samedi 19 novembre 2016

Has James Bond finally met his match ( yawn ) ?

October 2015 : Spectre , the 24th official film in the series blasted on the screens worldwide .
And although not praised as much as its immediate predecessor ( at least , by 007 purists ) , the box-office financial returns were more than enough to ensure an obligatory follow-up .
Which should have started production this year ( or early 2017 at least ) for a proposed 2018 release date , except this well oiled scenario derailled along the way for several reasons .

What happened – and , more important , when exactly will the next film appear ( IF there's a next one ) ?

Reason 1 : the current 007 incarnation very own mood . Everybody read the tired ' never again ' Daniel Craig assertion during the Spectre promo campaign around the world .
The actor was understandably a bit shaken & stirred from the shooting ( having injured himself more than once during the globe-trotting scheme ) . Hence , some not very promising and stern comments about his own future as agent 007 . Ok , when you spend more than half a year on the shooting of a single one movie , fatigue can get in . Normal reaction . No reason to panic ( yet ) .
NO casting has been officially announced by Eon , nor MGM , for the part – and , if the producers do keep their words , Daniel Craig STILL is James Bond .
( Ah . But wasn't it exactly the same with dear old Tim Dalton in the early 90s ? ) .

Reason 2 : The Broccoli other Movies affair .
Meanwhile , the always hyper active Barbara Broccoli ( who already helped producing several non 007 small films and some theater plays as well ) engaged herself in 2016 in the production of ' Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool ' ( a fictionalized version of actress Gloria Grahame 's life . Movie status is currently ending post production .
Miss Broccoli also intends to produce a stage version of The Kid Stays in the Picture about movie executive and producer Robert Evans ( the man behind Polanski's Chinatown )
( She already produced in the past the very successful version of the Ian Fleming based Musical ' Chitty chitty Bang Bang ' ) .
Meaning , of course , Bond25 could be potentially entering pre-production only by mid 2017 ( even if Eon is working permanently on new ideas and synopsises for future films )

Reason 3 : The Production Imbroglio
I don't know about you , but I always thought it was some kind of ( repetitive ) miracle the Bond films managed to get produced and issued with so many different parties involved ( Eon, MGM , the Ian Fleming Publication company , Sony or whatever other world-wide distributor .... ) .
Well it seems this time , this carefully oiled clockwork might be one of the reason the next film is in limbo for the present time .
Sony pictures – the distributor of all the latest Daniel Craig James Bond movies – was supposed to be out with Spectre . Understanbily , all major Hollywood companies were said to be on the look-out to grab the most profitable franchise of Cinema history .
And what happened so far ?

We do not have a clue ! No statement whatsoever has been released by any of those giants .
THE only comment came from MGM CEO Gary Barber who listed the Bond films series two weeks ago during a conference call for MGM investors “premium franchise titles” that “we expect to release over the next few years.” .
Uh oh , wait : ' next FEW years ' ?
Meaning : any date from 2018 till Eternity ?
That's not a very encouraging prospect indeed ...

Meanwhile , the Ian Fleming Publication estate is fretting with new projects .
Announcing Anthony Horrowitz's second Continuation novel for 2018 ( hooray ) - and licencing Ian Fleming's characters to US based Dynamite Comics company .
I'd be extremely cautious about the whereabouts of those new interpretations of 007 in Comics form – if only judging from their first venture into the field .

VARGR ( not a Swedish type insult , be assured ) , the first Dynamite installment , being a rather poor taste story of classical megalomaniac wanting to erase the human race through a deadly drug ( to be able to test his very own vaccine against it . Yes , this one sometimes seems to lightly borrow from Fleming , Gardner , and also from Eon's Bond – the alias ' Peter Franks ' does appear , as well as a Naomie Harris type Moneypenny , a John Cleese like Q , etc, etc ...
But the most disturbing thing about that Graphic novel ( the more legitimate appellation of Comic books these days ) is its extreme violence ( explosive dum dum bullets exiting from the back of the head of a bad guy , fingers sliced and cut in close ups , that sort of things ) .
The writer of this piece is not a chicken , but I felt slightly puzzled with all this blood & gore displayed at virtually each encounter between Bond and any bad guy .

It's almost as if the writers decided to try to enhance Daniel Craig's already very physical interpretation of the character – making him some sort of Charles Bronson Death Wish killing machine .
Gloomy is really about the only adjective which can describe correctly that story

Nothing is retained of the authentical Fleming mood ( and famous sweep ) , there's no characterisation and no empathy for any of the cast appearing .

Add to that some strange , sometimes almost Manga-like – drawnings and you'll sorely miss Mike Grell's unique ( if a bit crazy – but fun ) Serpent's tooth own Comics James Bond variation .
And even more the Ian Fleming inspired Daily Express newspaper 1950s strips .

Let us hope Dynamite will rectify things with their upcoming Felix Leiter creation . The very first sequel inspired by a Fleming character ...

I'm wondering if Barbara Broccoli has optionned those Dynamite titles as well ?