In 1985 I went to the cinema to watch A View to a Kill. It was one of the worst films that I had ever seen. And on further reflection I realised that it had been years since I had enjoyed watching a James Bond film. I decided to stop wasting my time and stopped going to see Bond films.
For over twenty years I didn’t see another Bond film. I only relaxed my self-imposed rule when Daniel Craig started playing Bond. Craig is an actor that I have a lot of respect for so I watched Casino Royale (on DVD obviously – didn’t want to waste my money going to the cinema). It was, of course, better than A View to a Kill (that’s not exactly difficult) but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as everyone else was telling me. I’d still far rather watch the Peter Sellers version.
Thinking about it further, I think my problem is that the recent Bond films (where ‘recent’ means ‘made in the last thirty years’) bear little or no resemblance to the books. And I was a big fan of the Bond books when I was growing up. Films never accurately reflect the books they are based on, but from The Spy Who Loved Me onwards, the films take nothing from the books other than the title and a few character names.
Therefore it’s interesting that the title of the next Bond film has just been announced as Quantum of Solace. This is the title of a short story (from the collection For Your Eyes Only). Bond is really only a minor character in the story and there’s no action in the story at all. It’s one of my favourite Bond stories but a film based on it would be nothing like the other films in the series so there’s no chance that the plot will have any connection with the original story. Which is, in my opinion, a terrible shame and I’m very unlikely to go and see the film.
I still have a small hope that someone will someday make a new series of Bond films that use the plots from the books, but I’m aware that economics make that unlikely.
But I recommend that you all get hold of a copy of For Your Eyes Only and read Quantum of Solace before you see the film. You can then join me in bemoaning what could have been.
You’ll also be able to read the original stories of what will most likely be the titles of the following two Bond films – The Hildebrand Rarity and Risico. You read the rumour here first.