I went to see the new Bond movie at the weekend and it was really good. Which was a relief, since the last few have been getting seriously poor (IMHO).

I wouldn’t normally bore anyone with that info, but I got to thinking¬† about what made it so good and I think it’s the fact that they broke the formula. And, that was the problem with Bond – it had got formulaic!

Thinking about it, the rules were simple (and seemed to be the sort of findings that come out of focus groups!):

1. Pair Bond up with some other secret agent (preferably female) to add diversity and broaden appeal

2. Make every name a terrible pun (Ivana Fukalott would have been prime)

3. Make sure the bad guy is trying to take over the world – nothing else will do (even if the idea is getting preposterous)

4. Keep making wise crack one-liners. Even if the plot hardly makes sense.

5. Think about the chase sequences – have more than Mission Impossible.

6. Make sure Bond is politically correct. Ensure that women are treated as equals. Obviously.

Kind of pathetic, really.

Fortunately, they stopped the rot with Casino Royale.
The jokes were subtle. Bond was a hard nut again. Not quite the Sean Connery, but credibly tough. The female role was not an attempt at partnering Bond. The story was gripping. The action was good and varied. It felt like a screenplay and not just a montage of action scenes. Lovely.

They slightly skimped on the use of the Aston for my money, but you can’t have it all.

In related news, Hashem pointed out the weight of product placement.
He didn’t point out that Ford was a travesty though – come on!!! Bond driving a Ford. That wasn’t OK.

See his (rather more balanced and readable) comments at his blog