007-Q = ???

It was announced the other day that the next James Bond flick will be a reinvention of sorts for the franchise. Not only will we see a younger Bond (around 28 years young), but there will be no Q and no funky gadgets.

While I applaud the effort, I have to wonder what prompted all this. I’m sure that the producers of the series were weighing Pierce Brosnan’s age when they made the decision. I’m sure none of us is eager to witness another flabby, gray-haired Bond lurch his way across the screen, a la View to a Kill or Never Say Never Again. But at a young-looking 52, Brosnan isn’t quite pushing the edge of the credibility envelope like Sean Connery and Roger Moore were at the end of their runs.

I’ve read others commenting that the Bond producers might be feeling that the series now looks stale when compared to much slicker, cerebral spy thrillers like the two Jason Bourne movies. But the thing is, the last James Bond movie (Die Another Day) managed a very respectable $160 million domestically, by far the highest take of any of the Brosnan 007 films. While The Bourne Supremacy did beat that figure by about 10 mil, 007 is hardly dying on the vine.

Perhaps they’re looking at the next movie as a chance to reinvent James Bond like Batman Begins did for its respective character. That movie is easily the best of the series, and injected new creative and commercial life into a series that had been killed and cannibalized by the previous Joel Schumacher cheese-fests. Part of that Batman Begins’ success was an emphasis on the psychological aspects of Bruce Wayne and Batman, and less reliance on what Jack Nicholson’s Joker called “those wonderful toys.” Would the same approach work for Bond? I’m not so sure.

I’ll tell you this much, I know I lost interest in Bond years ago. I’m sure the Brosnan movies are great, but I’ve not seen one of them. How many times can you watch the same formula? Based on box office numbers, apparently a lot of people can. Stripping the character down to his core may satisfy people like me, but I already know I’m in the minority. I know this at least – I’m more curious about the next James Bond movie than I was in the last half dozen or so.

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