Dear Hollywood

By Gus Bode

Today’s column was going to be about how there have been almost no good movies released this year in theaters, but then a different inspiration struck. The absurdly titled new James Bond movie, ‘Quantum of Solace,’ is hitting theaters, and I wanted to rant about that for a little while.

In 2006, James Bond was reinvented with ‘Casino Royale,’ a movie that aimed to kick-start the Bond franchise all over again. Bond went on his first mission, got his first girl, ordered his first martini and ended the movie hell-bent on revenge for the death of his first woman. The sequel, apparently, is going to continue his revenge quest. And … snore.’

Why did the suits at Columbia Pictures start over with Bond? It kind of makes sense.’ The last official Bond movie, ‘Die Another Day,’ was critically drubbed and did just OK commercially. Then ‘Batman Begins’ came out, and everyone got on the reboot boat, wanting to get a piece of the action by reinventing franchises that were out of gas and didn’t really need new gas in the first place (see ‘The Hulk’ in both iterations.)


‘ ‘Casino Royale’ was far from a bad film, but in the wake of the Jason Bourne films, it seemed like it was trying too hard. Bond has always been the kind of guy who is invincible, who gets into crazy situations and never gets a scratch, who plays by his own rules and blows things up, uses fun little gadgets and cool cars and bangs a bevy of beautiful girls in the process.

But the new Bond is, dare I say it, mortal. His world is somewhat ordinary, and M (the ravishing Judi Dench) is still the same old frigid female dog telling him what to do and not do, and he ignores her.

The problem with the new Bond is that he isn’t Jason Bourne. The Bourne movies are great, but people don’t really want to see James Bond be all moody and serious. By making Bond into an ordinary man, they sapped some of the energy that made the Bond movies fun in the first place. The serious turn the Batman franchise took was for the better, but Bond is a character who works because his escapades are completely silly. (Not to mention that the last act of ‘Casino Royale’ was boring … but that’s neither here nor there.)

Hopefully, ‘Quantum’ isn’t just a straight-up revenge movie, because Beatrix Kiddo could mop the floor with Daniel Craig. Craig is a good Bond, and he certainly will be playing this role for years to come, but hopefully the Bond movies don’t drown in a quagmire of self-seriousness and deep thoughts. Craig can and should still shoot a gun, shoot lasers out of his watch and say ‘Bond, James Bond,’ so we can retain our childhood memories and still feel like we’re getting an authentic Bond experience.

Here’s hoping ‘Quantum’ leaves us all feeling shaken and stirred.

Wes Lawson can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or at [email protected].