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By William Warner
By now, James Bond should be used to working on foreign soil. As the series continues its inexorable expansion with the latest Bond movie Skyfall reaching our screens in October, Bond seems ever more comfortable to stray further from Ian Fleming’s source material, and into conventional action movie territory, a trend which is in no way dispelled by the pretty much continuous stream of promotional material.
The trailer is pretty standard stuff; characters utter monosyllables before a hyperactive montage of vehicles, gunfire and sprinting. It doesn’t look like the film is even trying to be different, instead seeming content to reproduce the same oversaturated orange/blue colours and mindless set pieces of innumerable other ‘action’ films. The concluding line, delivered in a monotone by Daniel Craig, is “Some men are coming to kill us. I’m going to kill them first”. If this is how the producers have chosen to sum up their film, then I reckon there’s little hope. The most visible aspect of the media front, though, isn’t Bond at all. Or it is, but only as a medium by which to display the surrounding mass of product placement – entire videos are devoted to his clothing manufacturer or the brand of his car. Much of the photo gallery could be as much a fashion shoot as a film production.
This isn’t how it used to be, though. Not that either Ian Fleming’s books or the old films were ever marked amongst the truly great, but the older work has a feel about it almost completely absent from the blockbusters produced today. Casino Royale, in taking a step back towards the older stories, with Bond spending as much time around the poker table as dispatching faceless bodyguards, managed perhaps to create a sense of place and character rare in any of the other recent efforts, but I suspect that much like Quantum of Solace, this new film will have little to recommend it.