No Time To Die: The Conflict of Bond, Not Really Bond

No Time To Die: The Conflict of Bond, Not Really Bond

Too many words have been spent on articles explaining that James Bond owes his longevity to a kind of blank-slate cross-gender appeal. He isn’t a three-dimensional human so much as a conduit. Men (and women!) want to be James Bond. Others want to watch someone look that good in a tuxedo or blue terrycloth jumper. In terms of the character’s psychological depth, we’d spent as much time ordering martinis at McDonalds as we did considering if James Bond had a Rosebud. No Time to Die, like its predecessor, provides the viewer with Ikea instructions and an Allen wrench in hopes you’ll piece together a Rosebud on your own.

Daniel Craig, No Time to Die

A grizzled Daniel Craig recalls his aborted childhood, sledding down hills and frolicking in deep focus.

So, Who is James Bond Then?

He’s quick with a pun, drinks to excess (without visible inebriation), woos women with a raised eyebrow/steely glare/Cro-Magnon sex appeal, and dutifully serves Queen and country. He’s worn many different faces and demeanors, but his superficial characteristics and the series’ consistent stylistic choices have bridged gaps between actors and filmmaking eras. And every so often, Bond experiences or lingers on personal trauma.

Bond falls in love, gets married, and his wife, Tracy Bond (née di Vinenzo), dies in under 140 minutes in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Bond visits Tracy’s grave in For Your Eyes Only (1981). If you’re feeling generous, you could even count the subtle overtures made about marriage in Licence to Kill (1989) and The World is Not Enough (1999). Bond never felt the burden of connectivity – even when it might have benefitted the storyline. For worse – but mostly better. Mistakes get swept under the rug or dropped down smokestacks, like terrible villains.

Bond places flowers For Your Eyes Only

The extendtof Bond’s character development during the Moore years in one image. Moments later we’re dropping Blofeld down a smokestack before the title sequence rolls. Craig took almost six hours to do these very same things.

In most every movie, Bond received a mission, carried out that mission, and got the girl. Our interests lied not in whether he’d do all those things, but how. We went to the cinemas for pure escapism, unburdened by emotional baggage. We loved that structure. We loved how the Bond series played with routine.

Skyfall Suggested We Cared More About Subversion

During the Craig era, EON decided that we’d had enough fun and frolic and instead needed steamer trunks filled with ennui and disillusionment. No Time to Die perpetuates the same issues that plagued Spectre in 2015, which makes this whole conversation feel like a bad case of déjà vu. No Time to Die wants to be fun, but this character called “James Bond” can let go of his shiny new 21st-century past.

Bond visits Vesper's grave in No Time to Die

The epitaph reads: “Fun in Bond Movies / 1962-2012”

From the earliest scenes, a sense of mortality hangs around the picture’s neck like a noose. Bond takes Madeline on an Italian holiday as Hans Zimmer reimagines On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’s “All the Time in the World” – and Bond even shoehorns Lazenby’s famous final line into their idle drive-time conversation. Madeline encourages Bond to visit Vesper Lynd’s grave (shades of Bond visiting Tracy’s grave in FYEO). She wants him to put Vesper in the past so they can move forward.

No Time to Die Takes Plenty of Time to Mourn, Though

No Time to Die grounds itself in these opening moments as a spiritual descendant of OHMSS, a movie that ended with a moment of tragedy after two hours of fun adventures like skiing, curling, bobsledding, and safecracking while reading Playboy. No Time to Die wallows in moodiness for most of its 163 minutes. And that’s a problem Cary Joji Fukunaga and his screenwriting committee (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge) can’t overcome with the relief of a few clever action sequences and quippy asides. They’ve worked a bad pun or two into this script, but they’re obligatory appeasements. I laughed because I was desperate for levity.

Rami Malek's Safin, No Time to Die

Oh look — a scarred villain with a backstory conveniently tied into everyone’s business.

Around the scant humor, we’re besieged by speechifying like “James Bond. License to Kill. History of violence. I could be speaking to my own reflection. Only your skills die with your body. Mine will survive long after I’m gone.” James, Madeline, Safin, M, and even Blofeld take turns grabbing the spotlight to perform an off-Broadway performance of Death of a Salesman. Top it off with the usual Craig-era oratories from the top down about an ephemeral, amorphous, non-descript evil that can’t be hunted and killed like those olden days of espionage when you could look your adversary in the eye.

Except, inevitably, Bond does indeed meet the vaporous villain face to face and dispatches him. Just like the olden days. So let’s stop wasting time telling me about inescapable evil and instead work on actually establishing the evil.

So Aren’t We Still Playing the Game in No Time to Die?

Maybe. If we found time for pleasantries like golf, baccarat, idle drinking and just being James Bond. Bond was never found in action beats. The script delivers dozens of referential nods towards the past without delivering much of the stuff that defined the character in the first place.

I noted Dr. No, Thunderball, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service imagery (among others) in the title sequence. The portrait for a pre-Craigers M, Robert Brown, conspicuously hangs on an MI-6 gallery wall. The use of “We Have all the Time in the World” in music and dialogue. An almost obligatory, eleventh-hour Q-branch gadget. Bond kicking the car down on Billy Magnussen’s double agent echoed Moore’s famous cold-blooded kill of Locque in For Your Eyes Only. A litany of book references for the hardcore Fleming-heads. The multi-movie connections and broad, villainous arcs, meanwhile, take their cues from the sprawling “everything is connected” branding of the Marvel universe.

Action Craig in No Time to Die

Daniel Craig in Maze Runner, I mean No Time to Die.

No Time to Die dispenses with any attention to international spycraft, once again turning inward on Bond and his personal connections and misery. This makes for a competent Hollywood-crafted action serial, but a lackluster Bond film. Skyfall and No Time to Die suffer from these same afflictions. The latter’s worse off, however, because it’s saddled with the tentacles of Spectre’s facile cliffhangers.

But the Stories

At the end of No Time to Die, Madeline tells her daughter “I’m going to tell you a story about a man. His name was Bond. James Bond,” which is supposed to tug our heartstrings and put the “Bond. James Bond” introduction in the mouth of the (other) woman who loved him. This falls short of its intended emotional resonance.

This James Bond doesn’t really have stories. This James Bond retires more times than he’s reluctantly saved the world. He’s irresponsibly chased personal vendettas to the detriment of those around him and his country’s security. Courtesy of the multi-movie narrative arc – whereby QUANTUM was the little fish eaten by SPECTRE, and SPECTRE was the bigger fish eaten by some arb with a plant fetish. No Time to Die has, to recycle my old argument against SPECTRE, neutered the series’ Big Bad.

Christoph Waltz as Blofeld in No Time to Die

Your new informant awaits, Clarice.

If we are to give Spectre even an unwarranted ounce of credit for establishing SPECTRE as a nefarious international criminal organization bent on world domination or some such megalomania, No Time to Die erases it. The Bond producers forced SPECTRE and Blofeld into Spectre, assuming the audience’s nostalgia would fill in the part about the organization being James Bond’s long-time nemesis without establishment. One movie later, Safin cleans house. No more Blofeld. No more SPECTRE. These aren’t supervillains—they’re merely roadkill that Bond further flattens with his Aston Martin on his way to retire again.

Overwrought super-seriousness aside, Cary Joji Fukunaga displays a good sense of how a Bond movie should look and feel. Tonal and scriptural issues aside, No Time to Die is a glossy, competent action film. If it didn’t have to deal with Spectre’s matzoh balls, it might have even been a great Bond movie.

Cue the Bond theme and make this walk really sizzle.

Who Stopped No Time To Die Short?

No Time to Die’s shortcomings rest on the shoulders of the producers. The Bond team takes its cues from the top down. The burden lies with the creative decision makers who did not bring David Arnold back, who gave Sam Mendes two movies, who continued to employ Purvis and Wade as primary screenwriters despite the labored repetition of the rogue, retire, repeat cycle of the Craig era.

Hans Zimmer’s mediocre score, like the Newman scores for Skyfall and Spectre, once again resists (recoils against?) the use of the Bond theme in high-leverage sequences. Instead, Zimmer reserves the needle drop for Bond walking across the street into MI-6. I love idle-time swagger, but that can’t be your singular “James Bond” moment. Elsewhere, the score teases with Johnny-Marr-forward guitar, before abandoning the building momentum.

Martinis, Ana de Armas, competing MI6 and CIA operatives, remote-control eyeballs, and Zimmer doing David Arnold — the Cuba scenes in No Time to Die suggested the kind of movie we could have had.

When Zimmer embraces the Barry and Arnold traditions, the score rises from its slumber. The “Cuba Chase,” for example, which scores arguably the best individual scene in any of the Craig-era Bond films, contrasts Cuban strings and horns with heavy, brooding brass, perfectly setting the mood for the action on screen. No scene better represents the potential of a No Time to Die unburdened by the past. This was old Bond in a new era, a deliriously enjoyable blend of humor and action, propelled by new talent (Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch) and mixed with Bond being Bond. 007 stumbles into a situation for which he wasn’t fully prepared and survives with a little luck, a little moxie, and a little help from his friends.

If the rest of No Time To Die had been half as concerned with creating this kind of energy and forward momentum, I’d have been more forgiving about its individual shortcomings. Instead, we’re left to wrestle with the internal conflict created by an overlong, semi-entertaining film that chose to conclude the Craig-era by nuking it all from orbit.

And after Spectre and No Time to Die, I’d be lying if I didn’t wholehearted support it. Ironically, it might be the only way to be sure that the real James Bond will actually return.


James Bond Will Return.

(Dr.) No Time To Die Another Day With a View to a Licence to Kill

(Dr.) No Time To Die Another Day With a View to a Licence to Kill

The James Bond Twitter account officially (and finally) threw us a bone(r). The title for the next James Bond movie will be…. [drum roll] …NO TIME TO DIE.

Oh, I’m sorry. I noticed you nodded off during my title recitation. I’ll try that one more time.


You did it again. You fell asleep. One more time. Real quick.


Indeed. The Bond producers summoned the powers of the Bond name generator and came up with a title so prosaic that nobody could possibly argue. I’ve come to the conclusion that the #Bond25 codename “Shatterhand” announcement was just an informal crowdsourcing. Based on the Internet’s violent reaction, they popped their heads back in their hole like Punxsutawny Phil and regrouped until the end of Winter. I’ll say it again — “Shatterhand” is no more bizarre than Goldfinger — but because the hive mind doesn’t recognize it as something with origins in an actual Fleming text they went to grab their pitchforks at first sight.

My first reaction to NO TIME TO DIE was complacency. There’s no real room to argue because it’s just not worth the effort. It’s a name designed to sound exactly like six other James Bond movies and instill confidence through familiarity. So familiar in fact that I felt I’d been there before. It wasn’t until author Mark O’Connell Tweeted this nugget that I understood why.

While Mark lauds the Bond-extended source of the title, I’m not convinced that it makes it sound any more compelling. NO TIME TO DIE hangs there limply, referential or not.

I’ve already read a dozen thinkpieces about what the title might mean. All I can say about that is stop. There’s nothing here to analyze. There’s no overt connections to Spectre. Take a breath and count to ten. Shatterhand had all the connotations. If you want to analyze something start there. Unless you’re feeling like the “NO” in NO TIME TO DIE has to do with a certain Dr. and then I’d say you might probably be on to something… it is set in Jamaica after all. That places us in the realm of titles featuring puns and, well… I don’t feel like commenting on that potentiality.

james bond in no time to die

I’m not passing judgment on the film based on a title. I’m not delusional. As we dissect the trickle of information coming out of the EON camp as we await the 2020 release of the 25th Bond film, however, every small piece of news contributes to a bigger picture. It’s still hazy, but I’m not overly optimistic that EON has committed to creating rather merely responding to what they think the broadest marketplace wants. That doesn’t guarantee box office dollars. It almost certainly guarantees a lack of creativity.

Every long-tenured Bond (Dalton and Lazenby excluded) has started by daring to reinvigorate the formula before devolving into paint-by-numbers and/or self-parody. Looking at the Craig era from the inside out, I’m getting the sense that we’re re-living the end of the Brosnan years in all the worst ways. After a strong sequence of films, each faced a final film to define the generation.

Consider how differently we’d feel about Brosnan’s Bond if Die Another Day had been a successful film. After we learned about the creative upheavals and cavalcade of writers on Bond 25, how confident were you? Now that we’ve got the title — NO TIME TO DIE — a phlegmatic title that emanates with the banal stink of Die Another Day, how are you feeling?

no time to die cary fukunaga

Daniel Craig and Cary Fukunaga on the set of NO TIME TO DIE.

It all depends on how much faith you put in Cary Fukunaga. That’s the one concrete plus. But then again — Lee Tamahori once carried that same type of outsider cache. No one could have anticipated that the filmmaker responsible for Once Were Warriors (1994) would produce the fever dream that is Die Another Day.

#Bond25 Update: Codenamed “Shatterhand”

#Bond25 Update: Codenamed “Shatterhand”

We learned an interesting tidbit about the soon-to-be-in-production Bond 25 this morning. Shooting begins on April 6th at Pinewood Studios under the working title “Shatterhand.”

shatterhand bond 25

Seeing as how “Shatterhand” serves as Ernst Stavro Blofeld alias in Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice novel, we can derive a few choice tidbits from this small piece of information. But first let’s rewind to talk about the goings on since my last dispatch about the long overdue Bond 25 production.

scott z burns 007

Bourne Ultimatum screenwriter Scott Z Burns has been added to the team of wordsmiths with their hand in the Bond 25 pot. Burns has been brought on, reportedly, for a rewrite on the drafts by Purvis and Wade and Haggis and maybe even Mr. Magoo, who, though uncredited, must have had a hand in crafting the perfectly sensible Spectre plot. Burns has garnered a reputation as being one of the go-to screenwriting doctors in Hollywood.

A number of sources have suggested that Burns’ involvement involves more than a polish, and we shouldn’t be surprised if he receives top billing when all is said and done. He’s done uncredited emergency surgery on films such as The Bourne Supremacy, Widows and Star Wars: Rogue One. I love the fact that EON has brought in fresh blood to “overhaul” the Bond 25 script.

shatterhand bond 25

And now what “Shatterhand” tells us about the potential direction of Bond 25.

BLOFELD IS BACK. Seeing as how the term comes from the Blofeld alias, we’re all but assured of a re-emergence of the Blofeld character. As of today, however, Christoph Waltz was still out — so the production will be returning to the amorphous Blofeld appearance which Fleming made a prominent component in his novels. The Bond films primarily made use of this element because of casting convenience. EON will once again return to the rotating Blofeld theory as a means to start fresh after Spectre, but only a little fresh.

shatterhand bond 25 (waltz not included)

GARDEN OF DEATH? In the novel You Only Live Twice, James Bond mourns the death of Tracy by retreating into an alcoholic stupor, in order to revive the slagging career of the agent, M sends him to Japan on a cupcake diplomatic mission. While in Japan, the head of the Japanese Secret Service (Tiger Tanaka) challenges Bond to assassinate a Swiss botanist by the name of Dr. Guntram Shatterhand who has been employing a garden of death to facilitate a rash of suicides by Japanese citizens. Shatterhand is, of course, the refashioned Blofeld, having undergone another physical transformation. I’ve said from the first moment EON announced the return of Blofeld that the only reason to see this character in a Bond movie again would be to film the unused portions of You Only Live Twice, i.e. the Garden of Death.

shatterhand bond 25 - garden of death

AVENGING THE DEATH OF TRACY MADELEINE. Tracy can’t be Tracy, but Tracy could be Madeleine and the last thing that Bond needs is another dead woman to avenge. Listen — we’ve seen this before. And better. Madeleine Swann pales in comparison to Vesper. Does anyone believe that Bond fell madly, deeply, truly in love with Madeleine in Spectre? Purely a contrivance to service a poorly constructed narrative. Spectre didn’t earn yet another revenge plot a la Vesper or Tracy.

I’m skeptical, too, Madeleine.

007hertzrumble’s “Shatterhand” Commentary

The Internet is already on fire because “Shatterhand” is “ridiculous” (the Daily Mail) and a “face-palm” (The Guardian). First point, before we go any further down this road. IT’S A WORKING TITLE BECAUSE IT’S NOT OFFICIAL. The working title for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 was “How the Solar System Was Won” for goodness sakes. It might be “Shatterhand;” it might not be “Shatterhand.” I for one hope “Shatterhand” turns out to be legitimate, because LIGHTEN UP, EVERYONE.

Since when did James Bond fans turn into such dour goddamn stick-in-the-muds? Line up “Shatterhand” with Goldfinger and Thunderball and it doesn’t seem out of place at all. Daniel Craig’s been a game player in this saga, but the series has lost one of its earliest and most vital components — a sense of humor. Calling your movie “Shatterhand” suggests some of that devil-may-care whimsy we’ve been missing in the Craig era — and you’d need it if you’re going to dare showcase a Garden of Death. Just because Cragiers fell on a couch in the opening sequence of Spectre doesn’t mean it actually attempted a sustained undercurrent of humor. It wasn’t there — and it hasn’t been there since Vesper died. If EON dropped the name GOLDFINGER on you tomorrow for the first time, it would be tarred, feathered, roasted and thrown in the garbage heap of Internet memes by lunchtime. “Fans” don’t know what they want, but at least they’re predictable in that they’ll hate everything.

Regarding the suggestiveness of “Shatterhand,” I’m conflicted. In order to finally witness the Death Garden on screen, the filmmakers likely will continue threads initiated in Spectre. We risk Madeleine being an ersatz Tracy Bond and dying so that we might experience yet another bit of Craig-brand “revenge.” Craig would be best served by progressing in a fashion reminiscent of the old days. When something didn’t fly with fans, EON moved on without looking back — for better or worse. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service didn’t play well with 1969 audiences, so when EON followed that up with Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 it proceeded as if it never happened at all. Proceed as if Spectre didn’t happen. Liberate your creative forces to do what they do best. Create, without being tethered to the past. And call it “Shatterhand” — because WHY NOT? I’m looking forward to a bit of color back in my Bond.

Also, has there ever been a title song more perfect for Arctic Monkeys’ self-aware lounge swagger?

Sepia, anyone?

Previous Bond 25 updates: Danny Boyle, Cary-less Whispers



Bond 25 Updates and Careless Whispers

Bond 25 Updates and Careless Whispers

I’m bored, Bond fans. I’m also tired of being disappointed. I owe that feeling to the lingering stale acidity left in my mouth after Spectre — it’s like I sucked on a lemon three years ago and haven’t brushed my teeth. And you’re yelling back at me things about oral hygiene, but it’s a metaphor and dental health doesn’t matter in metaphors.

By now the #Bond_age_ team should have worked up at least three new podcasts dissecting teaser trailers and posters and casting decisions. Instead we’re on total radio silence because other than some names and scattered casting notions, we’ve got as much information as Blofeld has scruples.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, let’s rundown what we know, what we’re guessing, and what I hope for Bond 25.

james bond 25 daniel craig

What We Know About Bond 25

Before we talk about anything, I’d like to make it clear that Daniel Craig is back. As I said he would be. (Not to brag, but…) So please stop recasting him. For now. Bond 25 comes out February 14th, 2020. After that, we’ll talk.

We know that Danny Boyle was directing a script written by Danny Boyle and Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge and now he’s not. The EON team cited “creative differences” as the reason for his departure. That means that Boyle wanted to do something different (as he’s want to do) and the Bond institution (the Bondstitution?) said no. This leaves me desperately wanting to know what the hell Danny Boyle had in mind — and how the hell we can see his vision become a reality? An easter egg on the Bond 25 Blu-ray? Lego movie version? Dinner theater?


We also know that some of the ideas from Boyle’s and Hodge’s script made their way into the current iteration that’s being rewritten by — you guessed it — Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the scribes who’ve tackled every Bond movie since The World is Not Enough. And while they were been behind the typewriters for Casino Royale, they’ve also been responsible for Die Another Day and Spectre. We can’t read too much into their return other than the fact that EON wants to maintain the status quo — a fact we already knew before they ousted Danny Boyle because the only thing more frightening than “change” in the Bond universe is that Jinx spinoff that never materialized.

But now about the directors — which represents the most definitive fact of all the new facts other than “James Bond will return…” Cary Joji Fukunaga has replaced Danny Boyle. Cary Fukunaga might not be a cinephile’s first choice as his most notable work has been done in the realm of TV — most notably True Detective Season 1 and Maniac. He also directed the film Beasts of No Nation about a child fighting in a fictional civil war-torn African country. (No. I haven’t seen it.) The buzz on the Interwebs loves this choice because of Fukunaga’s status as an important up-and-coming cinematic voice. Many have called it a bold direction for the 57-year-old franchise.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9881578ak). Britain Maniac World Premiere, London, United Kingdom – 13 Sep 2018

#Bond_age_ Hot Take: Eh. Based on the limited amount of theatrical work we’ve seen from Cary Fukunaga, I can only generalize. I’m excited because he’s shown a broad range of tonal styles from Jane Eyre to Maniac, but I’m not at all confident he’s going to be given the opportunity to break from the Mendes cycle that dinged Skyfall and castrated Spectre. Once upon a time I felt similar enthusiasm for a director named Lee Tamahori. We won’t get Die Another Day out of Fukunaga, but honestly I wouldn’t be opposed to something in that general direction because it would at least mean that someone’s trying to have fun with this series again.

What We’re Guessing

The reported casting calls for Bond 25 has also shed some light (a nightlight at best) on EON’s aspirations. A call for a charismatic/vindictive Russian/Balkan leading man and leading lady with “strong physical combat skills” (also Balkan). I also read at some point that they were seeking a Maori actor with “combat skills.” It sounds like Babs (aka Barbara Broccoli) has been reading current events and watching Moana and in between bites of Fritos synthesized the two.

Maui’s open to new opportunities.

Back in June, a rumor surfaced that Bond producers wanted Helena Bonham Carter to play the lead baddie. I haven’t heard anything since then to deny or corroborate that bit of news. True or false, that sounds delicious to me and would be the first female lead villain since Sophie Marceau in The World is Not Enough (1999).

Helena Bonham Carter isn't just a rumor. She's the best rumor because we have so little.

We expect the tonal consistency of the Craig era to continue to its logical terminus. Fukunaga has shown a light touch within darker material, however. He’s also said that his first Bond was Roger Moore in A View to a Kill — and he refused to pick a favorite Bond actor because “every single one of them has brought their thing to it and its nice to have that difference…” Keep saying the right things, CJF.

I’m also assuming David Arnold comes back to write the score now that Mendes and his boy wonder Newman have left Gotham — I mean Bondtown — for good.

What else can we assume? Well, we can assume that eventually we’ll get a name, a trailer and a teaser poster. We can assume that people will play roles and that drinks will be had and cars will be driven.


What I Want in Bond 25 (Run-On Edition)

I want every trace of Spectre gone and I never want to see Blofeld again. He can be a villain but I want an arm or maybe a leg. A hairy cat, but I want his visage off my screen. I want Arctic Monkeys to do the theme song because that might actually be fun. Have you listened to their new record? It oozes smug like the coldest of martinis and “Four Out of Five” is basically already a Bond song. I want Bond to make bad puns and gamble and match wits with bad guys. Another female villain would be great. I still say that Monica Bellucci should have been the real Blofeld and that would have made all the difference. I would like a Bond movie with some color. Do you remember how vibrant Goldfinger and Thunderball were? You could feel the blue of Bond’s poolside romper. Raise your hand if you remember any color in Spectre? Even Madeleine’s dress looked overexposed. I want Bond to be a cocky bastard and stop with the tired middie-aged introspection that started in Skyfall (because if Bond can’t survive his midlife crisis what hope is there for the rest of us?!?) and go on an actual goddamn MI6 mission handed to him by an M who sits at his desk and makes snide remarks about Bond’s carelessness. HE WILL NOT GO ROGUE. HE WILL BE IN CONSTANT CONTACT WITH HIS SUPERIORS. HE WILL ENJOY BEING HIMSELF. WE WILL ENJOY BOND. BOND NEEDS TO BE BOND AGAIN.

Thank you. Now let’s have the Arctic Monkeys play us out.

Bond 25 News: Danny Boyle tabbed to direct?

Bond 25 News: Danny Boyle tabbed to direct?

In what must certainly be considered the best news to come out of the Bond camp since the Daniel Craig sported a black tactleneck a Spectre teaser, Danny Boyle has confessed to signing on as director for the next James Bond film. Since this is a page about James Bond, we here at #Bond_age_ feel obligated to share our enthusiasm.

We try not to get too worked up about these early nuggets of news, but since we’ve been sweating out the Christopher Nolan rumors, Danny Boyle’s confirmation turned the #Bond_age_ HQ into a Bacchanalian scene of euphoria last night. This is why you, too, should be excited.

danny boyle bond 25

Danny Boyle on the Trainspotting 2 press tour.

Danny Boyle’s a chameleon. The best Bond directors do not insert themselves or their agenda into James Bond. I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that could pinpoint Boyle’s directorial aesthetic. While that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it’s far from it. Some of the same things could have been said about Stanley Kubrick and he turned out alright. To distill this into neat #Bond_age_  reductionism, Boyle is a more talented Martin Campbell. He’s also rather eccentric in his film choices. He’s directed existential sci-fi (Sunshine), horror (28 Days Later), black-as-night humor (Shallow Grave), and some Bollywood (Slumdog Millionaire). Some have called him erratic, but I’d prefer to call him whimsical. Bond’s a different story. The genre’s already in place. He just has to do what he does best.

Boyle’s way with actors and characters in his films most excites me about his Bond potential. I’ve been beating this dead horse for years, but the best James Bond movies give 007 time and space to be James Bond — to drink, to gamble, to woo, to adjust his tie without anywhere particular to be. If it’s also true that Boyle is working on a script with his Trainspotting co-screenwriter John Hodge, this could be the best of all worlds. A character-fueled director working with the writer responsible for arguably his best film.

Also, allow me to remind you (in case it’d slipped your mind) that this wouldn’t be Danny Boyle’s first Bond adventure.


One more tidbit that should be of foremost concern for any James Bond fan heading into Bond 25 — what of David Arnold? Arnold scored every Bond film from Tomorrow Never Dies through Quantum of Solace when Sam Mendes discharged him in favor of his own personal composer, [Jerry Seinfeld]NEWMAN![/Jerry Seinfeld] — thus representing Sam Mendes’ greatest crime against humanity. So. Do you know who wrote the score for that little Danny Boyle helmed Bond short film? That’s goddamn right. David Arnold.

If David Arnold’s back (and I think we can fully expect it), that’s already the best gift Danny Boyle could have given us 20 months before the curtain drops on Bond 25.

Since this all came from the mouth of Boyle, we’ll have to wait for EON’s official confirmation. In the meantime, I’m more than happy to take Danny Boyle at his word. Because it’s the only news upon which we can hang our hats.

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