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Tag: James Bond

Editorials

Who Will Be The Next James Bond?

May 19, 2019

Daniel Craig will be stepping down from the iconic role of James Bond after the next film and I think it’s fair to say his run as Bond has been a huge success. The high point to me was Skyfall which while still an amazing spy-thriller also has something to say about Bond as a character, who he is, what his life means. More so than ever a change in the actor playing Bond will mean a change in the character so who are the contenders to play Bond, and what type of Bond would they be?

The Contenders

Idris Elba

Idris Elba (dailytimes.com)

Why Him? As always many names are being thrown around but Idris Elba has been a contender for some time. Elba not only brings a lot of experience for action films he is also a very talented actor lauded for his performances in The Wire and Beast of No Nation. Two other things would work for Elba – he is an exceptionally handsome man and he is very cool.

What Type Of Bond Would He Be? In his mid-forties already Elba could carry on the Daniel Craig persona of an old-hand, someone who hasn’t changed with the world. Skyfall played with the idea that Bond was “past his best”, in Goldeneye, Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond film, he was described as a Cold War dinosaur, so for some this idea has been a big part of Bond.

Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy (weheartit.com)

Why Him? I think it’s with recent hit Peaky Blinders that Cillian showed he could play this kind of character. In that show, he plays crime boss Thomas Shelby, who while very tough, is most effective when using his mind.

What Type of Bond Would He Be? – Murphy doesn’t exactly look tough, nor does he look his age, seemingly barely ageing since his star-turn in 28 Days Later all those years ago. To me Bond often doesn’t seem very good at espionage. Don’t get me wrong – he’s very good at killing and fighting, but being subtle and discreet? Never. So maybe this could be what Murphy brings – a more intellectual hero who is actually good at being a spy.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron (flickdirect.com)

Why Her? She might just be the best actress working today. Not only that she starred in the best action film of recent times, Mad Max: Fury Road and showed in Atomic Blonde that she is absolutely capable of all the fighting and action a Bond film would throw at her.

What Type Of Bond Would She Be? Theron was very cold and extremely ruthless in Atomic Blonde so maybe we could get an anti-hero Bond. After all, the world of espionage is not made up of heroes, it’s made up of liars and con artists who are perhaps not terribly likeable.

Daniel Kaluuya

Daniel Kaluuya (latimes.com)

Why Him? This British actor has been on fire the past few years and already has been successful in America, from horror gem Get Out to a supporting role in superhero success Black Panther. He can play law enforcer with a conscience, as he did in Sicario or simply be intimidating as he was in Widows.

What Kind Of Bond Would He Be? Kaluuya is a good deal younger than many contenders which could take the franchise in a new direction. – a young man brought into MI6 with lots of potential. This could perhaps a more idealistic Bond, a man not worn down by years of fighting.

Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill (yahoo.com)

Why Him? Cavill is perhaps the most obvious choice to go with. In terms of his previous acting experience, it’s almost like he has been destined for this part- he’s already played spies in The Man From U.N.C.L.E and apprenticed with Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: Fallout as well as headlining a major franchise by playing Superman in the recent DC films. He certainly has the right look for a Bond and undoubtedly has the physical presence, who can forget the amazing bathroom fight scene in Mission Impossible: Fallout and the even more amazing moment where Cavill “reloads” his arms?

What Kind Of Bond Would He Be? I expect this Bond would be a more typical hero. Honourable.Decent. Noble. Perhaps a bit boring?

An interesting bit of Bond news was reported not long ago in that they had hired an additional writer for the next Daniel Craig film – Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The woman behind two recent television hits – Fleabag and Killing – is certainly a hugely talented writer but perhaps not the sort of person who would usually be found writing for James Bond. This could be suggesting a change in tone in Bond, and well, if Phoebe Waller-Bridge is writing it we might as well cast….

Jodie Comer

Jodie Comer (latimes)

As Villanelle in Killing Eve Comer gave us a compelling and mesmerising performance as well as being something of a cultural sensation and I would love to see her take on such a well-established character as Bond.

What Type Of Bond Would She Be? This would really feel like a real change, not because Comer is a woman, but she’s most famous for playing a sociopath assassin and is absolutely the bad-guy. But if you really want a change she could be it. When you look at what Bond does and how he behaves, he’s already the villain, just he’s on “our side” so we see him as the good guy. This wouldn’t even be an anti-hero or someone a bit morally grey but an outright villain. Let’s unleash a truly wicked Bond and see what happens.

Also Read: The Movie Villains Who Nailed It (And Those That Didn’t) – Part 2: James Bond.

Editorials

The Movie Villains Who Nailed It (And Those Who Didn’t) – Part Two [James Bond]

February 13, 2019

“Bond. James Bond.”

Famous words so often uttered not long before a villainous henchman-dispatching, cat-stroking maniac on a mission is thwarted once again by Her Majesty’s greatest double-O agent…after a few vodka martinis have been downed, of course.

James Bond has become one of the enduring symbols of heroism in cinema since his first big screen incarnation in Dr. No in 1962. As England’s most potent agent of espionage with a “licence to kill”, Bond has consistently overcome a variety of foes (ranging from the unnervingly-plausible to the downright ridiculous) while being played by a variety of actors (ranging across the same sort of spectrum). Some of his opponents have been largely forgettable (remember the antagonist in Quantum of Solace?), while others have undeniably left their mark on the Bond franchise.

Continuing with our theme from last time, let’s take a look at two villains in the Daniel Craig era, one of whom was disappointing, and another who was surprisingly effective.

Part two: James Bond villains

Ernst Stavro Blofeld – late and not worth the wait

Christoph Waltz as Blofeld

When I first heard that Christoph Waltz was playing the primary antagonist in Spectre, the 2015 follow-up to Skyfall, I was thrilled. I love Christoph Waltz. He’s spectacularly villainous without really having to try. And I was even more intrigued about how he would portray a classic Bond baddie – Ernst Stavro Blofeld (the inspiration for Mike Myers’ Dr Evil, no less) – in the sequel to 2012’s Skyfall, which is by all accounts one of the best movies in the series. Sam Mendes was set to return to the helm, with another outing for Daniel Craig as 007 on the cards. It all sounded too good to be true.

And, alas, it was.

Spectre is a good Bond film, but it fails to hit the heights of its predecessor. And I believe the main reason for that unsatisfactory outcome was because of a misfire in the villain department.

Waltz is an Oscar-winning actor with incredible talent. His portrayal of Blofeld should have been scintillating, mesmerising, captivating…totally unforgettable and worthy of Bond himself. But it just wasn’t. Waltz’s considerable powers were horribly underused. His first real appearance in the film was hiked up and up and up, and while some of his lines were certainly chilling (“It was me James, it’s always been me – the author of all your pain”), he was easily beaten in the first instance, and easily captured by Bond in the second.

Having an actor like Christoph Waltz in your movie and simply not using him to anywhere near his full potential is the equivalent of getting behind the wheel of a Formula One car and driving it at 20mph to the shop for milk and teabags.

Yes, he’ll be back of course, but for a villain who essentially orchestrated every negative experience for Craig’s Bond since Casino Royale, Waltz’s Blofield was woefully underwhelming when he finally stepped out of the shadows.

Raoul Silva – a fitting nemesis

Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva

Skyfall was a far superior Bond movie to Spectre, and a significant aspect of what made it great was its antagonist – Raoul Silva.

Played by the always-brilliant Javier Bardem, Silva was a disillusioned former MI6 agent with a penchant for cyberterrorism and an unwavering desire to get revenge on Judi Dench’s ‘M’, with whom Bond had a love-hate, quasi mother-son relationship since well before the Daniel Craig era. Silva blames M for disavowing him to the Chinese government and will stop at nothing to kill her.

Like Christoph Waltz, Javier Bardem is fantastic at embodying pure evil in his portrayal of a villain (think Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men) and really makes the character he takes on his own. Silva is wonderfully weird, irreverent and, at times, actually quite funny, all the while poised on the cusp of maniacal wickedness. He’s an actor from whom you can’t look away when he’s on screen, and as a Bond villain, he achieves something very few manage to do – he matches 007.

The bottom line

In pretty much every respect, Bardem succeeds where Waltz fails. Or rather, Sam Mendes unlocks the potential of the former and leaves the latter largely dormant. I’m a huge fan of both actors and was so disappointed to see how bland and two-dimensional Waltz was in Spectre, especially after Mendes had so successfully tapped into Bardem’s ability in Skyfall.

In the final instalment of this little series on villains, we’ll take a look at Marvel and discuss which Big Bad was exactly what we hoped for, and which one should have been left on the shelf at the comic-book store.

Also Read: The Movie Villains Who Nailed It (And Those Who Didn’t) – Part One [Harry Potter]