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Topic: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

For the record, I've been a lifelong fan for a good 25 or so years. Brosnan and to a lesser extent Dalton were my current Bonds. TLD, LTK and GE form a unique thoroughline for the character and I always feel compelled to watch those three in a row when I feel like watching one of them. Then I'm thinking, why not see the rest of Brosnan's? But its actually been a while since I saw any Bond. Probably since 2016, actually.

But, I actually started showing Bond films again to an old friend of mine who's never seen them, but didn't want to start off with the old ones, so I decided to start with the Dalton/Brosnan entries, or as I call them Phase 2 of Bond (fanon where I pretend their six films are a different continuity from Connery/Moore), and basically we saw The Living Daylights up to and including Die Another Day. He liked most of them, his favorites were GoldenEye, Die Another Day and Licence to Kill, in that order - he prefered when the formula was a bit tampered. He also thought the story was too complicated in TLD and TWINE, and he was bored by TND.

Personally, as I've been seeing these films for the first time since before 2015, I admit I enjoyed the experience more than I thought. And there was a loose sense of an arc for Bond, with him being world weary and unenthused by his job's bureaucracy, then abandoning it all for the sake of his good friend's tragedy, to returning to the job and accepting that its part of who he is, if not who he is entirely, to his ability to still feel empathy but unwilling to fall for anyone ever again, and then basically displaying his progress as coldly professional killer when he goes out to find one of the men responsible for his months of captivity.

I freely admit this is a tenuous arc to read, at best, and I won't deny that not everyone has or should see it that way. However, I do think there is a character progression and accentuation towards Bond's persona, even if its indirect and suggested at, rather than explicitly displayed and explored as in the Craig entries. Basically, its there, its just at the center of attention all the time, certainly not in TND.

Beyond that, I just enjoyed this round of Bond flicks. Most of them hold up, although my usual issues with some of them are still there. TLD's main weakness are the Roger Moore mainstays, which still annoy me - get Gogol and the Minister outta there, dang it! With GE, I've been wondering what was Travelyan's game - was he aware Bond was going to escape most of the time, or was he always intending to die, yet he always had a back-up plan? Its kinda obvious after a while, in a Joker-in-TDK kinda way. As for TND, I think the main problem with the film has always been its undercooked, overworked script. Clearly, the film peaks in the first third, right up where Bond offs Dr. Kauffman - who is seriously so brilliant, and yet he's in only one scene! Why couldn't he have been in the movie longer? Afterwards, it becomes a Roger Moore pastiche, complete with Bond's relentless barrage of one-liners and clever quips. Its too bad, because that first third is just as good as TLK and GE, with a hint of moral qualms present in the Bond-Paris bedroom scene (easily the best in the film). I just wish the rest of TND was like that. And TWINE... As good as it is, I think it suffers the opposite problem of Skyfall, which is not enough character exploration. And I'm not greedy - a little longer character interactions could've gone a long way. And I guess, I'd have kept Denise Richards' Christmas character as an insurance investigator, since the nuclear scientist is not AS prevalent or even as necessary to carry around the plot. Beyond that, I maintain TWINE has Brosnan's peak performance as Bond, and was an equal to Dalton here. And he was equally good in DAD, where his coldness almost has overtaken him and made him driven in an opposite way to how he was in LTK. I didn't like that at first, but then I realized that for this Bond, his job is his life, and when that was taken away from him, he still had to find who wronged him and he only could go with it a specific way. It made sense to me, and it was even clearer now.

Its a shame Brosnan didn't do Casino Roayle, because it could've completed or sealed, if you will, his tragedy as a cold, efficient killer, who did nonetheless still have a good heart. And as much I like Craig and his CR, I lament the Brosnan version.

Finally, here's my ranking of Phase 2 of Bond:

1. Licence to Kill
2. The World is Not Enough
3. GoldenEye
4. The Living Daylights
5. Die Another Day
6. Tomorrow Never Dies

Interestingly, TND was supposed to have been titled Tomorrow Never Lies. A bit more fitting, if you think about it. Anyway, next up, Phase 3 - the Craig era!

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

Alrighty, then...

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

Well, since you asked...

To be honest, I'm not sure about Phase 2 starting with TLD.

I still feel there is much of the original Fleming in TLD, which has progressed on-and-off since DN. It also emerges as a halfway house between the tomfoolery of latter day Moore and the hard edge of LTK. Its only partially successful in throwing off the shackles of AVTAK & OP. When it does, more than any other Bond TLD feels like a Cold War thriller, all that cloak and dagger stuff with the gun and the cello case, the poisons, the blackmail, the border escapes, the Afghan war, setting it in Bratislava and Vienna and Afghanistan really helps achieve a sense of the NATO West Vs Eastern Bloc. However, I agree entirely that Gogol, etc should have bitten the dust and there is a tendency to robust inappropriate humour - the coda to this film is absolutely horrendous - all those Afghans in battle dress turning up at the Vienna conservatoire - I mean, what were the producer/director/writer thinking? I can't imagine and I almost don't want to know.

LTK also has much of Fleming in it, but I dislike Dalton in this and the revenge motive which hangs over everything becomes very hard to accept, especially as we know (supposeably, but not necessarily, from DAF and FYEO) that while Bond does exact revenge on people who've killed those he cares for, it's never done at the expense of a mission / saving the world.

I am an advocate of the One Number Many Agents scenario, and when Bond's past is alluded to in GE - DAD, I like that it is never expressly clear we're referring back to the Bond of DN - TLK.

Fleming-isms are not so obvious in these four films. They sit very comfortably alone form everything that surrounds them and as a loose quadropoly, they have a timeline that works as well.

I can't go into the details of the Brosnan movies like you Jimmy - also like you, I don't watch Bond regularly, I enjoy my memories much too much - amazing how bad OO7 can sometimes be reviewed and reappreciated, and good OO7 can become tainted  ajb007/smile  - but unlike you I disagree the screenplay issues for TND hamper its success. Like TB, which I also enjoy, TND's script is all over the place script-wise, but also like TB, it overcomes these with verve and vigour; like TB it also lags badly in its final scenes. The two-man attack on the stealth boat is one of the stupidest Bond finales, not because of its execution, but because its so daft - two agents against a mini-army? This is Stallone / Schwarzenegger territory. Once the hole is blown in the boat, the SBS should have been launching an amphibious raid. Bond doesn't have to do everything himself. Sadly that is exactly what happens in these four films and it does become repetitive.

TWINE generally I dislike. I can never exactly tell why, but I think mostly its because every character is so underused. The villains in particular are an ensemble group. without an obvious overarching kingpin, both Reynard and Elektra fail to convince. I also consider almost every action sequence in this film bar the incident in Bilbao, to be over the top and extended far beyond their dramatic welcome. Mind, Brosnan is at his best overall in this.

GE is a super entry into the canon and allows Brosnan to flex his Bond chops. Its well designed, well constructed, solid. Its on a par with TLD and struggles only when trying to be something it isn't - like a seventies Bond (the tank chase) or a comedy-thriller (the stuff in Monaco) - what it isn't is a continuation of the Dalton era. This is brought home very simply by the introduction of M, who cuts our man down to size even as he suavely raises his glass of scotch. Whatever was left of the original phase - an Aston Martin, a Walther, a tuxedo, here or there - is eradicated from memory very swiftly. Bond's sudden drop into ex-Soviet Russia also highlights the changes. The old guard has been vanquished, welcome to the new.

DAD isn't worth remarking on other than to mention the scenes with Emilio Echevarria are brilliant.

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

I really think Goldeneye is the breaking line between eras, and would not lump the Dalton films and the Brosnan films together as an era of their own.
Goldeneye was the first film Cubby was not involved in, and the first none of the original behind-the-scenes people were involved in (Barry, Ken Adam, Maibaum, Simmons, Binder etc) and I think it feels like a younger generation trying very hard to replicate what their father's friends once did so well.

I'm not sure what Barbara's involvement was with the earlier films. Michael Wilson was heavily involved in the 1980s films, and would be the bridge between those two eras. He was co-producer and co-writer on all those films of the John Glenn era. I would mark For Your Eyes Only as being the next most significant break in the film history, because of both the new director that would helm the next five films and Michael Wilson's increased creative involvement.

There was definitely a change of tone with those 1980s films (even if OP and aVtaK were a bit of a step back to comedy). Darker, morally ambiguous spy stories rather than comic book style spectacles.
I would say that Goldeneye did not continue that tone, and instead harkened back to the successful comedy-spectacle formula of Roger Moore's biggest 1970s films: the last time mass audiences really lined up to see Bond.

As if now that the series was in the hands of a younger generation, they did not have complete confidence in what they were doing and instead went back to what had been proven to work in the classic era. And they were right, it was a very successful movie because it gave us back the look and feel of that wonderful fantasy world that had been missing for so long.

Of course a decade later they did dare to throw out all those comfortable repetitive images, and radically reinvent a darker grittier type of Bond film.

Last edited by caractacus potts (1st Jun 2019 19:37)

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

caractacus potts wrote:

I really think Goldeneye is the breaking line between eras, and would not lump the Dalton films and the Brosnan films together as an era of their own.

There is a divide, yes; but from a purely age-related basis you can split Bond into three ages: Connery/Lazenby/Moore- all of whom are around the same age; Dalton/Brosnan - similar ages; then Craig. Bond has effectively been rebooted twice so far.
Don't forget the pre-title sequence of GoldenEye is actually set just prior to Living Daylights, and the new M has him evaluated in Monaco- perhaps because she's not keen on what she read in his file about his going rogue in Isthmus?

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

There are different ways of blocking Bond into phases. In one sense Bond is the same Bond all the way through from DN to DAD: witness Bond jokingly playing in DAD with different artefacts from.his past, including Rosa Klebb's shoe and the jet pack from TB. Admittedly, by then, it had become ludicrous to think of him as having been one and the same man all the way through from the early 60s to the new millenium. There had been references to Bond's marriage in TSWLM, FYEO and LTK. Desmond Llewelyn's continued casting till TWINE had been a significant continuity thread, with John Cleese as Llewelyn's successor bridging continuity from TWINE to DAD. Technically, there's been only one proper re-boot in the fictional world - for Craig's movies.

Meaningful ways to group Bond movies vary. I like to think in terms of directors with the films from the 60s to the 80s, which makes it a little complicated until we get to John Glen's straight run. The passage of time between LTK and GE, with the recasting to Brosnan, creates an obvious break, inviting a view of Brosnan's films as a discrete entity. In taking the decision properly to re-boot Bond for CR, the producers were tidying up what had become a slightly muddy area. A question for the future, however, is how many further re-boots audiences will accept. Looking across to another genre, a problem with super-hero movies since they became massively popular has been a tiresome glut of 'origins' stories, sometimes for the same characters (Spiderman, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four).

Last edited by Shady Tree (2nd Jun 2019 12:36)

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

Good points mentioned above. Another one is:
Bond’s evaluation in Goldeneye supposedly should be because of the events in LTK which would connect the Brosnan to the Dalton era.

The name is Walker by the way.

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

Shady Tree wrote:

A question for the future, however, is how many further re-boots audiences will accept. Looking across to another genre, a problem with super-hero movies since they became massively popular has been a tiresome glut of 'origins' stories, sometimes for the same characters (Spiderman, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four).

I've stopped watching superhero movies as I find them generally tedious, but I think this is an interesting point. Rebooting Spidey, Hulk, etc over an over again begins to look ridiculous. In an age of easily accessible film, audiences don't need to be told how a hero becomes a hero. They can look it up on line, watch it on cable. etc. So the reinvention of Peter Parker's origin really wastes time. It's not a REBOOT it's a REMAKE.

So, given Bond audiences can do exactly the same as Marvel or DC audiences, research the timelines, understand the origins, etc, there's less need to REBOOT the character by REMAKING the origin. The Bond franchise did it successfully with Craig, and to a lesser extent with Brosnan, for it isn't ever clear he is the very same OO7 we met in 1962.

If we have a new Bond post-25, I'd like to hope the producers do what Sol Lesser and others did with Tarzan, which is just continue as if nothing has changed, even if the actors all have. Audiences are not stupid and we don't need to have everything explained for us - we do know Bond isn't a real person!  ajb007/smile  ajb007/smile

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

AugustWalker wrote:

Bond’s evaluation in Goldeneye supposedly should be because of the events in LTK which would connect the Brosnan to the Dalton era.

say that makes complete sense!
as a continuity geek I should have noticed that myself, but never did.

my arguments above are based on behind-the-scenes changes, rather than anything in-story.
But the style of storytelling changes with those behind-the-scenes changes.





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(EDIT: yes I now see emtiem logically explained the Goldeneye evaluation first in post 5)

Last edited by caractacus potts (2nd Jun 2019 14:38)

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

AugustWalker wrote:

Good points mentioned above. Another one is:
Bond’s evaluation in Goldeneye supposedly should be because of the events in LTK which would connect the Brosnan to the Dalton era.

Well, that's not really 'another' one: more the same one! ajb007/biggrin

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

Shady Tree wrote:

Looking across to another genre, a problem with super-hero movies since they became massively popular has been a tiresome glut of 'origins' stories, sometimes for the same characters (Spiderman, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four).

chrisno1 wrote:

I've stopped watching superhero movies as I find them generally tedious, but I think this is an interesting point. Rebooting Spidey, Hulk, etc over an over again begins to look ridiculous. In an age of easily accessible film, audiences don't need to be told how a hero becomes a hero. They can look it up on line, watch it on cable. etc. So the reinvention of Peter Parker's origin really wastes time. It's not a REBOOT it's a REMAKE.

And there's a new XMen film coming out any day now that will re-tell the Dark Phoenix story all over again (which was already the plot of the third film), but this version in a timeline altered by the events of yet another film.

Comics-wise, some characters just have origins more interesting than any potential of the characters themselves, so the origin does keep getting retold rather than progressing to new stories.
Amongst the classic Batman villains, TwoFace's origin was so perfect they kept repeating it over and over. Whereas Joker and CatWoman each had ten years of wildly varied evil adventures before the writers thought to give either of them origins.
And in the Dark Knight film, basically all we got was TwoFace's origin and he was almost immediately killed off, where the Heath Ledger's Joker's origin was left to our imagination.


Considering Fleming never really gave Bond an origin beyond fleeting mention of the first two kills, I don't think Bond is the kind of character who requires an origin story either. He is meant to be the eyes through which we see all these other zany colourful characters carry out their evil plots, he is not meant to be so fascinating himself.

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

caractacus potts wrote:

Considering Fleming never really gave Bond an origin beyond fleeting mention of the first two kills, I don't think Bond is the kind of character who requires an origin story either. He is meant to be the eyes through which we see all these other zany colourful characters carry out their evil plots, he is not meant to be so fascinating himself.

Oh I dunno; the character of Bond is the main difference between the Bond films and something like Mission Impossible- the latter are all about plot, whereas the Bond film fetishise their hero and celebrate him, what he wears, what he drives, the women he loves etc.: the films are all about him. So showing any kind of origin story about him seems to fit pretty well.

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

emtiem wrote:
AugustWalker wrote:

Good points mentioned above. Another one is:
Bond’s evaluation in Goldeneye supposedly should be because of the events in LTK which would connect the Brosnan to the Dalton era.

Well, that's not really 'another' one: more the same one! ajb007/biggrin

Missed that. Gotta cut short on the Saturday night-outs from now on  ajb007/lol

The name is Walker by the way.

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Re: Phase 2 (Dalton/Brosnan) - Reviewing Bond's soft reboot era

emtiem wrote:
caractacus potts wrote:

I really think Goldeneye is the breaking line between eras, and would not lump the Dalton films and the Brosnan films together as an era of their own.

There is a divide, yes; but from a purely age-related basis you can split Bond into three ages: Connery/Lazenby/Moore- all of whom are around the same age; Dalton/Brosnan - similar ages; then Craig. Bond has effectively been rebooted twice so far.
Don't forget the pre-title sequence of GoldenEye is actually set just prior to Living Daylights, and the new M has him evaluated in Monaco- perhaps because she's not keen on what she read in his file about his going rogue in Isthmus?

The GE script had an explicit reference to him being out of service for six years. So that's another instance, there.

Question: Are you the same guy from the Gallifrey Base forums?

Last edited by Jimmy Bond (24th Sep 2019 09:28)