|11-07-2012, 11:21 AM||#26|
Join Date: Jul 2003
LICENCE TO DIRECT
Reviewers for Skyfall give director Sam Mendes a tremendous amount of credit for the quality of the film. It is a reminder that although the franchise is very producer-driven, directors still have the breathing room to leave their mark. So, let's take this moment to look at some of the filmmakers that have left their footprints in the series.
TERENCE YOUNG (DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, and THUNDERBALL)
Terence Young has been credited as the architect of the series. He gave the franchise the look, feel, and style that has lasted 50 years. He is also the one who made Bond a little more... charming. Readers of the Ian Fleming novels are quite aware that Bond is a major snob. To me, he isn't a likable character in the books. And I'm pretty certain that Young agreed since he reinvented him. The Bond that has lasted half-a-century and is beloved around the world is not Fleming's Bond. It is Young's Bond. That is something important to remember. Credit also has to be given for the way he molded Sean Connery. Connery is not a British gentlemen. He's a poor kid from Scotland who grew up in a tough neighborhood. There's nothing Bond in his DNA except how to win a fist fight. The charming and sophisticated Connery you see on the screen is just him following Young's guidance. That's the reason why he gave his best performances in the Young helmed installments. And last but not least, all three of Young's films are CLASSICS. No other Bond director can say that except Martin Campbell. Although Campbell has only directed two movies. He needs a third if he wants to match or surpass him.
GUY HAMILTON (GOLDFINGER, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, LIVE AND LET DIE, and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN)
Guy Hamilton is arguably the most fascinating director in the series. The man directed Goldfinger, the greatest film in the franchise, and then directed three movies that almost everyone dislikes. How did that happen? Well, the answer is simple. Hamilton didn't like the exotic adventurer portrayed in the Terence Young and Peter Hunt films. And he didn't like the fantasy-driven one from Lewis Gilbert's You Only Live Twice either. His Bond was simply a guy on the job. That's why he always marveled in the little things. Like, Bond messing with Goldfinger in a golf match. Or Bond playing games with that lady spying on him in the airplane restroom. Or what about Bond tricking that guard while imprisoned in Goldfinger's Kentucky estate? If you closely analyze all four of Hamilton's movies, it's those little moments where he's having the most fun. Look at Live and Let Die for example. He doesn't introduce Roger Moore in a casino or rescuing a woman at the beach or even in a mission. He has Moore hiding a girl when M abruptly shows up in his house. It's like watching a frigging sitcom. In the case of Goldfinger, I think he simply got lucky because the screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn is incredibly strong. And, Diamonds Are Forever, which I like and defend, is very effective as a comedy. So, basically, Hamilton had a very interesting approach and he created a lot of amusing moments but he didn't always have the best writing team on his side.
LEWIS GILBERT (YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, and MOONRAKER)
It should come as no surprise that Lewis Gilbert is the most successful director in the series. He put the Super in Super Bond. It's easy to look back at his films and poke fun at them, but man, mainstream audiences sure loved them. You Only Live Twice and Moonraker are the 3rd and 4th most successful movies in the series. And, The Spy Who Loved Me, also a success, made Roger Moore a popular Bond and the chief rival to Sean Connery for many years. Love him or hate him, Gilbert is the reason the series has lasted 50 years. The franchise was on life-support after The Man with the Golden Gun. Gilbert resurrected it, made Roger Moore a star, and then delivered one of the Monster Hits in the series. And he did it all by making Bond as big as it could be. His three movies are, without a doubt, the biggest in the series. He gave Blofeld a giant Volcano lair that literally cost $1 million to construct. Stromberg had an underwater hideout that was lid by master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick as a favor to production designer Ken Adams. And who can forget Bond going to outer space? Fans roll their eyes at these things but the public loves it. And not just the public of THEN but the public of NOW as well. GoldenEye is a Gilbert-inspired film. And Skyfall, from what I have read, will have a MAJOR nod to Gilbert in the third act. Next to Terence Young, Gilbert has the biggest directorial footprint in the franchise.
JOHN GLEN (`80s BOND)
You know how every October there's a new Saw or Paranormal Activity film? That's kind of what Bond was like in the `80s. Every two years a new installment was released, fans went to see them, and that's it. Nothing really stands out about Bond in the `80s. It was just business as usual. Directing all the movies was John Glen, who currently holds the record for most Bond films directed, and he did a great juggling act. The movies were never too big but never too small either. There was gadgets but nothing too crazy except for the mini jet in Octopussy. And he managed to transition from Roger Moore to Timothy Dalton without losing the look and style he had developed. He also had the same writing team for all his films, Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson. So, there is a lot of consistency with the storytelling and characters. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Glen made assembling line movies. He got the job done, but ultimately they're nothing special. Now granted, For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights have their defenders, but let's be honest, these are not CLASSIC Bond films. Unless you're a fan, or of a certain age-group, `80s Bond is something most people don't care about or acknowledge. I'm sure the average moviegoer doesn't even remember Timothy Dalton. Overall, it was a pretty bland era. It was good for the fans. Five extra movies to watch and possibly enjoy but nothing that will resonate.
MARTIN CAMPBELL (GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE)
Next to Terence Young, Martin Campbell is the best Bond director. Although some will argue that he is the best. The beauty of Campbell is that he knows what Bond needs to be at a particular time in history. GoldenEye and Casino Royale are completely different movies because they need to be. GoldenEye was being released after a 6-year absence and two forgettable Timothy Dalton installments. It was also after the Cold War had ended. So, the movie had to be Gilbert-esque and prove that Bond can fit into a new era. Casino Royale, on the other hand, was released after 9/11. Our enemies were no longer countries with a military and weapons that could blow us up. No, this time they're terrorists who lurk in the corners and can literally use anything against us. So, you need a tough and resourceful Bond. There's no need for theatrics this time. Some fans are disappointed that Campbell hasn't directed more Bond films, but I think that's fine. His legacy will be introducing Bond to two different eras. That's impressive.
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July 13, 2004
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February 24, 2013
The Batman Appreciation Thread
|11-07-2012, 11:36 AM||#27|
Join Date: Feb 2009
Nice. I'm also glad you gave Terrence Young his due.