License to Thrill (as per Market Research)

So Daniel Craig is the new James Bond, thus ending months and months of boring, endless speculation. And even though the news has been broken, I would like to refer you to a commentary on Zap2It.com about the state of Bond affairs.

It's a pretty well thought out argument that laments the staleness of the franchise and calls for more than a few changes, with many of which I agree.

The author of the commentary states that the man who should have been Bond, Clive Owen, refused the part because he did not want to commit to a multi-picture deal. Why would any actor in the right mind refuse to play James Bond? Could it possibly be that some of these refusing actors are looking beyond a paycheck and at the quality of the material? If so, they're well within reason.

The new film, Casino Royale, will be a very interesting test for the James Bond franchise. This was the first novel by Ian Fleming that introduced the world to the ex-WWII officer-turned License to Kill British secret agent. The book itself is pretty devoid of action -- most of it takes place in a casino as part of an intense card game (of the European classic, baccarat) between Bond and Le Chiffre (a SMERSH agent). The James Bond of Casino Royale is extrmely misogynistic and there is only one "Bond girl" to speak of.

The Hollywood translation of Casino Royale will probably consist of several action scenes that take place in Africa, Spain, and Moscow (Casino Royale almost exclusively takes place in France), a 10 minute card scene (Texas hold 'em) and 5-10 Bond "women". Bond will end up saving the world unscathed (in Casino Royale, he gets his genitals beaten by a rug beater as part of a torture scene) and in bed with one of the 5-10 Bond "women" (CR has Bond nearly proposing to the Bond girl, who turns out to be a Russian double agent that commits suicide -- Bond reports back to London about the girl, "The bitch is dead."). True Bond fans (all 100 of them worldwide) will hate it, while a $300+ million gross will tell the studios otherwise.

Some of the geeks have problems with director Martin Campbell (who directed Goldeneye, but is still a crappy "action" director). I don't really have a problem with him. I actually think Goldeneye is the best Brosnan Bond. If the producers wanted to make Bond more gritty, they should have looked for a non-action director for their take on the genre. I particularly like Curtis Hanson, who directed L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile and Wonderboys. He'd bring some semi-indie experience and might notch up the drama.

Anyway, I guess I'll have to see Casino Royale, but I don't have to like it like everyone else will.


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