Like I said, I don’t miss the formula of it all. And frankly, if the Daniel Craig era never quite gets back to that, I’m perfectly happy. I wouldn’t mind at all. They made those movies. Lots and lots and lots of those movies. When I look over at the shelf of my office where every single one of those 20-something other Bond films are, the last DVD release that was the tricked-out-but-still-not-HD transfer, it’s this huge stack, all the same, all rigidly adhering to that formula.
And here’s Douthat:
The Daniel Craig era is trying to do something else with the character, and while I think that something else pretty clearly has its limits – Quantum of Solace was essentially parasitic on the final act of Casino Royale, and you can’t have Bond lose a woman he loves every third movie or so just to keep him in a state of inner turmoil – for now it’s a pretty damn enjoyable ride.
I basically agree with their assessment, but the best way to ensure the Bond re-imagining takes root is to avoid turning the franchise into a low-rent Bourne knock-off. To be perfectly frank, Quantum’s plot was impenetrable, minor characters flitted in and out at seemingly random intervals, and the action sequences were nearly impossible to follow. Unsurprisingly, reviewers are already imploring the director of the next installment to make Bond less like an “action hero.”
The series is blessed with Judi Dench, the franchise’s best lead in recent memory,* and a decent back story. So stop hiring untried independent filmmakers – one wonders what the producers of Quantum saw in Finding Neverland – and get back to what made Casino Royale so enjoyable in the first place.
*I watched Layer Cake over the weekend. Not a great flick by any stretch of the imagination, but Daniel Craig is pretty impressive. You can see why he got tapped as the next Bond.