Bond v. Hunt in Spectre and M:I - Rogue Nation - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
5Jan/160

Bond v. Hunt in Spectre and M:I – Rogue Nation

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Face 'em offI have been a huge James Bond fan since I was a small child. I can remember seeing every new Bond film in the theater with my dad and loving it. I wrote a whole chapter in my book about it that you can buy on Amazon (cheap plug). They were fun and action packed and a boy from 5 to 35 could like it. Any time a new movie would come out I would get excited and count down the days. In 2015, Spectre came out and it was the first movie released in the Bond franchise since the critically acclaimed and smash hit Skyfall but I went to see it not out of excitement but as a type of duty.

This same year the new Mission:Impossible - Rogue Nation film came out and it was a franchise that started out as a shrug for me but has improved each movie since the third. It really hit its peak with Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol where the movie was just a fun action adventure film. While the lack of an interesting villain hurt the film, the memorable moments and set pieces in this film were the things that I used to remember about Bond. Mission:Impossible movies didn’t care much about tragic backstories or building off the movie before it, it was interested in telling a story about spies going on crazy missions in each movie. A self-contained story that moved fast and wrapped up well.Not Q but an acceptable variationWhat the Mission:Impossible franchise has done is copying the old Bond films. Those in charge of the series want to top each movie and the stunts. The one movie might have a bridge shoot out, the next will have a daring skyscraper stunt, the one after that will top the skyscraper scene with a moment where the main star is hanging onto a plane as it takes off. Mission:Impossible wants to give the audiences their monies worth and is interested in making GOOD blockbuster movies. The movies where the plot makes sense, you have characters you care about and at the end of the film you leave with a smile on your face and an appreciation for what you just saw. Through the Brosnan Bonds, that was what the 007 franchise was all about as well, and then something changed.

The change was the overwhelming success of the Bourne series during a Bond hiatus. All of the sudden, people were going nuts over a very grounded type spy movies. Bourne didn’t need an invisible car he used a rolled up newspaper, the villains didn’t hide in hollowed out volcanoes, they worked at the Pentagon. The producers of Bond felt that if they didn’t adapt with the times, they would be forgotten so with Daniel Craig as their new Bond, they took a different approach. Casino Royale was the first to come out and it was a departure for the series. There were no gadgets, no quips, no over the top bad guys, just a guy at the beginning of his career learning the ropes for working for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Daniel Craig was great and gruff, the direction of Martin Campbell was good and it was a breath of fresh air for the movies. Showing Bond as vulnerable and not perfect at his job was unique and not a way they had gone before. Casino Royale became a huge hit for the Bond makers and Bond fans were excited to see what they would do next. What they did was Quantum of Solace, many fans HATED this movie but I gave it more slack. I thought it wasn’t so much its own movie but an epilogue to Casino Royale to clean up all the loose ends and to start fresh in the next one. It has been a few years since I have seen Quantum of Solace and I can’t remember a thing about it anymore except for the end it was evident that Bond has had his revenge and is ready to become Bond. Skyfall is next and is beloved by most people as one of the best, I happen to disagree with this. For the third movie in a row, it is an origin story of sorts for Bond. You learn about his childhood, see his old home, get teased about his tragic backstory with the parents and see how Bond met Miss Moneypenny.Matter of perspectiveProblem is, with Bond, I never cared about any of these things. For 50 years, Bond was a good-looking, charismatic spy who always won in the end thanks to gadgets, good luck and intelligence. While formulas for movies can get old, I also loved in Bond films the gadgets, cars and interesting villains with their outlandish plots. Skyfall had no gadgets (although they finally introduced Q), a great villain that is not in the movie for the first half and a plot that they copied from the first Quantum of Solace movie. The one great thing about the film was it looked absolutely beautiful thanks to director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins. Yet, by the end I was excited for the next film because Bond was Bond. He had Moneypenny, Q, M, and his freaking theme music. So I saw Spectre and it is again a lot of backstory on Bond missing the charm and fun of the older films. I now have no hope that Bond will go back to the way it was. These movies are making too much money and this is what the braintrust in charge of the franchise think we want.

Maybe as I get older I am having my first “Old man yells at chair” moment talking about how Bond movies aren’t like they used to be. Things change and you have to adapt, Bond films now have arcs, are gritty and interested in the background of the characters. Just because I am not interested in that stuff doesn’t mean mass amounts of people feel the same way. Bond films will keep being made and I will keep going to them, hoping for the best, because that is what I do. The good thing is that now when I want to get a new Bond fix in the theater with gadgets, action, girls and a fun time I can still get it, I just have to go the screen showing the new Mission: Impossible. film.

Posted by Andrew

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