10. The gun barrel
While many among you may say, “Ah yes, but the gun barrel was in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace” I would counter that argument by saying, “No it wasn’t – sod off”. In Casino Royale it was barely there and in QoS it appears at the very end. The end?? This will not do. In the words of Alan Partridge, “Stop getting Bond wrong”. We all know that the gun barrel is supposed to be at the start of the film. It is something that I look forward to seeing with each new Bond film. We get the few opening bars of the theme and Bond shooting us in the face. Heaven. The last couple have not had this and it has been to their detriment.
9. Judi Dench retiring
While the novelty of the female M was amusing for five minutes in Goldeneye, it has kind of over stayed it’s welcome. Don’t get me wrong, I am not sexist (some of my best friends are women), I just miss a grumpy man M. Bernard Lee was amazing as M. His negative persona was a perfect foil for Bond and he seemed to spend most of his working life pissing on Jim’s barbeque. Dench has played M like a schizophrenic harridan. One minute she is chastising Bond for being a bloke, next minute she’s pleading that he comes home safe. With Craig’s Bond she has just been akin to a miserable mother in law who’s husband had left her on Christmas morning for a bloke dressed as Santa. While none of this is Dench’s fault, a change is long overdue. The rumour that Ralph Fiennes is due to take over is a very exciting prospect. Hopefully he will play it like Harry from In Bruges.
Now we all enjoyed the Bourne films. They came along at a time when we needed a quick action fix and filled our Bond gap nicely. Sadly they also introduced a fashion that seems to have stuck of quick cut, shaky cam action scenes. Quantum of Solace fell victim to this trend (even bringing in the same first unit director) and the end result was that we couldn’t see what the fuck was going on whenever Bond got in a fight. Not ideal given that Bond is likely to get into a scrap or two during the course of a Bond film. Hopefully with the next film common sense will prevail
7. An opening title sequence that isn’t just Bond looking at you for five minutes
Now I’m no misogynist, but the naked ladies dancing on a pistol/champagne glass count on the last two Bond films’ opening sequences has been pretty poor. In fact the last two have consisted of Bond looking bored staring back at us. I feel this is a tad unnecessary. We all know who James Bond is and what he looks like. We don’t really need him to appear in every moment of the opening titles. I am sure when Maurice Binder (the title designer from Dr. No - Licence to Kill) came up with the idea, it wasn’t just so Bond could look at us. He was more interested in the bigger picture. Naked women pretending to ski on a giant machine gun. A return to that would be nice. The good news is that Daniel Kleinman (Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale) is returning to do the title sequence. There is hope.
6. The Bond theme
Another thing that has been severely lacking from the last two Bond films is the Bond theme itself. It was teased at the end of both films, but only at the very end. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I want to hear that Bond theme each time Bond does anything worthy of note. Even if he opens a cupboard in a cool way, I want that theme. David Arnold (who scored each film since Tomorrow Never Dies) has not been hired for Skyfall and his small shoes have been filled by Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Revenge of the Nerds). Fingers crossed that the Bond theme belts out almost immediately (ideally during the gun barrel opening)
5. A memorable bad guy
While Casino Royale had a pretty good bad guy in La Chifre, though he didnt have a great deal to do, Quantum of Solace had one big wasted opportunity. Mathieu Amalric is a great actor and he was given very little to work with. His character was weak and his end was off camera. Not really a classic Bond villain. With the casting of Javier Bardem it would seem that the filmmakers are serious in creating a memorable villain. After all Bardem turned in a terrifying performance in No Country for Old Men. The latest trailer suggests he will be a moustache twirling villain, which is just what Bond films of late have been crying out for.
4. Actual Stunt Work
There has been a worrying trend of late to have Bond stunts performed with CG. Now call me an old fuddy-duddy, but part of the magic of James Bond is the knowledge that a someone is doing everything you see on screen. Whether it be hanging from a cable car hundreds of feet in the air (while not tied to anything), ski jumping from a mountain, hanging from a Hercules plane from a net or waterskiing behind a moving plane. Someone was cool/mad enough to do it. In Quantum of Solace we had Bond jumping from a plane and falling through the air via a CG close up shot. While this is no where near as offensive as the CGI Die Another Day parachute water skiing stunt, it is still mildly insulting to all the great stunt work that the franchise has been built on. Let’s hope that Skyfall goes old school.
3. Gadgets – but not REALLY stupid technology
After the horrendous disaster of Die Another Day’s invisible car you can understand why the Bond people wanted to keep away from the very concept of gadgets. It would be like an alcoholic returning to a pub after beating up all of the occupants in a drunken rage. However some of the technology in Quantum of Solace was utter nonsense. The scene where they show M where all the money is coming from was ridiculous. It was like Minority Report meets a deaf signalling school’s end of year play. Gadgets are to make a return in Skyfall and hopefully MI5 will use a normal computer from now on.
Ever since Desmond Llewellyn drove his mini into a tree in 1999, there has been a Q sized hole in Bond. John Cleese tried (presumably playing a character called “Qunt”) and failed miserably. The Craig Bonds have resisted the urge to throw Moneypenny and Q at us, but these moments of comic relief have been missing (I said comic relief Cleese, not hijacking the film to do a tribute to Fawlty Towers). Thankfully with Skyfall Q is back. Albeit a young Q, but a Q none the less. We can hopefully look forward to some gadgets and gags. Fingers crossed on that one.
1. Cheer up James
One thing the new Bond film needs is a James Bond who isn’t sulking. We want the Bond from Casino Royale at the first meeting with Vesper. A cocky sod with arrogance oozing from every pour. Not the depressed, miserable bloke from Quantum of Solace. I don’t want James Bond to give a withdrawn, cold speech about “how to kill a man” before storming a building full of bad guys. I want him to arrive in a union jack hot air balloon with an elderly Q. Come on Sam Mendes. Make my dreams come true.