James Bond: World War Z

"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."
Ever Pierce Brosnan was horribly dismissed as James Bond and then replaced by Daniel Craig, I have been hoping that the Craig era will end. I hoped Skyfall would signify the last film but obviously that didn't happen. Because Barbara Broccoli (aka The Empress) surrounded herself with Oscar nominated/winning people and other great talents who have potential to receive Oscar nominations/wins when making Skyfall as well as the movie being released in 2012 (James Bond’s 50th anniversary), I knew she was up to something as I sensed a plot to destroy the Rebels, and she’s been doing this ever since when she cast her Bond.
Looking back, Casino Royale got squashed by Happy Feet during its US opening weekend, also failing to beat Die Another Day’s opening weekend gross of $47 million (though unfortunately it did end up beating DAD’s overall US numbers). That was a little victory for us Craig era sufferers here in the US. Quantum of Solace, on the other hand, had no competition thanks to the delay of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The good news was that it suffered mixed reviews. But people still gave QOS their time and money because it’s a James Bond movie and that brand will always do business whoever is playing 007.
Unfortunately, it broke DAD’s opening weekend record in the US as well as CR’s domestic numbers. However, it failed to beat CR’s worldwide gross. But still, I see it as a somewhat of a defeat since QOS had won the US audience in terms of box office numbers. Now fast forward to November 2012. Like Quantum of Solace, Skyfall opened against nothing although Craig faced intense competition like never before. It seems other studios wouldn’t dare have their films open against Craig’s junior Bond outing even though QOS was a critical mess. Skyfall became the first James Bond movie to be released in IMAX, a smart way to drum up more sales.
Now comes November the 9th, the date that would determine the fate of the Craig era. Based that day’s gross, Skyfall made little more than Solace’s opening day gross, and by the end of the weekend, I wish it had made less than its predecessor’s opening weekend gross, but Johnny Depp is right about us Americans as we are SOOO stupid. Daniel Craig ended up getting his three times a charm Bond movie (or his The Spy Who Loved Me, whatever you want to call it). Yes, Skyfall beat Quantum of Solace’s US opening weekend gross with $88 million, and that meant it will be listed in 2012’s top grossing films both worldwide and US. At the end of the day, EON have won. The Empire have won. The Rebels have lost. And Luke Skywalker probably fell to the dark side of the Force.

A week later, the real competition began as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (the conclusion to the Twilight series) was released in theaters with a gross of $141 million in the US. Sadly, Skyfall regained the #1 spot in the US during its fifth weekend after being beaten by the Twilight finale for three weeks as well as gaining the upper hand again in the US by overpowering the Twilight finale’s domestic numbers (which was above SF’s US numbers for its first month or two).
None of the non-Bond blockbusters released during 2012’s holiday season were able to curb the success of Craig’s three times a charm Bond. To add further insult - The Hobbit: An Expected Journey failed to surpass Skyfall’s opening weekend, and **not even the 3D and IMAX formats were able to help Thorin and Company to defeat Craig's Bond. OK…..there is not one word in the dictionary to describe how insulting this really is in the name of pop culture. The Hobbit has been around for 77 years and was a big name in the history of pop culture long before James Bond entered the public scene. How the image of Craig’s mug as Bond was able to beat iconic fantasy figures like Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf I do not understand. At the end of Skyfall’s theatrical run, it made $1.1 billion worldwide and $304 million in the US. And that’s more than either the Twilight finale’s and even The Hobbit’s gross. If you think that’s bad, The Dark Knight Rises was also beaten by Craig’s third virus in terms of worldwide numbers. Based on this record breaking along with positive reviews, it would mean numerous awards nominations, including those in the US.
My fears were confirmed. The nonsensical praise and success infected the American movie awards system, not just those of the British and the other international territories around the world. The Golden Globes, the Oscars, the SAG Awards, the MTV Movie Awards……you name them. Heck, even the Teen Choice Awards were being infected. Craig’s Bond popular with teens? Give me a break. You don’t see CR and QOS getting nominated by these said awards as though these films were forgotten in the US, and I was hoping the same for SF but NO!!!
A Daniel Craig Bond movie got 5 Oscar nominations (2 wins) while none of Pierce’s got any, not even in the technical category. Does that sound fair? A desecrated modern day Bond gets recognized the Oscars and the last classic Bond does not. If Babs wanted to hire those Oscar nominees and talents for the Skyfall production why couldn't she do it when Pierce was Bond? It does seem as if Brosnan got a raw deal during his run.
Based on the nonsensical success and recognition of SF and especially the way Pierce was treated, you might as well cast anybody as James Bond now. According to the Pro-Craig hordes, looks don’t count and it doesn’t matter who plays him. Furthermore, one of these guys said that it’s the Bond brand that sells, not the actor playing him. If a Craig Bond movie can make billions at the box office and win Oscars then why not a Bond movie starring Sheamus or Wade Barrett from WWE or perhaps the likes of Marty Feldman (in terms of unattractiveness)? Heck, you might as well hire The Blue Man Group as the next James Bond.
If you’re an Anti-Craig rebel and you want the traditional classic tall and suave dark-haired James Bond (that we know and grew up with from Sean to Pierce) to return, forget it. James Bond is not for us anymore. He’s not coming back, and it’s better that he doesn’t. If you’re rooting for the tall and dark-haired Bond to return, the only way it could work is removing Babs from her position; unfortunately, she will not give up her power over the franchise she had the luck to inherit. But if you still think Babs should stay or just don’t care that she should when the classic tall and dark-haired Bond actor returns, then you are a Pro-Craig minion no matter what. Why? Thinking like this would mean you have already admitted defeat, and Pierce’s unfair dismissal would have been all for nothing.

Let’s face it. James Bond is dead. In fact, he’s worse than dead. He’s a zombie on steroids now, and he's VERY, VERY, VERY hungry in devouring the minds of the general public. Let me ask you this: would you contain a zombie (if it does exist in real life) in hopes that it can be cured? No, you can’t contain a zombie, and there’s no cure for a zombie. What if someone frees the creature by accident?** Now comes to this question: can you save James Bond for us fans of the old series by just bringing back a classic Bond actor after Craig retires? No. You can’t save Bond that way since Craig’s Bond legacy will be in minds of the general audience (especially in the US) due to the perplexing success of Skyfall. Not only that, Craig’s Bonds (especially SF) will be used as model and inspiration for future classics or other great films. Does that really sound unfair to Pierce? But if it does sound fair, then there’s no place for the tall and dark-haired Bond anymore. Now let me ask you another question. If you’re not a fan of a reboot Bond, would you want a tall and dark-haired classic Bond (speaking of the 7th Bond) to exist in the same universe as Craig’s Bond? I wouldn’t. Also, if you’re an Anti-Craig rebel, wouldn’t you want Craig’s Bond to be forgotten? The thing is that the general public will probably never separate Craig’s Bond from the original 5 Bonds.
The only way Craig’s Bond would be separated from the original 5 Bonds is if Craig’s successor as Bond is someone who is either in same league as Craig (as in lacking the classic looks as we expect in the Bond character) or looks even less like Bond than Craig is. Because of the way she treated Pierce (the modern day classic Bond who represented the younger generation after the Cold War ended), perhaps Babs should cast a UFC fighter/WWE wrestler who can act (as long as he’s a Brit) or someone who is unattractive (like Feldman as said earlier) while using the same tactics that made SF a success. As said by one of the users from the Classic Bond forum, anything goes. Backing it up, anyone can be Bond.
By using this approach, Craig’s Bond will be separated from the original 5 in long run, and overtime, the Bond franchise will tear itself apart. That’s when we’ll get the classic Bond back, and yes, it will be a very long time when it happens. I don’t know about you, but it would be a fair game if Craig himself shares the blame with his fellow unconventional Bond successors for desecrating the Bond image. Besides, just imagine if the 7th Bond looks less Bond than Craig is yet ends up being the best Bond ever or the best Bond since Sean. This is what we need.

For the 7th Bond to be tall and dark-haired like the original 5, a new cast and crew is needed. Think Batman Begins and 2009’s Star Trek, for example, as both reboots consisted of new people (though Leonard Nimoy reprised his iconic role in the latter as a result of a time travel story). Plus, a 2nd Bond reboot is needed but without the origin story; a very good example of this is 2009’s Sherlock Holmes though technically it is not a reboot since there are so many versions of Sherlock.
We don’t need James Bond for escapism and there are always better things out there than Bond these days. George Lucas knew it. Steven Spielberg knew it. Heck even Pierce knows it as well. We got the upcoming films Mission: Impossible V, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film adaptation and Kingsmen: The Secret Service (based on the Secret Service comic book), and that’s the closest thing we have to a classic Bond. But if you really want the traditional classic Bond actor to return that badly, then consider November Man starring Pierce Brosnan which is now out in theaters. No, it’s not James Bond, but it marks the return of Pierce in the genre that we haven’t seen him in almost a decade, and it’s good that it’s not Bond since it will expand his reputation as an actor, especially in the action genre.
We're no longer dealing with the War of the Franchises as Craig's Bond has found his way to infect the general public even further, and not even a rival spy film franchises like Mission: Impossible will be able to beat a fully corrupted James Bond. We're now dealing with World War Z. We may have lost the battle in November 2012, but we haven't lost the war yet. The only way to win is, like I mentioned earlier, to take advantage of EON's victory by feeding them with the idea that anybody or anything can be a successful Bond and making billions (much like Craig did with Skyfall) as long as he can act, and overtime, EON will tear itself apart. It's kind of like luring zombies to a place to find their "dinner" but ended falling into a trap without even knowing it. For a time being, we can still use alternative spy films (especially Pierce's November Man) as our refuge against the global pandemic.

- Dan


c 2014 Alternative 007

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