It didn’t take long for James Bond to fall from harbinger to farce. Now it’s time to bring him back to relevance.
Let’s start in 1964, at the height of the Cold War. That’s when the threat of nuclear war hung over the planet, and also when one of the best James Bond films — Goldfinger — was shot.
Two decades later, as the Cold War was winding down, came the remake. It resulted in one of the worst James Bond films, A View to a Kill.
That movie, Roger Moore’s final turn as Bond, essentially borrowed all the Goldfinger plot twists. James spends much of the movie on a horse farm. The villain intends to make his investment, microchips (not gold), more valuable by destroying Silicon Valley (not Ft. Knox). The bad guy hosts a meeting of thugs, where he shows them a model and promises to make them rich. He kills the one who refuses to go along. James beds the villain’s female henchman, turning her against him. And on and on.
Still, A View to a Kill comes up short by modern standards. Q was still played by an old white guy. So was M. So, of course, was Bond (Moore was 57 that year). Maybe that’s why he spent so much time just hanging around: Dangling from a firetruck, from a blimp, from the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.
So now, three decades on, as Hollywood prepares to remake Ghostbusters, let’s consider how it could also upgrade A View to a Kill.
Start with the most lasting aspect of the film: Its awesome theme song. Duran Duran rocked in the 1980s, and the song is still an oldies staple. So it can stay, but needs a remake. We’ll get Coldplay to re-record it.
Next, we need a new Bond. No need to be tied to convention here; the era of middle-aged white British men is over. In the spirit of the Jenner clan, the 21st Century cries out for an androgynous Bond. Maybe Miley Cyrus? Also, the name “James” is too 29th Century. Something like “Jamey” would be more appropriate, and allow Bond to swing easily between male and female, as necessary or desired.
This opens exciting new angles: Bond no longer needs to be a stud, bedding beautiful women. (S)He can bed beautiful men and beautiful women. It’s a win-win.
As for the bad guy, that’s one thing the ‘60s and ‘80s versions got exactly right. The bad guy must be a middle-aged white male, probably of British extraction. But not with too strong an accent. The sort of person you see on screen and just know is up to no good.
What should this 21st Century plot involve? Well, what matters most to Americans today?
Gold was the prize in the ‘60s, microchips in the ‘80s. But those were days when we made things. The Bond villain can’t take money away from modern Americans; the Fed would just print new stuff. It can’t take jobs away; those are already gone as well (more than a third of Americans are out of the workforce).
Maybe the evil plot could target shutting down federal benefits.
The Census Bureau reports 109,631,000 Americans receive benefits from means-tested federal programs. Find a way to shut that down, and the country would be paralyzed. Maybe the bad guy could control a bank (they’re already known to be evil) and find a way to hack into the system that sends out direct deposits. Set it up so only customers of his bank would get paid. Pretty soon, everyone would open an account. He’d control the financial system! Brilliant.
How should Jamey Bond foil this? That’s just details.
Sprinkle in some car crashes, a computer nerd, perhaps a same-sex wedding (Bond would be a guest, not a participant) and you’re on your way to another summer blockbuster – and the rescue of a classic Hollywood franchise.