The latest entry of the James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ has suffered several delays in release in part due to the pandemic lockdowns. During this laboring, Amazon acquired the film company MGM Studios, and with them, the license for the late Ian Fleming’s British superspy. This raises more questions for the long-running espionage franchise.
‘Skyfall’ screenwriter John Logan is a name you might know if you are a movie buff. Besides writing for James Bond, he has also worked on such screenplays as ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ and ‘Alien: Covenant.’
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Logan broke down why he thinks Amazon’s acquisition of MGM could have a negative impact on 007.
“What happens if a bruising corporation like Amazon begins to demand a voice in the process,” he said. “What happens to the comradeship and the quality control if there’s an Amazonian overlord with analytics parsing every decision? What happens when a focus group reports they don’t like Bond drinking martinis? Or killing quite so many people? And that English accent’s a bit alienating, so could we have more Americans in the story for marketability?”
“From my experience, here’s what happens to movies when such concerns start invading the creative process,” he wrote.
Logan warns, “Everything gets watered down to the most anodyne and easily consumable version of itself. The movie becomes an inoffensive shadow of a thing, not the thing itself.”
“That’s why we don’t have a mammoth Bond Cinematic Universe.” He continues, “with endless anemic variations of 007 sprouting up on TV or streaming or in spinoff movies. The Bond movies are truly the most bespoke and handmade films I’ve ever worked on. That’s why they are original, thorny, eccentric, and special. They were never created with lawyers and accountants and e-commerce mass marketing pollsters hovering in the background.”
James Bond has had his stints where audiences seem to lose interest in the British spy, though the character always manages to bounce back. Could “corporate” interests negatively affect 007? Possibly. Corporatization has had a positive impact on franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe while the DC Extended Universe has suffered because of it.
Logan himself notes, “The quality differential can vary wildly, project to project.”
Whatever the case, time will tell if Logan is correct with his predictions.
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