Features

It’s time to kill James Bond

28 May 2016

9:00 AM

28 May 2016

9:00 AM

You now need to be in your mid-sixties or older — a chilling thought — not to have lived your whole life in the shadow of James Bond. In 1953, the year of the Queen’s coronation and the conquest of Everest, Bond announced his arrival with the words, ‘The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning’, the opening line of Casino Royale.

His creator was Ian Fleming, a cynical, not-very-clean-living newspaperman with a chequered career behind him, who wrote the book to take his mind off ‘the agony’ of getting married for the first time. Even Jonathan Cape, his publisher, thought the book ‘not up to scratch’, but brought it out in a modest print run as a favour to Fleming’s then better-known brother Peter, among other things the Spectator columnist ‘Strix’ for many years.

Now, more than 60 years later, and more than 50 after the death of his creator, 007 is in the news again, as we learn that Daniel Craig may or may not sign up to play Bond for the fifth time. Sir Roger Moore, who played Bond in all of seven movies between 1973 and 1985, says gravely that ‘He is the incumbent actor in the role, until he says otherwise.’ But Craig seems to be suffering from Bond fatigue, and has reportedly said that he’s ‘done’ with the part. Some of us will sympathise, having been done with Bond a long time since.

Even so, ‘Bondage’ has been a most revealing phenomenon; it’s not too much to call it an episode in cultural and social history. As the books became more popular, they attracted notoriety, scolded by critics for their ‘vulgarity and display’, their air of dissipation, and for the sex, or the kind of sex, well before the present age, when everything about them offends against contemporary canons of correctness, from Bond’s 70th cigarette of the day to ‘the sweet tang of rape’.


Under the headline ‘Sex, snobbery and sadism’, Paul Johnson famously called Dr No ‘without doubt, the nastiest book I have ever read’. And more recently, the late Christopher Hitchens wrote a funny piece, ‘Ian Fleming: Bottoms up’, in which, apart from observing that one of Fleming’s early mentors was called Phyllis Bottome, and one of his mistresses Monique Panchaud de Bottomes — ‘This might be coincidence (it could hardly be conspiracy)’ — he correctly noted that Fleming wrote much more enthusiastically about flagellation than copulation.

If the original novels bear serious attention at all, it’s for an underlying theme of national decline, which makes them 1950s period pieces. Like his creator, Bond is oppressed by everything from the sloth of postwar working-class youth to the humiliation of Suez. Fleming served creditably in the wartime Royal Navy Voluntary Reserve, rising to the rank of Commander, but most of the time as a ‘chocolate sailor’, in his own rueful phrase, who fought his war from behind a desk. Except just once: he literally ‘saw action’ on 19 August 1942 when he was in a destroyer off the coast of France and witnessed the catastrophic Dieppe raid in which Mountbatten and Montgomery sent large numbers of Canadian soldiers to needless death or captivity. This may help explain Bond’s under-lying insecurity, and his boasting that we can still climb Everest and run a four-minute mile.

After the books came the films, the first in 1962 two years before Fleming died, and following his death the spin-off or rip-off novels. They began with Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis and continue right down to the latest pseudo-Bonds by Sebastian Faulks and William Boyd. If I haven’t lost count, there are now some two dozen movies and three dozen ‘after-Bond’ books. It’s quite droll that, whereas great writers have often been imitated by lesser writers, Fleming is a rare if not unique case of a tawdry popular novelist who has been mimicked by much better writers.

There have also been parodies rather than pastiches of Fleming, from Bernard Levin’s very funny ‘Queen of the North-West’ in The Spectator in 1960 to Cyril Connolly’s only fairly amusing ‘James Bond Strikes Camp’. And yet that last was surely the right word, for the books and still more for the movies, each of which outcamps the last until the films with Craig have dissolved into self-parody.

There may perhaps be some men who still agree with Amis that ‘We rather enjoy being told by our wives and sweethearts that we’re smoking and drinking too much. It enables us to feel devil-may-care at little trouble or expense,’ although Fleming, who smoked even more than Bond and drank a bottle of gin a day before dying at 56, was no advertisement for devil-may-care (nor was Kingsley in his later years). The rest of us may feel as weary as Mr Craig. The name’s Bond, James Bond, you say? Well thank you, but you have delighted us long enough.

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Show comments
  • davidshort10

    I don’t think it was a case of ‘rising to the rank of Commander’. I think he was simply appointed to the rank, by other members of the Establishment. And wasn’t it his friends who mocked him as a ‘chocolate soldier’? I don’t recall it was his ‘own rueful phrase’. Nevertheless, he created an iconic character. I agree it is worn out. I have never been able to finish any of the books by the follow-up writers. The latest screen Bond, while ever more successful than the previous ones, bears absolutely no resemblance to the character, and looks like a thug, which I suppose is the spirit of the times. The rot set in with Pierce Brosnan, though. His incarnation was nagged by women. ‘It’s why you’re alone!’, remarked the ‘Bond girl’ in his first outing and Judi Dench as ‘M’ called him a ‘relic of the Cold War’, when of course her character was far older than his. Bond women don’t nag.

    • #toryscum

      Goldeneye is, without a doubt, the best Bond film of them all.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        Agreed. Bizarrely Roger Moore was the best Bond of all as he played him comicbook style, wry.

        • SunnyD

          he should’ve stopped way before View to a Kill – watching his creased and stiff exterior pranny about with Patrick McNee was almost unbearable

          • gunnerbear

            C’mon, View To A Kill isn’t that bad….

      • Anglian Reed

        Certainly in the top 5, though perhaps not the best.

        • #toryscum

          My top 3-
          1. Goldeneye
          2. Casino Royale
          3. Licence to Kill

          yours?

          • Anglian Reed

            Tough to whittle it down to a top 3.

            Perhaps…

            1. The Spy Who Loved Me
            2. The Man With The Golden Gun
            3. The Living Daylights

            Though my tastes vary as I see them, and one or two of the Connery ones would definitely bubble up into the top 3 now and then.

      • davidshort10

        I have many doubts. I would say From Russia With Love was the best. But ‘without a doubt’, the best opening by far, by far, and not just for Bond movies,, was that of The Spy Who Loved Me.

    • gunnerbear

      Bond had to change to capture the Jason Bourne Brigade – now Bond is simply another ‘smash ‘n’ bash fest’, utterly interchangeable – to my mind at least – with a whole host of other big screen ‘smash ‘n’ bash fest’s’. All the humour has gone….

      • The_Common_Potato

        The Bourne films bear little resemblance to Ludlum’s novels.

        • gunnerbear

          Totally agree.

  • IainRMuir

    Watching Bond films is not compulsory and, using the BBC as an analogy, I don’t have to pay for them regardless of what I do watch.

    I can think of quite a few TV programmes that, IMO, shouldn’t have been conceived in the first place.

    • KingEric

      I quite agree. Personally I quite enjoy Bond films as a bit of escapism every now and then. I don’t understand why anyone needs to get worked up about it. If you don’t like it, there’s plenty of other things to do to keep yourself amused.

      • IainRMuir

        I think Mr Wheatcroft is just parading what he sees as his own superior taste and sophistication.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      The Great British Sewing Bee? Plus that nonsense pottery throwing thing.

      • SunnyD

        I wish I’d known that when we met at Watford Met station in my schooldays… I might’ve made more conversation with him
        I still have my Geography book with little signed hexagons with D and B in it

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Gold to gold in 60 seconds or less. I’ll have a P please Bob.

          • SunnyD

            I’ll have an “E” please Bob

      • Mary Ann

        I like the sewing bee.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          AAAaaaarrrrrgggghhh. I loathe it.

      • The_Common_Potato

        “Sean Connery was not the first actor to play James Bond, and no, it wasn’t Blockbusters host Bob Holness either. The first man to ever embody 007 was American actor Barry Nelson, who played card shark ‘Jimmy Bond’ in a terrible adaptation of Casino Royale for US TV.”

        http://uk.ign.com/articles/2012/10/24/25-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-james-bond

        It’s probably safe to say that Connery was the first to play Bond ‘decently’.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          This was an adaptation of Bond for Climax ,Mystery Theatre. Holness was first to play James ( not Jimmy) Bond in an actual Bond production for South African radio in 1956.

      • gunnerbear

        Blockbusters……brilliant…. 🙂

    • Mary Ann

      Mostly on the commercial television channels, pandering to the LCD

  • Jojje 3000

    But it’s not Fleming that is the genius, it’s Broccoli.

    • MickC

      Yes, that is a very interesting point.

      Of course, the late Kevin McLory believed that it was he who actually invented the “screen” Bond, which became so succesfull. In any event, Broccoli was the genius at managing, promoting and selling the “product”; and what good is any product without those?

      As for killing Bond off, one may as well say kill off Sherlock Holmes….it quite simply cannot be done.

      • gunnerbear

        Yep….the three golden rules…. Bond has to survive, Bond has to get the girl, the villain must get the chop…..

  • Penny

    So pleased I am not alone. Have loathed them since the 60’s,

  • Andrew Cole

    Sounds to me like the writer of this article is another of those that wants a different Britain wiping away history and in with the new wave of the EU federation.

    What is wrong with a bit of history, of a bit of a reminder about the past. It is fun to indulge in the thought that the best secret agent in the world is from tiny Britain.

    I await the next article that says “It is time to end this Shakespeare love in.”

    Long live Bond. It is fun and not meant to be defining.

    • Mary Ann

      I like the EU and Bond, the two are not mutually exclusive.

      • Andrew Cole

        But then you aren’t one of those trying to wipe out anything British. You just don’t want to be here.

  • njt55

    Either that or make him a bit more like Jason Bourne – those movies are streets ahead of any James Bond film I’ve seen. Give Bond some doubts and more of a back story. Maybe it’s time to “reboot” the franchise, starting with an updated Dr. No.

    • jheuristic

      Dr. No-No?

    • Mary Ann

      The cold war wouldn’t work for those under 40

      • gunnerbear

        Come Back Harry Palmer…all is forgiven…..

    • gunnerbear

      That’s why Bond for me has been ruined – precisely because they’ve tried to make him more like Jason Bourne…..

  • 301

    There may not always be a James Bond, but “There’ll always be an England, And England shall be free If England means as much to you As England means to me”.

    • Thomas Ackerman

      here here

  • The modern James Bond is a politically correct, namby pamby wimp!

    • greencoat

      Craig’s Bond has given us the worst of all worlds – a blank-eyed thug one minute, a sniffling weakling the next.
      But Bond must go on – the next one should man up and smash fist-first into Islam.

  • Eques

    Nothing saddens me more than to hear the educated young people of today (well, 40s and under) discussing the merits of the various Bond and Indiana Jones films in the same way that previous generations would discuss the merits of the various Shakespeare plays.

    • FA

      Back in Ol’ Bill’s time, his plays were the popular writings for his period, much like Bond books and films have been during the past 50 years.

      • Father Todd Unctious

        Prithee Sirrah ,yeah thou art verily a knave ,and so to bed. Exeunt ,flourish stage left.

    • gunnerbear

      Yep…because things more on…..that’s why we don’t speak in Old English and think that witches exist……

      • Eques

        I was referring to the young people of the 1950s,not of Shakespeare’s day.

        Anyway regardless of the timing Shakespeare is intelligent and profound, Bond and Indi are empty and vacuous.

  • Eques

    It also saddens me that the easily pleased Western male seems to view Bond as the ideal of what a man should be – a smirking ponce in a bow tie, drinking ladies’ cocktails and playing with lego cars.

    • 100

      Leave Ben Fogle out of it!

    • #toryscum

      Out of interest, what is your ‘ideal’ of what a man should be?

      • Father Todd Unctious

        A mixture of Peter Cook, Peter Ustinov, Ian Botham and Stewart Lee.

    • gunnerbear

      Bond has one huge disadvantage….he works for SIS not the Security Services…..the three best ‘spies’ are – in my honest opinion- in no special order: Harry Palmer, Bernard Sampson and of course George Smiley (yes technically GS was ‘fifth floor’ but I still think it counts).

  • Freddythreepwood

    Fleming’s ‘crime’ was that he became successful, popular and rich. Other ‘superior’ writers hate that. The ‘arts’ are full of this sort of jealously and b1tchiness. Besides, Superman has been around for longer, and is still going strong. So is Micky Mouse.

    • Brigantian

      If the Americans had a sense of humour we would have had Superman vs Mickey Mouse: entirely possible with CGI.

  • commenteer

    I thought the first line of Casino Royale excellent. Actually, I was quite surprised by how well the Bond novels had worn when my son wanted to read them and I re-read some of them myself. I thought them rather good, actually.
    More respectable writers of the time, say, Angus Wilson or Iris Murdoch, are almost unreadable today, in my view.

  • SeaNote

    The last movie, whatever it was, finished off Bond, it was lousy.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Now come on. It was worse than that. It was unwatchable drivel.

      • And yet it is the second highest-grossing James Bond film ever…the 1st? Skyfall

  • 1234567890

    He’s been dead for many a year; Cubby & Herschel pushed the poncey agenda.

  • Graham Rye

    It Geoffrey Wheatcroft *really* believes that several of the Bond continuation authors were better novelists than Ian Fleming I can’t take anything *he* writes about seriously.

    Graham Rye
    Editor/Designer/Publisher
    007 MAGAZINE

  • Marathon-Youth

    Ian Fleming was the best and only writer of the James Bond character
    Sean Connery was the only actor to play the role of James Bond.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Well and David Niven. He was brilliant. I think Moore was excellent.

      • jeremy Morfey

        One for the pub quizzes here. David Niven was the only actor who played Bond who was in real life once a special agent working on active service on the front line – providing military intelligence for the advancing Allied forces in Normandy. He refused to discuss what he did there, only that he’d much prefer snoozling up to Ginger Roger’s breasts.

    • davidblameron

      Clive Owen would have been a superb Bond and he wore the tuxedo well but he’s over the hill now.

  • john

    The Craig Bond is far too angry and mean – as is the M character. Bond needs some humor or it is boring.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Craig has been a disaster as Bond. It may as well be a wretched Bruce Willis movie.

      • Anglian Reed

        The name’s Bourne, James Bourne.

        I agree. I’m no fan of the Craig Bonds.

        • gunnerbear

          I hate to be picky but Bond is SIS not MI5……(I presume you mean MI5). I’ll get me coat… 🙂

          • Anglian Reed

            Indeed – typo fixed.

            And you’re also correct – Bond is SIS (MI6), rather than MI5.

    • Jojje 3000

      So right, Moore is the best.

      • Mary Ann

        preferred Brosman.

    • post_x_it

      I’m not sure if it’s entirely Craig’s fault. He doesn’t write the scripts.
      The recent bond films are squarely aimed at a global market that puts a high value on explosions, spectacular action sequences and grand conspiracies, but doesn’t understand the subtle British humour that made the earlier films so watchable.

      • john

        Dead right!
        Bond also has a deep leavening of British 1950s nostalgia – fading Empire and all – and that is now missing.

  • Ingmar Blessing

    They could kill him with me playing Bond. I’m white, blond (for 80% of mankind), blue eyes, got a six-pack, the age is about right, my back can be shaved if really necessary (or body-doubled). I can even act a bit! And I also have a strong German accent. Wouldn’t that be great for a new Bond? 😉

    Bottom line: Bond will die in the moment of break-not-even. Then perhaps they’ll try more perfume and maybe a chain with “authentic British food” (fish and chips or curry and falafel?). And if that won’t help, they’re gonna put him to sleep forever. Or they sell him to China.

  • davidblameron

    James Bond films showed themselves to be big earners at an early stage (Dr No, the first in 1962 has grossed well over a hundred times what it cost to make in the mere six weeks it took to film). The character is kept going purely for greed now. They were ok in the 1960s and 70s when most cinema goers rarely got chance to escape their boring, mundane existence.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      The 60s and 70s were a rare era of freedom and joy. What do you mean mundane? It was a perfect joy to be alive from 1965 until 1979. Then Thatcher ruined it for 90% of us.

      • davidblameron

        her Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Howe immediately freed up the amount of money a traveller could take abroad, up from the previous £200 limit one was allowed. You are not as free now as you were in the 1980s.

        • Mary Ann

          I can take as much as I like on holiday now.

          • you either don’t take much or are breaking the law then.

      • Tamerlane

        Is that why everyone voted for her three times in a row? Twit.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          Everyone? About 35% of 70% of people.

          • Tamerlane

            You voted, you participated, you endorsed the result. Get over yourself. Twit.

          • Mary Ann

            Not voting is a mug’s game, he voted against her, as I did, trying to protect the less well off against rampant selfishness.

          • Tamerlane

            If you participate in the system you endorse its outcome, you may not like the outcome but you endorse it. There’s really no getting around that one. Never not once have I ever voted Labour but I recognised the result, ghastly as it was, that put Blair in No 10 three times in row. Ditto the upcoming referendum, I know REMAIN will win, but I will vote nevertheless and thus I endorse the outcome even if I don’t like it.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            What rubbish. You imply that if you vote at all you endorse the winner. So the only opposition is abstsntion. You utter idiot. You do not understand democracy like your cheating Russian friends.

          • Tamerlane

            God you’re thick. Let me spell it out for you. You endorse the process that results in the winner, don’t then go bleating the process isn’t fair. There is pigswill more intelligent than you, you utter thick buffoon. Twit.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Oh dear , you do sound cross again.Where did I say the process was unfair?
            I just pointed out that only a minority ever voted for the old bag.

          • But you’re the one who said she “ruined it for 90% of us”

          • Tamerlane

            Quit yer whining loser. Twit.

          • Sponsz

            And what if there is genuine evidence of voter fraud on a large scale? Hypothetical? It seems that the recent Austrian election was stolen. Will you accept the result then?

          • Hugh

            Or rather at least 42% on turnouts between 73-76%.

          • jeremy Morfey

            She once said that Daniel Ortega led an undemocratic junta in Nicaragua on a 43% mandate, justifying the CIA death squads there, funded by Iranian sanctions busting. Similar things were said about fellow Conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his 48% (uncontested, but 61% if you count the dodgy votes) mandate.

          • Hugh

            Thanks for the history lesson. Still, we’re agreed saying she got about 35% on a turnout of 70% is balls, isn’t it?

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Oh. So a tiny bit more than I said. Gosh. She must have been overwhelmingly popular. My mistake.

          • Tamerlane

            Still participated in the process that made her PM three times in a row, so quit yer bleating loser. Don’t complain you didn’t like the rules of the game after you lost. You’re a loser I know but there’s a limit. Twit.

          • Hugh

            Do we mean a tiny bit more than the 39.5% you’ve edited your comment to read or the 35% you originally wrote? That’s a bit dishonest (and slightly pathetic) to do that, don’t you think?

            As it is, she achieved about the same as Blair in his 1997 landslide – for three elections running. On that measure she would seem the most popular prime minister in about half a century.

        • Mary Ann

          I have never voted Tory in my life. You insult me.

          • Tamerlane

            When I insult you sweets you’ll know.

      • Mary Ann

        Or as my hubby likes to put it, everything she touched made him poorer. I despised her “there’s no such thing as society” followed by beggars on the street.

        • davidshort10

          It’s a misquote, as I am sure you and everyone else who repeats it knows.

          • red2black

            “I think we have been through a period when too many people have been given to understand that when they have a problem it is government’s job to cope with it. ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant. I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They are casting their problems on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no governments can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours. People have got their entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There is no such thing as an entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

        • as has been pointed out, this quote is so eschewed to make ANYONE still spouting it as totally wrong or plain daft. Which is it?

      • “90% of us” …meaning sad lazy losers? 70s were a disaster.

      • Son_of_Casandra

        Loved that three day week, sitting shivering in the dark beside a candle because here was no power for heat or light, piles of rubbish in the street and dead bodies overflowing from morgues with people refusing to bury them.

        Oh what joy. Oh how we laughed!

        Are you insane? Thatcher was the one who fixed the unions for once and for all.

        • Father Todd Unctious

          What strange myths you cleave to. The 3 day week was under Heath for 9 weeks in the run up to the Februsry 1974 election. A desperate attempt to malign the Miners.
          The Tory invented “Winter of discontent” other than the oil tanker drivers strike in December lasted from 22 January until mid February 1979. 25 days without bin collections.
          You misremember the past as regards bodies overflowing. Just 80 gravediggers went on strike in Liverpool and Manchester. 150 bodies waited 25 days for burial.

          • Son_of_Casandra

            So was 1974 not in that “rare era of freedom and joy” “from 1965 to 1979”?

            Was the oil tankers strike not in that joyous era?

            Were there not innumerable strikes that occurred then because of the unfettered power of the unions, which the blessed Thatcher put an end to?

          • Father Todd Unctious

            You refer to 9 weeks in a period of 15 years.

          • Son_of_Casandra

            I refer to a period of continuous decline and the misery of having endless strikes throughout.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Can you give the evidence for endless strikes between 1965 and 1979. Or is this a myth the Tories put about?
            We lost just as many days to strikes in the 80s. Thatcher caused dozens of strikes as part of her agenda to line richmen’s pockets

          • Son_of_Casandra

            Left wing bollocks and lies made up by morons like you.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6729683.stm

            The National Rail Strike of June 24, in 1968

            Unofficial strike by mineworkers over pay of surface workers 1969

            TV Colour Strike 1970–1971, UK

            1971 United Kingdom postal workers strike 1971, UK

            UK building workers’ strike 1972

            UK miners’ strike 1972 UK

            Solidarity strike by the Birmingham area of the AUEW (engineers union), at the Battle of Saltley Gate 1972

            Ulster Workers’ Council Strike 1974

            UK miners’ strike 1974

            Grunwick Dispute 1976–1977

            Winter of Discontent 1978–1979

          • Father Todd Unctious

            You have cited 100 days of strikes in a period spanning 4,000 days. Even then only strikes in narrow specific industries.
            I can only conclude you exaggerate for effect.
            2 to 3% of the time saw some strikes in limited areas, not ” endless strikes”.

          • Son_of_Casandra

            More bollocks and lefty lies from you.

            Grunwick for example. A two year strike involving thousands of trade unionists, 550 arrest, the SPG involved, a national enquiry set up and that wa sby a Labour government. Just union trouble making, incited by people in the pay of the Soviets trying to destroy the British economy.

  • Mary Ann

    Leave him alone, he’s good fun. It’s entertainment it doesn’t need to be meaningful.

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Goldeneye, Octopussy and Diamonds are Forever are all superb films.

      • davidblameron

        From Russia With Love was by far the best, it is feasible, the others aren’t.

        • AdamsJ

          It also is the one that followed the book most closely – the books are not at all bad, in my view.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Well, yes, lots to be said for the writer’s view – much the same as that other vintage act, the Rolling Stones, whom I went to see in 1980 because I really thought they’d be packing it in before long… When I was 14 my best friend at school & I were keen to read the latest Fleming; and of course those earliest Bond films with Connery had vastly more style, wit etc than any of the later efforts. I can still watch the DVDs of those with enjoyment, every year or two, but I’ve never watched any of the subsequent Brosnan/Moore(really lame)/Craig ones a second time.
    In Fleming’s defence, Kingsley Amis found the books interesting, and wrote what I think was the first homage, “Colonel Sun” – must read that again. Pretty sure there’s at least one Amis essay on Bond too, in which he excoriates the prim horror with which Lefties everywhere view these works. Well they would, wouldn’t they… But probably best if Bond films were put out to grass.
    BTW Geoffrey W, it was “Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve” – not “Voluntary”.

  • Tony Buchanan

    Bond films remind me of chilly Bank Holiday Mondays stuck in the house with parents, with the only alternative perhaps Smokey & The Bandit on the other channel. I think I discovered reading literature in my teens largely because of this. A handful of good thrillers in the canon, Dr No, Live & Let Die, Goldeneye, Licence to Kill but it’s really little more than a cinematic version of a glossy Men’s Magazine: fast cars, product placement and bikinis galore *yawn*.

  • Gareth

    Bond is a useful reminder of the days when British governments acted to defend the country instead of destroying it.

  • tolpuddle1

    Bond has already mutated a number of times; the more recent films are quite different in atmosphere from the 1960’s Sean C ones.

    There is no reason why he cannot mutate indefinitely

  • Brigantian

    After Craig’s support for the EU became known, it would be extraordinarily cynical for him to continue portraying a character that is supposed to defend British sovereignty? Perhaps he could become EN007 and take instructions from Jean Claude Junckers instead of M.

  • JabbaTheCat

    Bond stopped with the last Fleming novel, imho, the films are in the main totally unwatchable…

    • Father Todd Unctious

      Since the Millennium Bond has been pointless crap.

      • davidblameron

        been making big money though

      • Tamerlane

        So have you but we put up with your bleating. Twit.

      • Athelstane

        It got pointless long before that – but, as someone has note, it keeps making money, so they keep making more of it.

        • Darren Ramlogan

          No it has not.

          • Athelstane

            The Bond franchise basically became pointless caricature even before Connery left the role (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service being the last interesting one), though Dalton and Brosnan managed halfway worthwhile spy action flicks with their first Bond films respectively.

            Whereas the Daniel Craig Era has reimagined Bond as a more stylish Jason Bourne hybrid. It works on its own logic more often than not, and the characterization is actually closer to Fleming’s Bond than anything seen since the mid-60’s, which may not always be a compliment. The thing should be laid to rest after Craig’s retirement, but they’ll keep making movies into the 22nd century so long as they can turn a tidy profit, as we all know.

          • Darren Ramlogan

            No, forever. I think all the movies are great, and the whole franchise itself, even though some of them may have their flaws, they are all a success and every actor had done a great job portraying him, not just financially though. The franchise has been able to keep going because of the change of the times, new elements coming into place whilst being considerate to the typical Bond elements, and whilst something goes wrong with the franchise, the solution is always figured out and works at the end. In the future the franchise will still show no signs of stopping at all, as long as Eon Productions improves upon them. Yes, Sean Connery’s were all successful (the cream of the crop), George Lazenby’s wasn’t as Connery’s successful but pretty excellent, Roger Moore’s were great, even-though he got to old in 1985 and had the franchise had to move on and weren’t as faithful to the gritty side of the character, Timothy Dalton’s were also great, but were a bit underrated, Pierce Brosnan’s were great, resurrecting the franchise and making it pretty modern, and bringing back some classic Connery elements as well as a bit of Moore’s during the first 3 movies, but was a bit too modern in Die Another Day with a bit too much CGI. Daniel Craig’s maintained the modern style of Bond in our times whilst being faithful to the novels, showing a gritty side of Bond and making him more of a complex character. Even though some of the movies in the entire franchise so far needed some improvements, they are all worth watching, having more improved squeals into the future and forever.

      • Darren Ramlogan

        No. It has not

  • Mark Scott

    bond is a brilliant window into the post-war loss of empire irrelevance of Britain and the wonderfully paper-thin myths created to salvage dignity … Bond was everything Britain acutely was not!

    • Jojje 3000

      ..and the accompanying loss of self-esteem.

      • Mark Scott

        bond — the mythical warrior of an obscure tribe! Actually embodying all the very worst values of the time! love the way Bond perpetuates the idea of the bumbling yank – who, if anything the brits hated more than the ruskies!!! Follows on from one of the brit myths about world war 2 – the loud johnny come lately yanks did nothing. Quick check of the casualty figures show the americans suffered more than the Brits. And of course russia won the war!!!

        • Ridcully

          So good you had to post it twice, huh?

          • red2black

            You Only Post Twice.

    • MickC

      But the UK was apparently not so irrelevant that the US did not want it to fight in Korea, to re-arm in the early 1950s, to send troops to Vietnam (Harold Wilson managed to evade that one, thank god….), to stay in the EU (if irrelevant, why is the US bothered…..), join in sanctions against Russia after the US intervention in the Ukraine goes pear-shaped…..
      Irrelevance seems somewhat flexible….

      • Mark Scott

        ah mr blunt….

        • MickC

          Not intended to be blunt, just historically accurate in that the UK is hardly irrelevant.

          Yes, the UK no longer has an “empire” (did it ever really have one, or just a trading “system”…..calling something an empire doesn’t make it one…..discuss…..20 marks!….), and has given up the world policeman role to the US (which will also shortly do so…..), but it is still an important entity. Naturally, the ruling elite over-estimate its importance, but most of the population do not, I think, and never cared about “empire” anyway.

          Fleming wrote an entertainment to alleviate his boredom, and make some money. He wrote about his own experiences and musings; his happened to have been formed by his role in naval intelligence during “the war”. Bond, as he said, was no more than the product of an adolescent mind. The Bond industry is the product of shrewd American businessmen.

          • Mark Scott

            the idea that the yanks!, if ever in a pickle, would turn to british intelligence for a plan of action — isn’t funny?

          • MickC

            Yes, of course it is!

            However, I would point out that prior to the Iraq War, publicly the US put great store by the “dodgy dossier” presented by Tony Blair, err, the UK. How the US spokesmen managed to keep from bursting out laughing whilst doing so, I have no idea…. I almost did, but the matter was a bit too serious for humour!

            From memory, I don’t think the books actually suggest the US asks for UK help. I think Bond is sent to investigate/sort out UK difficulties, and those “just turn out” to involve US interests. Fleming was probably politically realistic enough to understand the reduced status of the UK, but commercial enough to know the books had to sell in the US….

    • catmangler

      Somebody’s certainly got a chip on his shoulder. You really think Dr No and Octopussy are creations to salvage British dignity?!

      • Mark Scott

        ever compare a ford popular with a cadillac…

        • red2black

          Only to the extent that they’re both American.

          • Thomas Ackerman

            so is the queen and your last legit king.

          • red2black

            Not that I’d wish to compare them, but an American influence?

    • red2black

      “…and ‘Mark Scott’, Ma’am?”
      “Just make it look like an accident, 007…”

      • Mark Scott

        ah mr bond… i will be expecting you….

        • red2black

          You’re safe. I’m still chasing Caroline Munro in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.

  • Mark Scott

    bond — the mythical warrior of an obscure tribe! Actually embodying all the very worst values of the time!… love the way it perpetuates the idea of the bumbling yank – who, if anything the brits hated more than the ruskies. Follows on from one of the brit myths about world war 2 – the loud johnny come lately yanks did nothing. Quick check of the casualty figures show the americans suffered more than the Brits. And of course russia won the war!!!

    • MickC

      Unfortunately, of recent it is the “Yanks” themselves who have perpetuated the idea of the “bumbling yank”, with the bumbling “Brit” ruling elite more than happy to tag along making the UK look like a demented poodle.
      And yes, the Ruskies ruthlessly efficient at getting on with the job in hand….

    • catmangler

      Perhaps you should employ some British consultants to help you cope with the ongoing decline in American relevance?
      Re WW2: Stalin himself said that Russia would have lost the war if it weren’t for the assistance he received from the Allies. I think you’ll find a number of countries contributed to the Allied victory, including both Britain and the US. It doesn’t have to be a zero-sum thing.
      What’s actually your problem, did you get dumped by an English girl or something?

    • Ridcully

      In what way was Felix Leiter bumbling?

  • catmangler

    When the films stopped portraying a flippant, smoking and drinking playboy – and did away with the jokes – they changed the character so much he ceased to be James Bond. Craig’s films are alright as action films, but Bond they are not. There’s no fun in them, and it’s past time to kill them off.
    Won’t happen though, get ready for a disabled, transgender Bond of colour before the franchise finally peters out.

    • jmshigham

      Woman too. Don’t forget wimmin.

  • Halo

    is it making lots of money? then it stays.

  • Anthony Claret

    so long as they don’t cast Hiddleston…;)

    • Mary Ann

      I agree, not sexy.

  • stearl33

    I’ve tried some of these “Bonds” by those you call “better writers”. They don’t come close to Fleming.(with the possible exception of Amis’ Robert Markham, but even this attempt got way too bogged down in it’s own plot).

    For example the golf match between Bond and Goldfinger is a little tour de force, beautifully written, compellingly developed and constructed, yet quite effortless in the way it reads. There’s a few winners of the Booker who might only wish they could write with such class. (And as an opening sentence the words your quote from Casino Royale take some beating.)

    “James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge at Miami Airport and thought about life and death.” Great stuff!

    • Kandanada

      I agree. One can be too self-reflecting when it comes to “better writers”, or indeed better artists.

      It reminds me of an old joke about a couple in an art gallery who were particularly taken with an oil on canvas, which was a black background with a small yellow circle in one corner. The couple wax lyrical on the meaning (and especially all the subtler or hidden meanings of the yellow circle) in the painting, at great and exaggerated length, before speaking to a member of staff at the gallery about buying the piece, but who are told, curtly, “The yellow sticker means it is sold.”

      There is something in a good tune which means it does not have to be played by the most technically proficient musician. It is the same as the something in a good story which means it doesn’t have to be written by the most technically proficient writer.The product itself can stand alone, without need or benefit of being imbued with the philosophical undercurrents, suffering or ability of its creator.

      It is what it is, not who it was or why they did it.

      However, people make a lot of money out of subjectivity, and that is certainly an art.

    • Darren Ramlogan
  • justejudexultionis

    I never liked the way Daniel Craig (and/or his writers) portrayed Bond as a humourless thug with a seemingly total lack of self-awareness.

    • No, a drinking smoking mentally stressed killer. Much like the book. You’re right though: needs humour.

    • SonOfaGun

      Roger Moore was by far the most entertaining.

  • getahead

    Sean Connery’s bond was the closest to the original conception of James Bond. After that it got silly.
    What happened to Felix Leiter?

  • Kandanada

    They will have to kill Bond off or give the lead role to a girl, soon. Accusations of sexism and media puff pieces on Jane Bond are already all over the internet.

    http://time.com/4346230/female-james-bond-gillian-anderson/

    http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/new-james-bond-woman-gillian-anderson

  • SonOfaGun

    Daniel Craig looks slavic, and his acting is robotic. I stopped watching the Bond movies after he took over. I gave Skyfall a chance, and what a load of crap that was! Bond movies are so far fetched these days with all the CGI, he should be renamed James Bollybond and be played by an Indian.

  • Connecticut Farmer

    Craig is ok, but he’s no Sean Connery. Connery WAS Bond (…”James Bond”). As I understand it, his portrayal of 007 was the closest to the way Fleming envisioned the character. Moore, as somebody once wrote, was straight out of “Gentleman’s Quarterly” and played the character more for laughs and with no small bit of irony. Still, he was better than his successors. Bond was a loner, a hired killer in service to queen and country. Luca Brazzi with a brain. That’s how Connery played him and for that reason he remains the gold standard of 007 film lore.

  • big

    ….”my names connery, sean connery”…. only one bond…

  • Karl W South

    I have to agree, Bond’s an anachronism at best.

    If they are going to keep making the films they might want to make them period pieces.

  • ProfessorPistov

    I thought Charlie Higson’s ‘Young Bond’ series was quite entertaining. I wonder if there are any plans to make films of this series, starting in the twenties with Bond at Eton.

  • Pete

    There’s only one guaranteed way to kill off Bond. Make him black or female or both. Then no one will want to watch it.

  • Cobbett

    JB is an authentic male hero(And a British one)….in this worthless PC age surely that’s a good thing.

  • Yorkieeye

    Pierce Bosnan was the only good thing in the franchise. But I agree it’s over.

    • Darren Ramlogan

      I disagree

  • Chamber Pot

    Yes, Craig was rubbish and the franchise is dead, and now they want Jane Bond or Rasta Bond how f***cked is that ?

  • mikewaller

    If it ain’t broke don’t dump it! I am not a regular film goer but was dragged alone to the last two Bond films and was very impressed.

  • johnhenry

    I’d like to find a movie version of Fleming’s Casino Royale, but I guess it was never made. Back in the 60s, I mean. And I don’t mean the spoof version starring David Niven. Or the more recent one with Craig.

  • johnhenry

    The real Bond is that Scottish twit, Macbeth. Sorry, Connery. Macbeth is the Scottish play.

  • Darren Ramlogan

    No! The Bond franchise shall not be killed off in any way.

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