The Heckler

The Heckler: why it’s time to kill off James Bond

The Bond film franchise has run out of ideas and is pulling its punches for fear of offending foreign governments. Why 007's finest days are behind him

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

For fans of the franchise who remain unconvinced by Daniel Craig’s time on her majesty’s secret service, the stories leaking from the production of the latest film Spectre are further evidence that the time has come to hand 007 a glass of scotch and a revolver. Craig’s Bond always had less of an air of an expense-account gentleman spy and more the demeanour of a spornosexual plumber. This is a Bond who’d sooner take photographs of his abs in the bathroom mirror than go bird-watching.

Stumbling after the surefooted remake of Casino Royale, there is no disguising the tedious drivel that was Quantum of Solace, nor that Skyfall borrowed heavily from the Home Alone franchise. Whether it was the underground train timed to crash when Bond appeared, or the wholescale technological ineptitude of MI6, the decision to explore Bond’s roots was the series equivalent of The Phantom Menace. When the indulgence of the writers and a misplaced urge to service the fans overtook the need for a polished work of cinema.

The malaise of the series has now become clear, with the recent Sony hacks revealing that the next instalment is riddled with script issues. The reintroduction of Blofeld is expected, but the leaks throw up concerns from producers that the final act is a mess, and Blofeld’s motive entirely unclear. We can expect the clunky introduction of another ‘serious’ love interest after Bond’s multi-part moping over Vesper Lynd. Gone is the frivolity and the deftness of touch from the original series. The gadgets have been replaced by product placement, with Bond more likely to swig a Heineken than carry an exploding pen. Even the return of an old nemesis raises concerns that Bond’s finest days are behind him, and that we are trapped on repeat, the copies neither as funny or action-packed as the excellent Kingsman, nor as gritty and compelling as the Bourne movies.

Rather than resisting the urge to reveal Bond’s past, the latest films have wallowed self-indulgently, replacing pyrotechnics and foreign intrigue with Bond’s miserable schleps while driving a Ford. Was the Ford also a submarine? Did the Ford have anti-aircraft missiles? You would be forgiven for suspecting that the glove box contained no more than a box of tissues and a six-pack of lager.

Bond has always had product placement, and the movies have often hinted at a deeper emotional vulnerability, but this juggernaut has lost direction. The news that Mexico is giving the production of Spectre $14 million to portray the country in a positive light should horrify fans, with Craig’s Bond now fronting a franchise that has descended into the territory of Wish You Were Here. To save a fraction of the film’s budget, there is every chance that it is being softened. Bond is now pulling its punches at the behest of commercial sponsors. The writing team cannot touch real-world issues in espionage for fear of losing tax breaks, offending worldwide audiences, or failing to appeal to a key demographic. Despite the current tensions between Russia and the West, we can expect to see Bond praising the fine people of Mexico, or taking photographs of it with his Sony mobile phone. Will Bond ever return to Russia? If Putin bungs through a tax incentive, perhaps Bond will turn for the FSB. For taking money from foreign governments and swapping his ammunition for blanks, and because the series has run out of ideas, I don’t expect James Bond to improve, I expect him to die.

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  • Bannon

    I love the current Bond series and disagree with just about every point made in this article, The bond movies of old have gotten way out of control with childish toys that just took away from the story. (Laser watch anyone?) How many times can a man with a concrete cutting laser watch get surrounded by evil doers and completely forget that he can just cut them all in half with a flick of the wrist. And the stories were just as ridiculous.

    • Callipygian

      Agree: that’s why I’ve never been a great consumer of Bond films. The last one I saw in a theatre was Timothy Dalton’s (and I was very young then). And the featured woman, who seemed to be a mouth-breather and nothing special in any department, was really disappointing.

    • Violin Sonata

      Christian Bale would make an excellent Bond. But from the older guys and
      with the storylines and era’s I’d say Sean Connery was the best Bond .


        Connery, Lazenby and Moore the best Bond’s……….

  • Sean Connery

    So, there IS somebody who likes the new fast and furious format……… ?


      Even the last 4 Fast and Furious films are better than the last 3 Bond films……

      • Sean Connery

        Agree – even if I only saw (part of) the first Fast & Furious film. I like some of the comments here, e.g. Skyfall was a great movie because it scored $1.1bln at the box office. I was one of the mugs who fell for the marketing and took my nephew to see it. I won’t fall in the same trap with Spectre – might watch it at home a few months after it’s released, but certainly won’t hold my breath in anticipation. I expect that the majority who saw Skyfall will have a similar position.

  • Ivan Ewan

    “the series equivalent of The Phantom Menace”

    Not words to be spoken, or taken, lightly….

    …still, I saw about half a dozen Connery-era Bond films and they all have identical plots, except for From Russia With Love. They’re all goofy, none of them are plausible, but they’re all about escapism.

    Maybe by trying to make James Bond more believable or emotionally relatable, they missed the point and went off the rails?

  • porcelaincheekbones

    The brand has been dead since the straight white male has been regarded as a figure of evil in the world. Spin-offs will take over as they destroy the character.

    • wudyermucuss

      Jemima Bond,Jamil Bond,Jihad al-Bondi……
      I think the franchise has a lot of life (or death in the case of al-Bondi) left in it…….
      But yeah,it’s crap now.
      They should get back to the original:cold blooded womanizing killer,preferably with me in the lead role,Clarkson as Q,Paxman as M,and Farage naturally as pantomine villain running an immigrant/baby eating death camp.

      • porcelaincheekbones

        He switches between sociopath and crybaby, it’s jarring.

      • Hilarious. Especially ‘Jihad al-Bondi’.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Daniel Craig is entirely wrong for the part, his version of Bond looks and behaves like a provincial loan shark’s enforcer.

    • Callipygian

      Anything else might be too subtle for today’s audience.

  • Callipygian

    Do I dare ask what a ‘spornos xual’ is?

  • Butch_Zee

    I thought I was in the vast minority of people that dislike the Bond reboot. A Vladimir Putin look-alike British agent with no wit, no charm, and no fun that calls himself 007. As outlandish as the Pierce Brosnan movies got toward the end, I’d prefer that suave agent to the current bisexual emo agent.

    • UKSteve

      I still thnk Brosnan was as good as Connery, it’s just a shame the plots / extremity of special effects (invisible car, laser watch, etc.) was so brain dead.

      • Jim

        Roger Moore was the last proper Bond.

        • Butch_Zee

          I respect your opinion. I feel Timothy Dalton did a very good job in The Living Daylights and could’ve been a good Bond. The plot & budget did him no favors for License to Kill. Brosnan was/is my favorite Bond, but I know he wasn’t the “best” Bond. I give that honor to Sean. Moore was great too, he just also suffered from some terrible screenwriting and stayed on too long.

          • Jim

            I agree about Dalton and would say that he wasn’t given enough of a chance in the role, but then I think the golden age of Bond had died with Moore’s departure and the end of the cold war.
            Personally I couldn’t stand Brosnan but it’s subjective of course.

  • Violin Sonata

    We now have a doctor in the US stating; ‘ If someone actually did some of these
    Bond stunts, they’d be dead’ eh, really ??
    There was the suggestion towards Bond being gay with the latest film, with Bond
    saying to someone ‘ you shouldn’t mock sleeping with a man until you’ve tried it’.
    There will be a female, feminist Bond at some point with a Mr Moneypenny , sure of that.

    • UKSteve

      Before or after Idris Elba? 😉

    • with Bond saying to someone ‘ you shouldn’t mock sleeping with a man until you’ve tried it’.
      Oh my god.

    • WTF

      They’ll be an Islamic ´Jihadist´Bond long before that as women are 2nd class citizens in some religions !

    • Tuulia

      Where did you get that line about sleeping with a man? Is it your own? Certainly isn’t Bond’s.

  • sfin

    I thought Craig triumphed in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace was a bore, beset by budget and labour problems and Skyfall was a fiasco.

    At last we had a Bond who looked as though he could beat the sh*t out of you and they had to go and spoil it with too close up camera work, allusions to bisexuality and a ‘back story’.

    Bond is escapism – We don’t want to explore his ‘vulnerability’ we want him with impeccable taste (Flemming would be horrified at bond swigging Heineken), sleeping with lots of beautiful women (all OHMSS of course!) and shooting bad guys in the face.

    • Jim

      A bit like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service then. Except I quite liked Lazenby in the role.

      • sfin

        Yep – Lazenby made a great fist of it, considering he had to follow Connery. Bit too clipped/ antipodean for my taste – but he got the physicality right. Pity about the marriage/ loss at the end – bit too much like the vulnerable back story of Skyfall.

        Bond should never do melancholy – the finish should always involve him devising a suitably elaborate and gruesome end for the chief villain, whilst he gets off with his wife.

        Craig could have rivalled Connery, in my view. The storylines should have highlighted his quality as a ruthless and highly dangerous government killer. Instead they’ve gone all post feminist, PC, Beta male – which doesn’t suit Craig’s physicality at all.

  • WFB56

    A typically ridiculous piece from Rupert Myers. The only difference today is that, unlike the drivel of his that the DT publishes, comments are allowed.

    Could there be anything more ridiculous than attempting to pass judgement on a film that is not yet made? As for the silly comments about Skyfall the $1.1 billion gross box office receipts suggest that many others enjoyed it.

    I doubt that the Producers will be too concerned if Myers doesn’t buy a ticket for Spectre as tens of millions of others happily will.


    The Dan Craiggy Boppers at the Bond fan sites are up in arms themselves these days also. All his films are just a mess anyway. This usually happens when the kids Mikey G and Bab’s Brocolli took over years ago. The plots are weak and go no where . Skyfall was crap as all Craig’s films, He has not even made a good film since beig cast as Bond…Time for Bond to end I agree……………………


    For some more on this type of James Bond article I highly recommend visiting the James Bond site ….THE GOLDENEYE DOT COM… Number 007 writer Ian Dunross . He has the best insight and shocking real insight on the Craig Bonds and his take on the new SPECTRE teaser trailer…..He even agrees SKYFALL was Home Alone ….


    The new Spectre film is looking like more warmed over Skyfall so dark Director Sam Mendes does not want us to even see the film because he even knows it’s crap !

  • GenJackRipper

    Very good points.
    Some things should be put in hiatus until we can restore the world to normal.

    Knighthood is another thing.
    In an age where there are Lord Ahmeds who are labour islamists; knighthood should end.

  • Precambrian

    I’ve not watched Bond since Craig took over the role (other than about a third of his first film). Up until then the films were fun. Now its a mixture of thug and oprah.

  • Chamber Pot

    Agree completely. We should ask the Russians to re-invent the Bond franchise they, at least, don’t give a monkey’s about upsetting current, Western, upside down, Victorian, conventional morality where the sight of an incredibly virile Sean Connery slapping some fit bird’s bum is now viewed by our decadent betters as less acceptable than a Rotherham rape gang in full flight.

  • Josh Trett

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but this mostly nonsense. The series has to keep changing and changing otherwise it would have not lasted 50 years. I wonder how many other times during its span people have wrongly assumed it was dead. When Moonraker came out 35 years ago? Or Die Another Day 13 years ago? The series will keep changing and changing but still be Bond. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people like Connery’s Bond do not exist any more. It would not be believable if an equivalent was walking on screen.