It seems like forever since the last James Bond film, Spectre, was released. Sadly, it's a film that left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of Bondophiles like myself. This may be one of the hardest things I have ever admitted, but I found a Bond film to be… meh. I almost feel as if I'm in a confessional, letting go of my sins. It's time to come clean.
Then there was Javier Bardem as Silva, perhaps one of the most enjoyable villains of the series. Sure, the conveniences in the plot are troublesome upon inspection, (seriously, could Silva have truly planned for the exact time and distance of the subway crash?) if you really think about it, Bond stopped nothing. Silva succeeded in every plan he crafted. Truth be told, this film was great enough that nobody cared.
Jump to the summer of 2015.
We knew Craig and Mendes were both onboard. We knew the amazing Christoph Waltz had signed on for some unknown role. Let’s be honest, the role was never “unknown”. Every Bond fan knew that the series had regained the rights to use Bond’s most well-known villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, as well as the organization he fronted, SPECTRE.
Fans remember Bond dropping Blofeld into a factory’s smokestack in the cold open of For Your Eyes Only. We were baffled by Blofeld’s final words: “I’ll buy you a delicatessen, in stainless steel! Mr. Booooooond!”. But that was another timeline, not the new Bond. Blofeld could easily be rebooted, and Waltz was the right choice. SPECTRE’s trailer seemed to reinforce our excitement.
SPECTRE’s biggest failing was wasting Blofeld’s return, let alone Christoph Waltz. Compounding that, unnecessary plot elements were introduced. Why would all of the Craig era villains be pawns of SPECTRE? Doing so cheapens everything Silva succeeded in doing. And then there’s the trump card, having Bond and Blofeld be related. Sorry, Austin Powers in Goldmember did it first, and better. Sadly, this film was a bit of a dud.
So here we are again, receiving news of the next film, due to be released in fall of 2019.
We know Daniel Craig is coming back for at least one more. We know the choice of director is now Danny Boyle. Boyle has admitted that he is not used to having a budget to work with. Bond films carry a huge budget, meaning Boyle may be out of his element. Boyle has also stated that he has sketched out the story already and will only do the film if that story is used. Considering the producers already had a story in place, this may prove concerning.
As a fan, I believe I have a vested interest in the next installment’s success. We can’t have issues like we saw in SPECTRE. This may be Craig’s last ride. We can’t have him go out with a terrible film. Besides, this will be the twenty-fifth Bond film. That number alone deserves a solid treatment.
So, here are five ideas that would help deliver a film to make Ian Fleming proud.
The ending of SPECTRE certainly makes this one feel like a possibility.
In case you're not familiar with the original, there are three things to know.
First, this was George Lazenby’s only portrayal of Bond. Lazenby is tragically underrated, perhaps because he became an anti-establishment hippie type after the film. (If you are looking for something CRAZY, watch his 1986 film Never Too Young To Die. Besides George, you’ll see John Stamos, Vanity, and Gene Simmons as a psychotic hermaphrodite. It is BANANAS.)
Second, Telly Savalas was surprisingly good as Blofeld. Get after it, Kojak!
And most importantly, this is the film where Bond marries Theresa, only to see her murdered on their honeymoon.
Overall, OHMSS was actually one of the better Bond films and it begs for a retelling. Timeline isn’t an issue. Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale effectively rebooted it. We don’t need shot for shot, but certainly bringing back a love interest ala Theresa, along with Blofeld, and perhaps the events that occur in the tragic ending, could make for a powerful film.
2. - Give Blofeld a Mulligan
SPECTRE’s treatment of Blofeld was bad. That may have left a bad taste in people’s mouths when it comes to Waltz’s portrayal. The failing wasn’t on Waltz, it was in the script. Blofeld is far more interesting than what we were given. He also isn’t as stupid as was depicted. Fans waited for what seemed an eternity for Blofeld’s return. Let’s give it another shot, but this time have him be the criminal mastermind deserving of a Dr. Evil copycatting.
Far too often, Bond has been going rogue. Whatever happened to having Bond called to M’s office for a mission briefing? Why can’t we have any more classified dossiers with a mission name and marked “For Your Eyes Only”? I get that people like seeing a badass Bond, something a rogue version is more conducive to, but the downside is that rogue stories are less secret agent and more blowing things up.
Bond needs to be a spy first and foremost. This idea seems to have been lost somewhere along the way.
4. - We Need Better Henchmen
Whatever happened to having memorable henchman? Think about the classics... Odd Job and his deadly hat back in 1964’s Goldfinger. Tee Hee and his claws, clamps, and every other metallic hand replacement were from 1973’s Live And Let Die. Jaws and his metal teeth appeared twice, in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me and 1979’s Moonraker. Hell, even something as fun as Nick Nack and his bottle of tabasco from ‘74’s The Man With The Golden Gun.
The films still have henchmen, but I challenge you to name any recent ones. A henchperson need a schtick. It’s time the writers remembered that.
5. - Location, Location, Location
Bond films should act like an ad campaign from a location’s Bureau of Tourism. As average as SPECTRE was, that cold open in Mexico City was incredible, and the most memorable part of the film. Let’s give that treatment to other places that Bond has never been. How about Australia? Sydney would seem to be a perfect city for Bond to explore. Maybe South Africa or Canada? Both countries have plenty of location options to choose from. And all three could give completely different obstacles, be there architectural or climate based.
I'm counting the minutes until Bond #25 arrives. Let’s hope the filmmakers feel as I do with the recommendations above and incorporate at least a few. If this is to be Craig’s last ride, we need it to be the best one yet.