So there is much rejoicing that James Bond is back. Production will be starting soon with casting news coming fast and thick.
There had been a lot of speculation about the 23rd Bond film and it’s plot last year before its cancellation. Ain’t It Cool News reported the rumour that it would be the conclusion of what would be the Quantum Trilogy that started with CASINO ROYALE, pitting Daniel Craig’s Bond against the femme fatale head of the group that had been behind the plots of both CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE in an ambiguous love affair that would continue and complicate the themes established in the first two films. There was talk of Rachel Weisz playing the femme fatale that Bond might fall in love with and fight, but all that came to naught when the project was shut down in the middle of 2010. MGM had been hemorrhaging money for a long time, making movies nobody wanted to see and not even the lucrative box office earnings of the last Bond movie could save it.
What always interested me about Bond aren’t necessarily the movies themselves but the mystique that the world has invested in them. They’re a part of our cultural heritage, with the British taking particular nationalistic pride in him, and the way he’s come to embody a fantasy of the secret agent that many people think is actually real. Bond has become so significant that there’s even a conspiracy theory about why the 23rd movie planned for production last year was cancelled. The Russians believed that the movie was axed because the Quantum Trilogy was starting to cut close to the bone in its depiction of the villains as sinister investment bankers and financiers who manipulate wars and acts of terror to profit them in the stock market. Specifically, they believed investment tycoon George Soros pulled strings to have the production cancelled because it was going to make veiled attacks on him.
It’s striking that the commentator on Russian news was stating it all as if it was fact without a single shred of evidence or a quotable source. I had already been hearing ever since the release of QUANTUM OF SOLACE in 2009 that the movies were getting so expensive and MGM was facing so many financial problems that the next movie was likely to be cancelled, which came to be the case in mid-2010. We should remember that both the Russians and the American Right see George Soros as the Devil for his ruthless currency speculation and financial support for free speech and democratic activism, and have been out to demonise him for years, and the Russians have hated Bond as a symbol of Western Imperialism for decades. If George Soros really wanted the 23rd Bond movie to be cancelled, he didn’t have to do anything, it was already heading that way. Even Daniel Craig was talking about lightening up the plots a bit and bringing in Moneypenny and Q in the next Bond back in 2009 after the grimness of the last two movies.
The other thing that stuck out to me is the commentator saying that he believes that when production ramped up again, the new Bond movie would have a completely new script and probably revert back to the more jokey, escapist Bond that audiences have gotten used to with gadgets and less real-world analogue villains. Based on the scant details about the plot that have been released, this sounds rather similar to what he was saying. I don’t necessarily believe the conspiracy theory that the Russians were offering on their news programs last year, but the fact that there’s a conspiracy theory about a multimillion-dollar movie franchise with political propaganda undertones is interesting, especially when there’s no hard evidence, which means the speculation can never end, and when the new movie finally opens and references to Quantum and financial banking villains turn out to be absent, that will only feed into it all.
I have visions of Whishaw’s Q as the geek boffin who’s reluctantly torn away from playing World of Warcraft on his gaming PC (which he built himself) to show Bond how to upload a video to Youtube.
I also imagine scenes of him stepping out to the nearest Carphone Warehouse during his lunch hour to pick up gadgets for the agents about to be sent into the field. Imagine his mate at the shop played by McKenzie Crook (Gareth from THE OFFICE).
“Awright, Q? Whatcha need?”
“Gimme a dozen 4G Samsungs with the 8 megapixal cameras. Cowboys need ‘em in the field.”
“Damn, bruv! What happened to the laser pens, gun watches and cool gear you used to make for ‘em?”
“Fucking cutbacks, bruv. Expect me to make ‘em cool stuff with the budget they give me? Sod that. Cheaper to just give’em a flash new phone and be done with it. None of ‘em’s complained so far. All they do is take photos of the birds they shag anyway.”
“Well, dem girls are well fit! Sure they don’t know you hacked into their accounts and grabbed ‘em?”
“That’s the beauty, innit? I’m supposed to keep tabs on ‘em in the field. That lets me record everything they do with the phones.”
“Keep the pix comin’, yeah? The lads in the guild are gaggin’ for more.”
“Anything for the guild, bruv. Everyone set to take down Darkwing Friday night?”
“Bank on it, mate. Tanks and healers at the ready.”
You know, I’d happily watch a TV workplace sitcom about Whishaw’s NuQ and his antics back at the office while Bond is out saving the world. Channel Four should make it now that THE IT CROWD isn’t coming back.
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