It sounded promising, with Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) as director and Peter Morgan (“Frost/Nixon” and “The Queen”) as writer, with Daniel Craig returning and, perhaps most intriguingly, Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz as the villain. But the status of the next James Bond movie has been shifted from on hold to canceled entirely. Has Jason Bourne done what all those bad guys could not? Has he wiped out James Bond? Have modern, shaky camera, gritty spy movies and mundane real-life spy stories like the recent arrests of deep cover Russian spies in the suburbs made it impossible for us to enjoy the glossy elegance of the Bond series after 22 films? Or can he be re-booted again, even re-Bourne?
The Guardian’s film blog has a good discussion about Bond’s future prospects. On one hand, James Bond is one of the world’s great brands, with all-but-guaranteed box office sales. On the other hand, the recent entries in the series, arguably everything since Sean Connery, have been infomercials stuffed with product placement and mired in retro notions of glamor that are uncomfortably outdated.
I don’t doubt that Bond will be back. The franchise still has value. But this stumble should be an opportunity to refocus on story, not stunts, and entertainment, not product sales.