November 28, 2006

Ah Mr. Brand...We've Been Expecting You.

I watched Casino Royale over the weekend and whilst I enjoyed the film immensely (and found Daniel Craig a great addition to the pantheon), I couldn't help feel that it wasn't on-brand.

Many of the ingredients we've come to expect of the 007 series were missing and the film played like any other superior action flick of the last few years (think Bourne Identity), with plenty of beautifully choreographed high-speed chases and set-piece battles.

But where was the evil maniac, thirsting for world domination from his fantastic island headquarters? Where were the gadgets? Why deny us the classic 007 music until the very end?

Whilst there appeared to be some effort to take us back to the very beginning, when Bond became Bond, I doubt very much that the franchise would have survived forty years on such conscientious storytelling. So what if Bond had become faintly (or not-so-faintly) ridiculous! So what if its producer Barbara Broccoli felt that "maybe things had got a little too fantastical"!

A great part of the appeal of 007 James Brand lies in that fantasy. Its owners shouldn't be lulled into believing that they can get away with playing all grown-up and earnest with the Bond legacy simply because the drawing-power of the brand continues to fill cinemas worldwide.

If Casino Royale is followed by another in the same vein, then I suspect the brand will find itself on a slippery slope and will require more than a suave, smooth-talking agent with a license to kill to rescue it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. Rule #1 of branding - get creative at your peril!

Emma said...

I haven't seen the film so I am withholding comment until I do.

I do have this to say though: Barbara BROCCOLI? Really?

whinger said...

My Dear Mr. Tannam, having seen the movie on Saturday, I was thrilled - it was brilliant. The real No.1 rule of branding is to remain relevant to the audience.

This is what I believe the makers of the new 007 have done. The Cold war is over - global wipe out is now longer the main threat. Now its all 9/11.

Great the gadgets have been phased out, now its real. Could have done with a couple more babes thou but what a cleaver script.

Alan said...

Haven't seen it yet, so can't comment, BUT - glancing at the big billboard poster from my car prior to launch, I didn't even realise I was looking at a Bond Movie ad. My first though was 'Hey, the guy in that clothes fashion ad is holding a gun, what's that all about?

So read what you like into that reaction.. I'll be back after seeing the movie, hopefully at the cinema.

Jikijela said...

I agree that Mr Bond needs to move with the times. Bond was starting to get dated and a little tired. I liked his edginess and its the first time we've seen him bleed. He is a real person after all. I do hope that we don't lose any of the tongue in cheek humour or any of the gadgets though. I do fear for the PC nature that seems to be creeping in. I liked Bond's view of seeing women as nothing more than passing entertainment. A man can still dream, and the proverbial two fingers to all this metro-sexual stuff...

Jikijela said...

I agree that Bond was in need of a makeover and move with the times. Though I hope we don't lose any of the tongue in cheek humour and gadgets. Where's John Cleese as Q? I do fear that PC is going to dilute Mr Bond's swinging batchelor nature. It would be a sin to see him become metro-sexual or some other new age newtered version of his former self. Men still need to dream...

Kevo said...

I haven't seen this current incarnation yet, so my comments might be off the mark regarding James Blond. I can say, though, that I've always found the gratuitous double-entendres grating and have always wished for a grittier more menacing Bond -like the one in the books. The rot set in very early even with Connery's version. I'm glad that Q is gone too [along with all the ridiculous gadgets and contrived plotlines, I hope!] Another formulaic movie along the lines of, oh, -all the rest -could equally have done for the brand? More blood and guts and nastiness, I say! I agree with Whinger; the children can watch Disney films.