|And you’re done.|
I still have to review SPECTRE, but its fair to say that I don’t think Daniel Craig’s coming back for another go at 007. Frankly, I don’t blame him: this has taken a decade of his life, and the journey has, at times, been fairly tortuous for everyone concerned. Nobody liked the guy when he arrived, and having not only made Bond acceptable in the 21st century but actually likeable again, he’s now become a victim of his own hype. The problem with the 24th episode in the franchise is that it had to go back to the worst part of its roots, under some mistaken belief that actually, the supervillain/criminal organisation ‘trope’ would still be relevant in a world full of cyber-terrorism and religious zealotry. The problem for Eon and Sony, quite apart from the stupid amount of money they threw at SPECTRE, is that they ended up being a parody of a parody of themselves. There’s moments when you watch the interplay between Waltz and Craig and you realise it could just as easily be Mike Myers talking to himself. Then things just get a bit strange, and you want it to stop.
This morning, unsurprisingly as Craig comes up for his 48th birthday, the rumour mill has started up over his ‘successor’ with the Independent suggesting that TV is a better draw for a man who’s made so much cash from the Bond franchise he could probably choose never to work again. There are a number of factors to consider in the next Bond ‘movie’: it’s the 25th, and that’s going to mean summat big. 24 wasn’t nearly as successful as had been hoped, which is going to set people’s minds to thinking that maybe they need to reboot regardless. However, now SPECTRE is back, the whole Bond ‘world’ is different, and quite possibly dangerously out of touch with the trend in action/spy/thrillers for realism against a backdrop of constant peril. That’s not Eon’s biggest problem by a long way, however. Fleming’s ideals of a guy who treats women like dirt and does whatever the fuck he wants without consequence are all well and good, but its the white male tradition that causes the most issues with an increasing proportion of the movie-going population. Bond remains the last bastion untouched by diversity: Austin Powers’ inane sexism and misogyny, still acceptable after over five decades. Craig has hinted he thinks it’s extremely unlikely that will change, and I have to agree with him, because as a woman I was never who the films were selling to. In fact, anyone who’s not white and male is pretty much out of luck, quite possibly for many years to come.
|They’ll ask him, and if he has any sense he’ll say no.|
So, if I were Tom Hiddleston, I’d turn down the offer when Eon present it, because I’d not want to be associated with a franchise that sells Britain as a place where diversity doesn’t exist. I don’t care how good you look and how many people you get to sleep with without consequence, Bond’s legacy is a bald-faced lie. Fast cars and guns and pretty eye candy is rubbish, and considering how this franchise has reacted to change over the decades, it’s become quite sad to see that the way Eon decided to deal with evolution was to just pretend it hasn’t happened. Instead the franchise became a homage to an age not that many people would ever actually want to go back to. This is the reality of ‘modern’ Britain, that a Bond author can happily turn around and declare a black actor unsuitable for the task of 007 because he’s ‘too street’ for the role. It’s depressing and it actually cheapens Craig’s achievement, which was to actually give Bond a soul. He’d never really had one in all that time, except for that brief period in OHMSS and between Goldeneye ’til Tomorrow Never Dies. All the rest of those years it was a lie, actors flirting with the concept of a man who actually wasn’t worth knowing or saving a lot of the time. He was a hero, yes, but he was never really a decent human being. Daniel Craig’s Bond did at least show an evolution, understanding of what had happened to make the agent as brittle and fractured as he was. In the end, I don’t blame him for leaving with both the car and the girl because if it had been me? I’d have taken both too.
|Still my #1 Choice. By a mile.|
So, how do we go forward? Well, I’ve discussed with several people that maybe the path is to stick Bond back in the 60’s and play it that way, because if you do so then you can just ignore all the modern issues and maybe eventually they’ll go away. There is the option to make Bond black, or a woman, or possibly both (don’t get me started at how criminally underused Moneypenny was in SPECTRE.) I’d argue everybody will need recasting in the supporting roles if they start again, and maybe if that happens then you can give people an opportunity to rethink the dynamics. Mostly I’d love to see something more than ‘supervillain threatens world’ because honestly, I think for everyone’s benefit it might be an idea if we left that alone for a while now. The thing is, if Bond reboot *again* it is really, REALLY hard to see where it goes. Mostly, if I was in Eon’s production offices right now, I’d be worrying how this all goes down. Because there is no easy answer to how you move this franchise forward without some kind of change, and if they do it wrong, Bond 25 could end up being the last of the series.
For what it’s worth? I’d take it to TV. I’d reboot from scratch, do a deal with the BBC, and make it into a Spooks-style alternate universe where SPECTRE’s been in charge of super-villainry for the best part of 40 years. Sell it worldwide, give Craig a starring role as the old 007 handing over to a newer, younger counterpart.
If you could make her somewhere in the early 40’s? So much the better.