Monday, November 09, 2015


All the people who said this was two and a half hours of pure escapism were exactly right. The film is too long but passes the 'how many times did I check my watch' test.

The film succeeds through high production values. The plot is formulaic and dull while the action sequences are way over-familiar. But there are deeper problems.

Bond is too old and the women are infeasibly compliant. A modern audience just can't suspend disbelief when a woman Bond never met before pretty much immediately goes into a passionate clinch with him .. just because. Things move to embarrassment-central when his love interest - Dr Madeleine Proust Swann - is young enough to be his daughter.

Deeper again. The more they fill out his back story - unhappy orphaned childhood, adopted-brother to a major villain - the more they paint themselves into a corner for any future movies. Past Bonds were the elite of the secret service; contemporary Bond is a relic, an action man reaching those parts of hands-on lethality that higher-tech methods currently miss. Remember the Boston Consulting Group growth–share matrix? Well, Bond has moved from Star to Cash-Cow to Dog.

So I really struggle with the positioning of future-Bond.

Daniel Craig wants out and should be let out.

A charismatic Idris Elba would be a great government assassin - if that was where our foreign intelligence services were going (is it?). Otherwise Bond is going to end up as a drone-wielding Q. In that case, better we stop while we're still (marginally) ahead.

Some see Bond as a classic projection of British cultural 'soft power' - a wildly-successful global phenomenon where British Intelligence (troubled, naturally) still sits at the centre of events. In SPECTRE we Brits are setting up a global surveillance consortium called 'nine eyes', for God's sake.

You know, even in a fictional universe, there's a difference between punching above your weight and trying to peddle Lalaland.