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  1. Licence To Kill at 30



    1989. Hello, 1989? Anybody remember 1989 – no???

    That was the year a woman resided at No 10, thinking it would go on forever. But it didn’t…

    That year, Vladimir Putin allegedly used to have a merry good time at one of Moscow Centre’s prestigious fleshpot postings – second-in-command of a department of KGB’s Dresden residency. Aspiring to replace his boss in five or six years. Or maybe not…

    That year, some spoilt brat named Boris (‘Boris Becker’ they used to wind him up, cruelly) sat behind a desk in Bruxelles, on the seat of his pants still the footprint from being kicked out of his last job. His little mind darkly devoted to making an even deeper impression with his next…

    It is fair to say only Putin’s perspective has changed a lot over 30 years.

    Oh yes – and 1989 was also the year Timothy Dalton was Ian Fleming’s James Bond in Licence to Kill.

    You wouldn’t have guessed it at the time, but in retrospect Dalton seems to turn out as divisive a figure – with some fans at least – as the other three mentioned above. Opinion about him ranges from ‘the best Bond Eon ever dared showing, the closest to Fleming’ to ‘the worst thing that ever happened to the series’, with fans often defending their perception as ultimate truth, reaching for rigorous blanket statements whenever nothing less would do their rightful indignation justice, for or against Dalton.

    Amusingly, both sides often name Licence To Kill – the 16th Bond film and Dalton’s second and last – the crown witness to support their verdict.

    Now Licence To Kill celebrates its 30th anniversary on 13. June. A film that marked a definite watershed moment in the history of the franchise since it would result in the longest break between productions*. A film that tried to outdo its predecessor with significantly less budget (20 per cent); actually with a budget on par with that of 1979’s Moonraker. A film that set out to give a perfectly fine definition of the phrase ‘punching above its weight’ when it competed that summer, without much promotional help but with predictable results, against Batman and Indiana Jones. At least nobody could accuse Licence To Kill to lack aspiration or optimism.  

    continue reading…
    Helmut Schierer @ 2019-06-13
  2. BOND 25 moves…

    …to April 8, 2020, according to the official James Bond 007 twitter feed:

    The release date for Bond 25 has changed. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli: “We are absolutely thrilled to be releasing Bond 25 on 8 April 2020.”

    Variety reports that Universal at the same time moved its 9th Fast & Furious vehicle back six weeks from April to May 2020, the likely reason for BOND 25’s move.

    Helmut Schierer @ 2019-02-16
  3. BOND 25 – A Winter Sleep’s Tale…

    The other day I ran into a bear and he asked me…

    Perhaps I need to elaborate on this a little.

    I was going for a lazy stroll in the snowy Alps, as you do, and I was just passing this cave near St. Moritz, when a deep bearish voice called out:

    ‘Hey you – aren’t you one of the guys from CommanderBond.net? Gimme the low down, what’s the news about BOND 25, any juicy details from shooting yet?’

    By the entrance to the cave a tall bear was putting on a battered black and white dog tooth suit over a dark blue shirt and a black knitted silk tie, apparently the morning toilet after a long winter hibernation. When I saw him putting black John Lobb shoes on his huge paws I knew I was talking to a hardcore Bond fan. They are everywhere. And they tend to be fussy about their appearance. 

    ‘Sir, indeed I happen to be working for CBn. You, Sir, on the other hand are a bear. And judging from appearances I should have thought you have more pressing matters to attend to than a Bond film,’ I said.

    ‘What do you think I’m leaving my cave for this early, Mission Impossible?’ my new acquaintance said while he fiddled with a metal expanding bracelet to fit an expensive looking watch around his left forepaw. The hairs of his pelt stuck through the links of the bracelet, but otherwise he was looking every inch the worldly bear. 

    That’s what makes all the difference, Bond fans can climb right out of a cave and blend in nearly everywhere without effort.

    ‘Well then, what’s the last thing you remember? Before taking your nap in there?’ I asked him.

    The bear’s face turned thoughtful. ’Lemme see…last thing I heard was BOND 25 would be in theatres November 2019. And that Craig will return!’ So this furry Bond fan was still thinking BOND 25 would be right in the middle of shooting now…

    ‘That was in summer of 2017 – you’ve missed lots of stuff!’

    ‘Did I? What in particular?’

    ‘You asked for it…

    ‘At first, there wasn’t any news about BOND 25 beyond Craig returning. And that Purvis & Wade would do the script, but that hardly counts as news. What there was was a distinct absence of information: no distributor, no director. Plenty of speculation, largely the typical nonsense stuff the media rehashes when they need a spin on a story, who’s doing the title song, who’s returning – or not – and so on. A lot of it focussed on who was possibly directing, so the media speculation mirrored that of the fans, Mendes returning…’

    ‘Ugh, no!’ my new friend the bear muttered. 

    ‘…then not returning, Villeneuve maybe doing it…’

    ‘Denis Villeneuve, wow!’

    ‘…Nolan maybe doing it…’

    ‘Nolan, wow!’ 

    ‘…and finally all hell broke loose when it was announced that Danny Boyle had made a pitch for BOND 25.’

    ‘Danny Boyle, that’s awesome! Can’t wait to see it!’

    ‘You won’t have to.’

    ‘Didn’t they like his pitch?’

    ‘To the contrary, they were so taken by it that from March to August 2018 Boyle was officially directing BOND 25, shooting a script he developed on the go with John Hodge – while the Purvis and Wade effort supposedly was scrapped. The production, according to people in the know, was going full speed ahead when they suddenly hit “creative differences” and everything came to a standstill.’

    ‘Oh my,’ the bear was making a sad bear-face. ‘A Danny Boyle Bond film would have been so awesome…’ He was sniffling a little. It’s a disturbing sight, a huge bear sniffling.

    ‘Some people thought so, yes. But then, whenever a door closes, it does so for a reason – or however that Zen quote about doors goes…’

    ‘What did they mean with “creative differences” – ain’t that p.r. talk for excrement hitting the airscrew?’ the bear asked. 

    ‘Honestly, I haven’t the foggiest. Talk in the media suggests it was something to do with rewriting the script, a task Purvis and Wade were possibly hired for again. Tabloids speculated wildly about who was to blame for what kind of blasphemy that finally broke the camel’s back. Bond actually dying was mentioned, but how much of that is true – if anything at all – nobody can say for sure.’

    My friend the bear looked paler by the minute. It seemed catching up with his favourite franchise didn’t exactly agree with his digestion. While filling him in on events I spared him not a lot, not Gary Barber’s catapult exit from MGM, not Annapurna’s financial woes, which was supposed to team up with MGM for distribution. 

    ‘God, that’s awful…does it get any worse?’

    He didn’t yet know about BOND 25’s delay. He’s a bear after all, you never know with bears. Better slip him that detail together with something more uplifting.

    ‘Depends how you look at it. Distribution of BOND 25, as of yet, will be split between MGM-Annapurna for the US and Universal for the rest of the world. Might be that hints to MGM’s future – or not, take your pick. And Barber hasn’t been replaced as of yet, nor is MGM’s fate decided ’

    Now he looked close to tears. ‘What a mess! Will there even be something to distribute when they lost their director and their script too?’

    ‘Well, it’s not clear how much of a loss that script was. Some claim Hodge may have worked from Purvis and Wade’s first effort all along; nobody outside can say for sure. Whatever Hodge cooked up also could still feature in BOND 25, depending on how a new director and Eon tackle it. And here comes the good news: after weeks of searching they found their replacement for Boyle – Cary J. Fukunaga. And it’s said he will also touch up the script.’

    His face lit up. ’The one who directed True Detective? Hey, that’s pretty cool!’

    ‘Of course, all that kerfuffle comes at a price. You will not like hearing BOND 25 got pushed back a bit, from November 2019 to February 2020 – Valentine’s Day.’ 

    ‘That’s still over a year!’ He looked seriously miffed now.

    ‘Yes, but you picked just the right time to wake up: shooting is set to begin in March, with location work in Italy set for April.’

    ‘Italy again, I like that! It’s warm in Italy!’

    ‘Further locations may include Norway and possibly Canada too…’

    ‘I like Norway and Canada. Plenty bears there!’ 

    The bear was fiddling now for some time with a smart phone; difficult to handle with his paws.

    ‘And why is none of this stuff up on CommanderBond.net? Damn, fans like me depend on you guys. Do your bloody duty!’ he growled at me.

    ‘In truth, I was just going to write it when you called me over…’

    Helmut Schierer @ 2019-02-05