Mainly by resting the trust issues, Bond leaves and returns from service, Bond going rogue plotlines.

Something as simple as Bond sitting alone in a hotel room and pouring himself a vodka speaks volumes. The lonely life of an assassin, with the visual saying more than any monologue could. I liked the SPECTRE conversation with Madeleine on the train. That was fine.

Craig’s Bond is rougher around the edges, and isn’t as dour as people say, IMO - however an actor more in line with Brosnan or Moore would change the dynamic by default.

Very intersting posts above!

In addition, I would say that the movie-makers tend to somewhat over-estimate the audience: we don’t always want depth and introspection. Sometimes we just want gratuitous escapist enjoyment. But it’s as if the movie-makers were afraid that without psychological issues we would not take the film and/or characters seriously, thus force-feeding us with “look how complex and dark I made it! Interesting, right?”…

It’s good that they introduced some depth into the character, as we did get some introspection in Fleming’s novels; I’m all for that. But they have to know when much is too much, and it’s now getting seriously nauseating.

I used to be thrilled when anticipating to go see the next Bond movie, looking forward to new adventures and great fun. Now I know I’ll have to endure tons of useless psycho-babble surrounding what should be sheer enjoyment.

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Well, it may not be tons - but it is a theme. And even one that’s somewhat reflected in Bond’s very DNA, from the hospital recovery chapter of Casino Royale to the airport bourbon reflections of Goldfinger to the thinly veiled self-analysis of Octopussy - our hero has always been a bit of a woke sulking emo type. We just didn’t see it depicted on the screen before.

And it wasn’t supposed to be a major plot element either - with the possible exception of You Only Live Twice, where Bond starts out as wreck and ends up as another kind of wreck. Otherwise, Bond was having issues but always marched on regardless, like the brave little toy soldier that he is.

And it’s by no means too recent a trend either: Brosnan had his tête-à-tête with his co-star on the beach going ‘deep’, had uncomfortable history with another co-star in Hamburg, got into another close encounter with Sophie Marceau and nearly fell for that Frost woman. That’s a full 25 years now…

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I could do with them giving the “genetic fiddling” thing a rest - it tends to play out towards the end of an actor’s run (I suspect it’s coming in April) and too early on will suggest they’re out of ideas.

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I imagine that after Boyle left them high and dry they’d have sold their grandma for an idea.

Hopefully they’ll grab some decent talent for 26 who will bring their own ideas… Clue: his name isn’t a Palindrome.

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