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Topic: Fixing the Bond Films

It has long been my observation that many of the less-reputable James Bond films have “potential” which could have been realised had the appropriate changes had been made. Below is a list of changes I would make to each Bond film.

The first problem concerns the order in which the Bond films came out. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Blofeld fails to recognise Bond even though he met him in the previous film, You Only Live Twice. Therefore, the order of the films should have been:

1.    Dr. No
2.    From Russia with Love
3.    Goldfinger
4.    Thunderball
5.    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
6.    You Only Live Twice
7.    Diamonds are Forever
8.    The rest continue as normal

Dr. No, FRWL, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and OHMSS are near perfect films to me. Only incidental things in them require changing. The fifth Bond film, You Only Live Twice, needs a great many changes. As mentioned before, it should have become after OHMSS. Furthermore, like the novel it should have been revenge story with Bond being sent to Japan on a seemingly unrelated mission, coming face-to-face with Blofeld, and killing him avenge Tracy’s death. Furthermore, I would also have Bond take a much more active role rather than the lackadaisical one he adopts through much of the film.

The 1970s were something of a mixed bag for the Bond series. I would make only incidental changes to LALD and TSWLM. Radical changes would be made to DAF. Gone would be the camp humour and Blofeld (having been dispatched in YOLT) would be replaced by another villain. Both Tiffany Case and Plenty O’Toole would remain. Tiffany Case would be a more three-dimensional and serious character rather than a buffoon. And Plenty O’Toole would receive more screen-time so we feel her loss more. Both the Las Vegas locale and the diamond smuggling theme would be retained. However, the diamonds would be smuggled for a more down to earth purpose – i.e. money laundering – than trying to create a diamond laser in space.

When it comes to TMWTGG, I would dispense with Hai Fat and Solex Agitator subplot, silly camp humour (especially that stupid slide whistle), and overtures to Kung Fu. Instead the film would focus on the conflict between Bond and Scaramanga focusing more on Scaramanga as the “dark side of Bond.”

The final 1970s Bond film is Moonraker: a film that is such a travesty that the only way to improve it would be to scrap it entirely and start again from scratch. That said, I would definitely get rid of the “James Bond in outer space” trope, the double-taking pigeons, and the Jaws falling in love gimmicks.

Next comes the 1980s. I would make only incidental changes to FYEO and TLD. I have always found Octopussy to be something of a mixed bag. In my opinion, the film goes downhill when it moves to India and descends into a campy, boy’s own adventure story. However, the highlights of the film is the sequence in East Germany and the scene in East Germany. To summarise: I would make Octopussy a FRWL-style spy thriller set in Europe and dispense entirely with the India-based sequences.

AVTAK, like a Moonraker, is a total travesty. The chief problem comes from the film’s uneven tone. The best way to improve the film would have been to replace Roger Moore with an actor (imagine Dalton making his debut one film earlier) who is both younger and better able to face up to the psychotic Max Zorin. Additionally, I would have replaced Grace Jones with another actress and dispensed with some of the sillier elements.

The only change I would make to TLD would be to try to rewrite the script to suit Timothy Dalton’s strength. Dalton excels at being a harder-edged, grittier Bond. He does not necessarily excel at humour. The film’s script should have reflected this. Finally, when it comes to LTK, I would have upped the production value and tried to avoid the “Miami Vice”-style aesthetic that film carries.

Now we come to the 1990s. I would make only incidental changes to Goldeneye. TND would be entirely rewritten so that it comes across less like an adolescent fantasy and more like an intelligent action thriller. The film’s clichés, such as the Chinese spy using Kung Fu, and the characters would be more three-dimensional. When it comes to TWINE, I would not reduce Valentine Zukovsky to such a buffoon of a character (he was great in Goldeneye, less so here). I would also dispense with the parahawks sequence and try to make Christmas Jones a more believable character.

Of the three films made between 2000 and 2009, I would make only incidental changes to Casino Royale. Both DAD and QOS would be scrapped entirely to be replaced by films that are less ridiculous, in the former case, and less boring, in the latter case.

Finally, we arrive at the films of the 2010s: Skyfall and Spectre. Skyfall is a good film, although I must confess that I find it to be somewhat overrated. Therefore, I would make only incidental changes. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, for Spectre. The biggest change I would make to Spectre is the relationship between Bond and Blofeld. The idea that Bond is actually Blofeld’s adopted brother and that Blofeld hates him so much that he has “authored all his pains” is the most idiotic villain motivation in a Bond film.

These are the changes I would make to the Bond series. Please note that these are just some ideas I have thought of off the top of my head.

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Re: Fixing the Bond Films

Thanks for that- there's a lot to take in there!

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Re: Fixing the Bond Films

Some very interesting suggestions there TheMagus, here are my thoughts:


1)    Of all the Bond films, I think Golden Gun would lend itself best to some kind of overall improving re-edit. Take out the slide whistle,  cut out the kung fu scenes, remove Sheriff JW Pepper from the boat and car chase, make the fight in Saida’s dressing room the pre-title sequence (in order to avoid the structural problem of the opening being almost exactly the same as the climax), and already you have a much stronger Bond film.


2)    I agree that Moonraker, in terms of re-editing, is probably beyond repair but I think AVTAK could actually be improved by cutting out some of the irrelevant horse racing subplot and moving to San Francisco faster. Also, some of the film’s action could be made better by limiting the gratuitous shots of stuntmen who clearly aren’t Roger Moore.


3)    SPECTRE could be improved at a single stroke by removing all the dialogue where Blofeld discusses Stepbrothergate. Also, cut out Judi Dench’s M sending Bond after Sciarra and instead have Ralph Fiennes’ M send Bond on an authorised, but still off-the-books, mission. This would somewhat avoid the tedious ‘Bond goes rogue’ trope.



The ultimate Bond 're-edit’ in my view would, a tad stereotypically, be one where reused footage and cunning editing allows Sean Connery to star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, thereby making it a near-perfect film. However, this would run into problems given that it would involve dubbing over Lazenby’s voice. What do others think?

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Re: Fixing the Bond Films

I can't really agree with taking all of the humour out of the films and making them all 'gritty thrillers'. The jokes and light hearted tone are one the things I enjoy the most. The idea of removing the fun from something like Moonraker makes me very sad. They're not always thrillers: they're adventures. They're big and bold and epic and fun.

SpectreOfDefeat wrote:

Some very interesting suggestions there TheMagus, here are my thoughts:


1)    Of all the Bond films, I think Golden Gun would lend itself best to some kind of overall improving re-edit. Take out the slide whistle,  cut out the kung fu scenes, remove Sheriff JW Pepper from the boat and car chase, make the fight in Saida’s dressing room the pre-title sequence (in order to avoid the structural problem of the opening being almost exactly the same as the climax), and already you have a much stronger Bond film.

I think you're right that it's the prime candidate for a fix, mostly because the whole opening with the bullet being sent to Bond etc. is really rather good. It's got quite a good plot right up until maybe the karate school, and then it stops making sense! I tend to agree with TheMagus on that one: taking out the whole Solex plot would really help it. Scaramanga is an assassin, so why isn't the plot about Bond stopping him from assassinating someone? As it is, the film rather has him turning up on Scaramanga's doorstep unprovoked, at which point he tries to steal the gadget which could be said to be rightfully his and not Bond's! ajb007/smile

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Re: Fixing the Bond Films

Fixing the Bond Films - you'd be a terrible Film Producer or -Director!

Why that?

MOVIES HAVE TO MAKE MONEY!

In your essay you rightly point out many main weaknesses* which are well known and have been broadly discussed.
But you disregard 2 main goals, which are:

- The Bond movies have never been made to please James Bond diehard fans or Fleming Traditionalists
- Broader audiences who are also interested in escapism, entertainment in a broad context, fun etc. had to enjoy the World of James Bond to make them financial suceess.

Without financial success, the franchise may have ended after 3 movies and just think a minute how happy that would have made you.

And EON could not care less for a bunch of diehard James Bond Fans who want to limit him to Fleming and character development of the main figures!

I'll just point out 2 flaws in your argumentation:

DAF: Producers have paid a sh*tload of cash to Connery to return.
The movie is about Connery and Connery being Bond. Expanding and broadening Chase's and O'Tooles roles would have resulted in less focus on Connery and frankly both female characters are just there to make Bond look good (besides their optical charms - but those you have not suggested to use more...)

AVTAK: Replacing Moore with a younger unknown actor.
Wile AVTAK is Moore's worst grossing movie, Cubby needed and used Moore to pull the masses into the cinema seats.
Not sure how well this would have worked with an even younger and even more unexperienced Dalton  ajb007/rolleyes but imo it's safe to say, that AVTAK with Dalton would have played in less money than it is with Moore.

And now suggesting to entirely eliminate MR would be the most ridiculous thing to do!
Back in 1979 Moonraker was by far the most successful Bond movie, overshadowing everything that came before. Audiences and masses loved the way the movie went and felt highly entertained by it.

It's only my opinion, but without TSWLM and MR's mainstream success Cubby may not have been interested in continuing.



* from the James Bond diehard perspective of 2020, keep in mind that tastes change over the year

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.

-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------

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Re: Fixing the Bond Films

TheMagus wrote:

Dr. No, FRWL, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and OHMSS are near perfect films to me. Only incidental things in them require changing. .

I think there are many things that need ficxing in TB. First of all it's a mistake to let the villans present their plan at the begining and then have us watch Bond slowly find out what the audience  already knows.
They should also give the man who unties Domino a couple of short scenes where the audience get to know he's there and why he basically saves Domino, Bond and Miami.
The final fight on the boat is badly edited and has really bad back projection, so that should be fixed.
There are more weaknesses in TB. Just watch Calvin Dyson's review because we're on the same page on this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont … e=emb_logo

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Re: Fixing the Bond Films

Higgins wrote:

Fixing the Bond Films - you'd be a terrible Film Producer or -Director!

As charming as ever  ajb007/rolleyes  - TheMagus is just giving his opinion. He prefers the thriller type. As I already said myself I don't happen to agree.

Higgins wrote:

AVTAK: Replacing Moore with a younger unknown actor.
Wile AVTAK is Moore's worst grossing movie, Cubby needed and used Moore to pull the masses into the cinema seats.
Not sure how well this would have worked with an even younger and even more unexperienced Dalton  ajb007/rolleyes but imo it's safe to say, that AVTAK with Dalton would have played in less money than it is with Moore.

By that logic though they'd have never hired Dalton. I don't think they exactly planned on his films making less money, it just turned out that way.

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Re: Fixing the Bond Films

Number24 wrote:
TheMagus wrote:

Dr. No, FRWL, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and OHMSS are near perfect films to me. Only incidental things in them require changing. .

I think there are many things that need ficxing in TB. First of all it's a mistake to let the villans present their plan at the begining and then have us watch Bond slowly find out what the audience  already knows.

That's an interesting thought, I've never really considered that. Do you mean just the actual Spectre conference scene where they discuss it or the whole watching-the-bombs-being-stolen sequence?
I'm not really sure... would the audience being left in the dark make much difference to the stakes? Spectre aren't planning to do anything hugely surprising with the bombs: Bond knows two nukes have gone missing so the stakes are pretty high to start with. It's not like, say, Moonraker where a space shuttle goes missing- we and Bond can't possibly know that that will lead to a plan to destroy all life on earth from a space station. But two nukes going missing: it's not a huge surprise that the people who have stolen them plan to threaten to set nuclear bombs off. They even have to get in touch with the government to ask for their cash, so they tell us their scheme anyway.

It might have been an interesting angle for any possible further McClory TB remakes in the 90s or whatever though: that Spectre were planning to do something unexpected with the bombs and not just threaten to set them off. I've no idea quite what, but I'm sure there's something one could come up with! ajb007/smile