ALTERNATIVE 007


Blockbuster Wars: Everybody Does It Better Than James Bond



The near future in the world of pop culture not far, far away . . .
It is almost seven years since the civil war, and this year will determine the fate of conflict. The greatest fear is that the EON, with the help of Oscar winner Sam Mendes, has secretly begun construction on a new armored space station even more powerful than the first two dreaded Death Stars. When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of rebels struggling to restore the true beauty to the James Bond franchise...


Controversy first sparked when Daniel Craig became James Bond on October the 14th, 2005. Months after this casting, much debate was still in evidence and fans were still split. A lot of disenfranchised fans thought that nothing could be done. Brosnan cannot return as Bond and other contenders were ignored. All hope was lost until October 2006 with the release of Happy Feet on November the 17th, 2006 (the same date Casino Royale released in theaters in the US).
At that moment, I was relieved. On the side of the Pro-Craig minions, they arrogantly said on IMDb message boards that Casino Royale will beat Happy Feet in the US. I was like “I hope not.” Then on November 17, 2006, Casino Royale and Happy Feet both released in theaters. I was nervous that Casino Royale would get the top spot at the US box office by the end of the weekend. But to my relief (being a Brosnan fan and not impressed by the choice of Daniel Craig to replace him) Happy Feet won. Not only did Happy Feet stay a number one for another two weeks but it took home an Oscar too.
Because Happy Feet triumphed at the US box office, we should endorse not only non-Bond films that release on same day as the next Craig Bond movie but non-Bond films released around the same time also. When the next Bond movie Quantum of Solace got a US release date (November 7, 2008), it was to compete against Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (which was released on the same day as QOS) and of course Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the boy wizard series' 6th adventure (which was to be released 2 weeks later). Craig’s first Bond lost the #1 title to the animated movie upon release so with Potter apparently released two weeks from the November 7 date the audience would completely forget Craig’s second Bond. That put it in the sort of competition none of Craig’s Bonds have ever faced.
Just as we were about to taste victory, something bad had happened during August 2008 when a news headline said that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was delayed to summer of 2009 for some reason. I was like “why it had to be Harry Potter?” I feared that QOS would claim the #1 position a week later at the US box office after release. If the Potter delay was bad enough, QOS was pushed back a week later, leaving it right open to take the #1 position, but it would compete against Hugh Jackman’s Australia and the late Bernie Mac’s Soul Men on the very same day. However, Australia was moved back to Thanksgiving, and even Soul Men was moved. That would mean QOS would have no competition on the day it opened and I dreaded to see it beat Die Another Day’s opening weekend numbers. What I feared was that there would multiple screenings for QOS in every theater. If Craig’s sophomoric Bond outing was success, that wouldn’t be good on our side. On the bright side though was that Twilight moved from its original release date of December 10, 2008 to Half-Blood Prince’s original release date of November 21, 2008. Plus, it had the same mainstream appeal as Potter.
Just as we lost hope, Quantum of Solace started to get a bad rap, starting with its terrible theme song. Afterwards, the movie itself got bad reviews day by day. That really made my day as I always wanted to Craig’s second outing do much worse than its predecessor. Despite the bad reviews, people were still going to see it. Then November came along, and Madagascar 2 topped the US box office on the first week. A week later Quantum of Solace was released, and it was like a defeat for us as it was not only #1 at the US box office but also beat Die Another Day’s opening week numbers. Then both blockbusters Twilight and Bolt were released a week later. Twilight took the top spot at the US box office and also beat QOS’s opening numbers. I was hoping Bolt would take 2nd place, but why QOS got 2nd I don’t understand, considering those horrid reviews? Despite no competition, Craig’s sophomoric outing didn’t last very long in theaters (especially here in the US) and failed to beat Casino Royale’s worldwide numbers. Unfortunately though, QOS is currently the highest Bond movie in the domestic market so it’s a defeat for us but not a big one. It could have been worse if it got even a single Oscar nomination in the technical category, making it the first Bond movie to be nominated since FYEO (which was nominated for Best Song).
From Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan, the World of James Bond was a democracy. After the Brosnan’s unfair dismissal from EON, the Bond community slowly descended into madness up to the point where you can no longer debate. And things got worse when Daniel Craig took the throne. From there, free-speech became obsolete not only on Bond forums but also general movie forums (e.g. IMDB) as well. As the old saying goes, action speaks louder than words. To show our disappointment at Craig’s casting and Brosnan’s unfair dismissal, I would like to see endorsements of non-Bond films. And this movement will continue until Craig’s ultimate demise. Whether we will defeat EON and the Pro-Craig minions, the answer lies ahead of us when Craig’s Bond 23 releases in theaters. Hopefully, Bond 23 will become Craig’s final nail in coffin, and we will taste victory just like Luke Skywalker and his friends did in Return of the Jedi. I want the James Bond series to flourish and continue in the future but as long as Daniel Craig is in the role I really wish they wouldn't bother and am happy to see the franchise temporarily mothballed, even if it takes a box-office dud to halt production of these movies and usher a new direction with new actors and a new production team just like Batman and Star Trek currently have.



James Bond is dead. If you want to watch great movies based on British literature featuring an ultimate hero, buy the upcoming Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection. If you want to watch a really good reboot film, watch either Batman Begins or 2009’s Star Trek, and there’s plenty more than just these two. If you want to watch excellent sequels to a reboot film, watch The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises (opens July 20, 2012). And if you want to watch a definite modern James Bond, watch GoldenEye. Just stay away from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace as well as any future Bonds starring Craig as 007. Great or not, they’re nothing special. Just Jason Bourne clones. Long ago, some of us thought that other franchises, especially Star Wars and Harry Potter, were a threat to Bond’s popularity that Bond himself was becoming less popular as more big franchises came along to challenge spy series that started in 1962. There was something special about Bond, which is why I placed it as my top priority to see over others. Back in the Brosnan era, I supported the spy franchise, and I trusted EON that they would give us movie that will triumph over others. But after the way Brosnan was dismissed as well as the Pierce bashings and Craig worshipping by defensive fanboys, I stopped supporting Bond, which since became my enemy. If Craig as Bond is that popular, I might as well get myself another franchise to support - which I did. In the old saying, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and that is what describes Star Wars and Harry Potter today along with other franchises that challenge Bond’s popularity.
Before 2006, James Bond was a hero men wanted to be and women wanted to be with but not anymore. That title goes to the late Michael Jackson. Bond is not Bond anymore and is nothing but relic of the past. He is now what the Republic has become in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Today, EON and the Pro-Craig minions are to the Empire as we are to the Rebels. If we Rebels are to win against the Empire, two things must occur: Bond 23 must CRASH and BURN (both critically and financially), especially here in the US; and Bond 23 must fail to receive nominations from high profile American movie awards that include MTV Movie Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globes, and especially the Oscars.
Speaking of the American movie awards, did you see CR and QOS got nominated by any of them? The answer is no. It is a good thing neither of Craig’s Bonds got any nomination from these awards, especially the Oscars in the technical category, and it is a good thing neither of Craig’s Bonds become the first Bond movie to get nominated by the Oscars since FYEO (which like I said was nominated for Best Song). And it should be kept this way until the traditional dark haired handsome 7th Bond enters. Otherwise, it would be like placing Craig’s Bond in the same room as Darth Vader and Homer Simpson as pop culture icons, and Craig’s Bond is no pop culture icon and never will be. Not only that, this will tell you how EON really wasted Brosnan with banal scripts and storylines after GoldenEye (leaving those Pro-Craig minions to blame him like it’s his fault, considering that he is responsible for the Bond films sucked after GoldenEye) and try to get away with it. A Craig Bond gets nominated by an Oscar (even in the technical category) while Pierce’s Bonds got none (not to mentioned Skyfall being the highest grossing Bond both worldwide and especially here in the US) - a very bad image to the entire pop culture if you ask me. Let’s hope this does not happen with Skyfall, or you may as well have The Blue Man Group as James Bond.
It is bad enough that Oscar winner Sam Mendes is directing Craig's third outing, and plus, Oscar nominee Thomas Newman will compose the score for the movie. When Mendes was hired, he said he plans to restructured Skyfall to be Oscar-friendly. If you look at Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy (or The Dark Knight trilogy, whatever you want to refer), Chris makes them not only to explore the character development but also to entertain the audience. He doesn't make movies to win Oscars, or at least get nominated for that matter. As for Craig's Bonds, it seems that EON tries to copy both the Batman reboot and Jason Bourne. They may have focused on character development with Craig's Bonds, but what they did is for their own personal gain, and the words personal gain are written all over Craig's Bonds, especially Skyfall.


We can hope there are other forces besides the Twilight finale and the first chapter of The Hobbit to annihilate Skyfall this holiday season of 2012. The more forces we have, the better chance Craig's third virus will be forgotten at the box office (failing to enter 2012's top 10 grossing films both worldwide and here in the US) as well as receiving no attention from high profile American movie awards (meaning NO nominations, not just no wins). There are plenty of other franchises more deserving of our money than the current Bond one. Indiana Jones, Batman, Star Trek, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jason Bourne, Transformers, The Hunger Games, The Chronicles of Narnia, Twilight, you name them. Heck, I said this before, and I can say it again. But once any of these franchises end their run (e.g. Batman and Twilight), other new franchises will rise up against Craig’s Bond movies, and these include the Superman reboot and The Hobbit (like I just said). It’s all about other franchises now along with other potential great films, and anything is preferable over Bond these days. Aside from franchise films, we will also need forces like Wreck-It Ralph, Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, Rise of the Guardians, Les MisÚrables, The Great Gatsby, Django Unchained, and the list goes on. Some of these films may not beat Skyfall's numbers, but they can at least drive the general audience from seeing Craig's mug on the big screen, not to mentioned no recognition for Skyfall from high profile American movie awards. Since we’re talking non-Bond films here, let’s not forget about non-Bond films from Pierce himself also. Pierce is still a valuable asset in winning this war, and with or without Bond, he’s still worth multi-millions of dollars if he has the right script and the right director suited to this talents. Speaking of this, he has two action-thrillers (that may have potential to be blockbusters) under his belt: The Coup and The November Man
On November 9, 2012, Skyfall will release in theaters in the US, and when that day comes, NEVER give your soul to Daniel Craig's mug as James Bond. Instead, join the vampires and Bilbo Baggins along with other non-Bond forces. In the meantime, we shall prepare for the final battle of Middle Earth.


- Dan
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