Daniel Craig’s modern James Bond inspired by classic comic strip versions of Bond?
According to the foreword in James Bond: Spectre – The Complete Comic Strip Collection by John Logan, screenwriter for Gladiator, Star Trek Nemesis, The Last Samurai, The Aviator, Skyfall, and the latest James Bond film, SPECTRE, it’s the original Bond from Ian Fleming’s novels–the Bond before anyone viewed him as Sean Connery, and the same Bond revealed in the British comic book strips–that guided the writers to form Craig’s Bond in the last two movie installments.
After reading the comic strip adaptations of Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, and The Spy Who Loved Me, it’s easy to see it. This less superheroic and more human, worn down, aging Bond is the Bond of the modern films. Titan Books’ James Bond: Spectre – The Complete Comic Strip Collection, is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, pulling from the rich archive of Bond strips those stories that dig into the origins of SPECTRE, that evil organization that Blofeld manipulated so well, and that was the focus of last year’s blockbuster.
You’ll find digitally remastered, original black and white versions of the iconic 1960s cartoon strips in an edition similar to the Flash Gordon series reviewed here previously at borg.com–a size that is ideal for reading these old comic strips easily, cover to cover. Each story is based on Fleming’s novels, selected from the 52 comic strips that appeared between 1958 and 1983 syndicated in British newspapers. The illustrations of the strip were rendered by John McLusky who would illustrate thirteen James Bond comic strips along with writer Henry Gammidge until 1966.
Review by C.J. Bunce
If you’ve been too busy buying your advance tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and forgot to get to the theaters to see the latest James Bond film, here’s your wake-up call. Get thee to the theatre before it’s gone! For every new Bond actor there is a handful of films that are forgettable. SPECTRE is not one of those Bond movies. In fact SPECTRE is on the heels of being as good a James Bond formula piece as Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale. It will be hard for any Bond movie to top that one, since it was as close to perfection as an action vehicle can get.
So why is SPECTRE a cut above the rest?
Let’s start with the required action scene opener. We begin with Bond and his attractive companion Estrella, played by Stephanie Sigman, at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City. Bond is in pursuit of an assassin, for a reason yet to be disclosed to the viewer, and the result is some of the best action in any Bond movie. Ever. Bond in a skeleton suit is still unmistakably Daniel Craig’s Bond. We get an inadvertently blown-up building. A foot chase through a parade culminating in a hand to hand fight in a helicopter over the crowded festival. Want exciting? This scene has it all.
Gone is the tired, old, worn-out Bond emphasized in the plot of Skyfall. Gone is the disheartened Bond of Quantum of Solace. This is Bond as he is supposed to be–confident, cocky, and calm. And physically Craig could still out-match all prior Bond actors at any age.
Bond’s main “Bond Girl” is a well-developed character this time around.
Léa Seydoux’s Dr. Swann is compelling and interesting, closer to Eva Green’s engaging Vesper Lynd than any Bond Girl since.
The villains are perfect, starting with Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx and his Groot-like single word of dialogue, and Christoph Waltz’s mastermind is as classic a Bond villain as you’ve ever seen. He’s creepy, but not too creepy like Javier Bardem’s villain in Skyfall. Also well-written are the classic Bond supporting roles: Ben Whishaw’s Q gets more, key screen time than any prior Q, Naomie Harris’s Moneypenny gets more backstory, and Ralph Fiennes’ M gets to take on his own parallel fight against villainy.
The same agency that taunted James Bond in five classic James Bond films (Thunderball, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and You Only Live Twice) is the subject of SPECTRE, the 24th in the current franchise and 26th to feature Bond (if you include David Niven’s Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again). Two-time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz will star as the next Bond villain, “Oberhauser.” SPECTRE is also the agency led by fan favorite Bond villain Blofeld, which has led to speculation that Oberhauser is really an alias for Blofeld. With the last trailer released a few hours ago and the release date almost upon us, we’re that much closer to learning the truth.
Have you voted yet in out our James Bond – Bond Girl poll? Check it out here.
Skyfall director Sam Mendes again directs Bond in SPECTRE. New cast members include the BBC Sherlock’s Moriarty, Andrew Scott, as Denbigh, Monica Bellucci and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) as the new Bond girls Lucia Sciarra and Madeleine Swann, with Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista as Waltz’s henchman Hinx. Returning cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw, reprising their roles from Skyfall as well as Jesper Christensen as Mr. White.
Here is the final trailer for SPECTRE:
A lovely dinner party? Pity I wasn’t invited.
James Bond hasn’t looked any cooler. Well at least since Sean Connery played him in his white dinner jacket and red carnation. Or wait, until Roger Moore sported the white dinner jacket. Well, Bond is back in the nice white digs again as Daniel Craig is featured in the latest poster for the next Bond flick, SPECTRE, which features this classic Bond look as seen in Goldfinger, Octopussy, The Man With the Golden Gun, and Diamonds Are Forever.
And he’s carrying his signature Walther PPK pistol.
That guy in the background is pulled from the signature spectacle opening action scene, which this time round takes place at a Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead festival in Mexico. Expect Bond to be running after someone along the parade route before you’ve had your first handful of popcorn.
Check out this SPECTRE vlog of the behind the scenes production of the opening scene:
For a long dead TV property, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. looks like it might have fallen into the right hands. Director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes) has now released two stylish and compelling trailers–two of the best previews we’ve seen this year–for a late summer movie release that we didn’t think we’d have any reason to be interested in.
If the movie matches the previews, we have another “international man of mystery” story to look forward to–a James Bond with the retro-cinematography feel of the BBC’s TV adaptation of Michael Dibdin’s Zen novels. Despite the fact that the film features the stars of the failed Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger reboots, we have some hope for this one, so long as it can avoid going the way of Johnny Depp’s Dark Shadows.
Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hugh Grant star in this relook at Robert Vaughn and David McCallum’s classic agents for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.). Cavill fills in for Vaughn as Napoleon Solo and Hammer for McCallum as Russian Illya Kuryakin.
We now have a new poster for the film and a new trailer. We previewed the first trailer at borg.com back in February here. Check out this new trailer:
If you like cool cars (and who doesn’t?) and you like ogling the latest and greatest high-end, high-performance cars, then you need look no further than the latest James Bond movie. Bond will be back this November in SPECTRE where he takes on the latest villain, Mr. Hinx, played by Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista. The production recently closed down the streets of Rome for the next Bond high-octane car chase, this time pitting Bautista against Daniel Craig’s Bond in two unreleased cars.
First is Bautista in this sleek, jaw-dropping Jaguar C-X75. Then Craig, of course, has his Aston Martin, this time the new DB10. And they apparently made plenty for filming action scenes in the new entry in the Bond franchise.
A new featurette just released by MGM shows some behind the scenes images and interviews with cast and crew. Check it out, after the break:
In the past few decades of the 50 year tenure of James Bond on film it’s really hard to beat Daniel Craig’s first turn as James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. As action goes it’s practically a perfect film, particularly considering that it’s a bit of an origin story–an overdone trope in genre movies. But despite continuing with an actor who was truly believable as Bond, its 2008 sequel, Quantum of Solace, only muddled along with uninteresting villains, and the 2012 follow-up Skyfall, although interesting, delivered the message that this Bond may be too old to be Bond.
So it’s a relief that James Bond is going back to the basics in SPECTRE–the 24th film in the ongoing series–as hinted in its first trailer released this weekend. Sure, the support team is still here, like Naomie Harris’s Miss Moneypenny, but this Bond is clearly on a new solo mission, and it’s not just a tangential adventure. Tying back to the destruction of the late M’s MI6 office building, Bond is off again to seek some revenge.
Better yet, perhaps we will now learn more about the mysterious Mr. White, played by Jesper Christensen, who has appeared in the first two Daniel Craig Bond movies, but each time as a shadowy figure whose motives and secrets remain hidden. After being caught by Bond at the end of Casino Royale, he managed to escape in Quantum of Solace. We were led to believe he worked for an organization called Quantum, but does he really work for SPECTRE?
After the break check out the first trailer for SPECTRE:
The next James Bond film, SPECTRE, directed by Sam Mendes, is well into production, as shown in two short features released by the studio. The new main cast will return, Daniel Craig of course as Bond, Ralph Fiennes in his first full stint as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, and Ben Whishaw as Q.
In one new video we see the first look at villain Mr. Hinx–Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista filming on snow-covered mountains along with the newest Bond girl Madeleine Swann, played by French actress Léa Seydoux.
In the biggest year of franchise blockbusters probably ever, with a new Avengers, a new Mad Max, a new Jurassic Park, a new Ted, a new Fantastic Four, a new National Lampoon’s Vacation, a new Guillermo del Toro movie, a new Star Wars, a new Mission Impossible, and a new Quentin Tarentino movie all on their way, a new Bond will help keep our theater calendars full all year long.
After the break, see two new behind the scenes looks at the making of the latest Bond:
On the one hand, the first preview for Guy Ritchie’s remake of the 1960s Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series looks fairly stylish. On the other, it stars the leads of the less than stellar Man of Steel and the remake of The Lone Ranger.
Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Hugh Grant co-star in the next spy flick trying to be James Bond. The original U.N.C.L.E. series starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as agents for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement. Cavill fills in for Vaughn as Napoleon Solo and Hammer for McCallum as Illya Kuryakin.
A remake of this type would seem to have a pretty narrow audience. Fans of the original will have the typical two camps: those that avoid it out of loyalty to the original and those who want to see more from the show’s universe of stories. In a year where dozens of big box office draws are slated for release and already announced months ago as previously discussed here at borg.com, and when remakes (like The Lone Ranger) have proven to fail at the box office, this one will have a steep hill to climb.
Check out this first trailer for The Man from U.N.C.L.E., after the break:
We haven’t seen them all yet, but these early released new ads for Sunday’s big game will be hard to beat. Danny Trejo as Marcia Brady? Pierce Brosnan back as Bond? More Schwarzenegger as Terminator? You’d have to drift back to the Bowl ads of 2012 for commercials this good.
Wait no longer. Check out this new trailer, with plenty of Arnold and Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke as the latest Sarah Connor, in Terminator Genisys:
We’ll be first in line for Terminator opening weekend.
If you don’t agree with us that Daniel Craig is the best James Bond of all, maybe you’ll be happy with the visuals of Pierce Brosnan back in a The Spy Who Loved Me setting: