Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Fans Threaten to Boycott New 007 Movie

I just read an Associated press story which tells how a group of James Bond fans have launched a web site, http://www.craignotbond.com, to protest the casting of Daniel Craig as 007 and the firing of Pierce Brosnan. The site makes it clear that these fans feel Craig is a poor choice for Bond, describing him as short and blond and quoting The New York Times in describing him as "...having a 'pale, flattened face and large, fleshy ears.'" Quite simply, these fans plan to boycott the new film.

I must say that I can understand fans being upset at EON Productions' dismissal of Brosnan as 007. Besides Sean Connery and George Lazenby, he was, in my humble opinion, the best actor cast as Bond. I must admit that I was none too happy to hear that Brosnan would not be back playing Bond. That having been said, I have trouble understanding their rather fierce objections to Daniel Craig. I liked him in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and he impressed me in his bit part in The Road to Perdition. My only real caveat about Craig is that he is blond. In the novels Bond is described as dark haired with steel blue or grey eyes. I am hoping that they will dye his hair, although I doubt that they will. Even if they don't, I don't think Craig's fair hair will detract too much from him playing the role. Here I must point out that, contrary to the statement of http://www.craignotbond.com, at 5' 11" Craig hardly qualifies as short! Besides which, I don't think the original Bond novels and short stories make any reference to his height--I always thought he was probably average in stature (what good is a spy if he stands out from the crowd by being too tall or too short?).

Beyond not having any strong objections to Daniel Craig as Bond, I will not boycott he new Bond film because I think EON Productions is doing the right thing with regards to the Bond franchise. Casino Royale is based on the very first Bond novel, and the only one EON Productions has never filmed (for years the rights have belonged to others). It is also the first movie to be directly based on an Ian Fleming novel in literally years (maybe decades). I must point out that many of the movies merely took their titles from Fleming's works. As to Casino Royale, the novel has been filmed twice. The first time was as a 1954 episode of Climax, in which Bond was Americanised (007 is even referred to as "Jimmy!"). The second time the novel was adapted was the 1967 film, which was made as a spoof of the James Bond movies. While a fun movie, it is hardly faithful to the Bond novels. Given that there has never been a loyal adaptation of Casino Royale, I am interested in seeing the film.

I must also point out that Eon Productions plan the movie to be the equivalent of Batman Begins, portraying events that occurred early in Bond's career. In effect, it will be a reboot of the Bond franchise in much the same way that Batman Begins was a reboot of the Batman franchise. They also intend for there to be very few gadgets in the film--something that Die Another Day went overboard with. I find the whole idea of the movie to be intriguing myself. My only real objection to the film is the casting of Judi Dench as M. While I think she made a great M in the Brosnan films, it seems to be that if this is early in Bond's career, M should be played by a man, preferably one who looks as much like the late Bernard Lee (the first actor to play M) as possible.

Casino Royale looks like it could be a step in the right direction for the Bond franchise. While I always loved Brosnan as Bond, I can only admit to really liking Tomorrow Never Dies (one of the best films in the series, in my humble opinion). In particular, The World is Not Enough (the title taken from the Bond family motto) was so derivative of other Bond films that they might as well as just made a film compilation of the best stunts from the Bond movies instead. As much as I love the Bond series, I think it has started to stagnate of late. A reboot of the series is then needed. The fact that the reboot is going to be based on the first Bond novel and the one that EON Productions has never filmed has me looking forward to it. Okay, I hope that they dye Craig's hair and I would rather Judi Dench was not playing M, but that isn't going to keep me from seeing the film.

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