1. Driving Miss Moneypenny

    By Luke Freeman on 2004-02-20

    Now sit down if you are not already seated, because what I have to tell you all may come as a shock. I have it on pretty good authority that Hollywood is running rather low on film ideas at the moment. Now I can’t divulge the names of my sources, because they aren’t real and I’ve just made them up to impress you, but these sources tell me that studios, producers and writers and in an absolute panic. That’s why established franchises and comic book adaptations are all the rage at the moment. They guarantee reasonable success without having to be especially creative or original. And with ticket sales, DVD sales, rentals, merchandise, video games and TV cartoon series, it means plenty of money in the bank, which can be used to make even more of these films.

    In the last few years we’ve seem comics like X-Men, Spiderman, Daredevil and The Hulk brought to life on the big screen, as well as other franchise like Star Wars, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and ofcourse, James Bond. And there’s always talk of Batman and Indiana Jones making a return to movie theatres. Still it could be worse. In the mid-90’s we had that god awful “films based on 60’s TV shows” craze which, in comparison, doesn’t make this current franchise frenzy look so bad come to think of it.

    In this current franchise frenzy, studios and producers are always on the lookout for a new franchise to make a film out of. And if they can’t find one or create an original one, they’ll do the next best thing, Spin-off. The Spin-off genre appeared dead until The Rock (do you smell what he’s cooking ? Mmmm, burritos) jump started it again starring in The Scorpion King. When Die Another Day was unleashed upon the cinema going public, there was talk of Halle Berry starring in her own series of Jinx Spin-off films. There was something about the idea of the most undeveloped character in the history of the series getting her own film franchise that appealed to EON, and Purvis and Wade were immediately hired to put crayon to paper and come up with a Jinx script. But the Jinx Spin-off didn’t eventuate, and Ms. Berry went off to do Catwoman instead. Now that doesn’t mean that we’ll never see a Spin-off come from the Bond series, oh no, not at all. It just means that they’ll have to find another character of which to base the Spin-off film on, and I have a few suggestions….

    Charles Robinson Crusoe – Discontent with his job as the token black guy of MI6, Robinson makes plans to sell top secret codes to the Russians. He steals a helicopter and makes way for Moscow, then remembering that Russia is no longer a Communist country, changes course and heads for Cuba. But he crash lands and winds up on a uncharted desert island. He meets other castaways and enjoys the paradise lifestyle, until the island is invaded by a Robot Army. The Robot Army challenge the castaways to a game of Basketball, with ownership of the island going to the winner. Worried that the Robots will cheat to win, the castaways bring in the Harlem Globetrotters as ringers to level the playing field. The plan succeeds and the Robot Army is driven off the island, and least for now.

    The Goodhead, The Bad, and The Ugly – It’s been 25 years since Moonraker, but finally, CIA Agent Holly Goodhead makes her long awaited return to the big screen. This time she teams up with Nick Nack and Jaws (who provide the comic relief, fighting over which one of them is “The Bad” and which is “The Ugly”. The three of them ride off into the heart of the desert, to foil a villainous plot ripped straight from the headlines involving a hot air balloon, a bottle of Tequila, some African Conflict Diamonds and a three-legged goat.

    The Thunderball Run – Auric Goldfinger in his Gold Rolls Royce, Sheriff JW Pepper in his Police Car, Doctor No in his Dragon Tank, and many more of your favourite characters from the Bond series come together to compete in The Thunderball Run, a road race across America and back again. With a grand prize of $1 million cash and a free pass to the National Air and Space Museum, competition is sure to be cut-throat, and there’s bound to be plenty of thrills, spills, and yes, because you demanded it, kills. And in this kind of race there are only two rules: Rule #1 – There are no rules, Rule #2 – No invisible cars allowed.

    Driving Miss Moneypenny – The Queen, Prince Charles, and the rest of the Royal Family are tragically killed in a fox hunting incident. Expert genealogists are brought in to determine who is next in line to the throne, and discover that it is none other than Miss Moneypenny. So Moneypenny quits her secretary job at MI6, is crowned Monarch, and moves into Buckingham palace. Queen Moneypenny brings sweeping reform to the Kingdom, booting out Scotland to make way for Bangladesh, selling the Crown Jewels on E-Bay, and hiring James Bond (Pierce Brosnan in a guest appearance) as her chauffeur. At first she enjoys ruling over the common folk, but soon the pressure gets to her and she turns to heroin for relief. And when Bond inadvertently blabs to a gossip columnist about driving her to rehab, the plot thickens.

    Until next time,