[Spoilers] The Third Act of ‘No Time To Die’ & The Potential Influence Of Phoebe Waller-Bridge On The Screenplay


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I really liked No Time To Die. I only rolled my eyes a few times and checked my watch a few more. And I only once felt the need to think about leaving the theatre in mid-film. For me, a person who walks out of movies constantly, that’s a big deal.

But it’s the third act of the movie I want to talk about.

It’s in the third act that the stakes are raised and a child’s life — Bond’s daughter — is put in harm’s way.

It’s in the third act when something about how unfocused the movie is becomes clear. Somewhere in the movie’s nearly three-hour run time was an even better movie, waiting to come out. The emotional highs and lows of the movie were blunted by how muddled it all was.

I think it was so muddled because that is the point of a Bond movie. You go to a Bond movie to have a good time, not to really get your emotions played with. But had they wanted to make not just a Bond movie but a Bond “film” they could have focused a lot more on the implications of Bond having a family for once in his life and what he was willing to do to save them.

As it is, we’re introduced to his daughter as a plot point, she’s put in danger and then…she escapes because she bit the finger of the villain? What the what? It was a huge letdown.

You have something unique in the Bond franchise — he has a family to protect — and in the end the whole thing is dismissed in a rather ham-handed manner. There was not nearly the emotional pay off that it could have had.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Maybe I’m seeing the influence of Phoebe Waller-Bridge? But because she was just punching the screenplay up and wasn’t the main screenwriter, we just saw glimpses of the far more powerful movie that could have been? I dunno. But it definitely is weird that something so potentially powerful — Bond with family — was introduced and then not a lot was done with it.

As I mentioned, I think some of what I’m noticing is just something that is basic to the Bond movies on an existential basis. We don’t really expect them to be No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood. There’s just a fun way to entertain yourself for a few hours.

I Have My Eye On You, Mr. Bond



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I saw the latest James Bond film, “No Time To Die,” today, and for once I didn’t walk out of a movie. There were a few time I rolled my eyes and a few times when I checked my watch. But, overall, it was a great movie and highly recommend it.

They definitely updated the character some by giving him some heart. I’m a life-long Bond fan and some of the additions to the character were long, long over due.

But having said that, I will also note that I got a significant amount of inspiration from watching the movie. The four book thriller series already has a lot of Bond-like touches to it and I realized something important about the Bond franchise when I watched No Time To Die.

My series about an a American, female James Bond-type person was missing something and I didn’t even realize it. But now that’s fixed and the series, once done, will be a mixture of James Bond, Stieg Larsson’s stuff and Mare of Easttown, if that makes any sense.

I will note in closing that it’s a testament to how much cultural self-confidence Americans have that No Time To Die would pick us so much and we just don’t care. It’s a lulz.

James Bond Has Really Let Us Down In The Gadget Department


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

My novel is growing far more scfi in nature far earlier than I predicted. Or, put another way, my heroine’s interaction with advanced technology is beginning to become a central part of the plot sooner than expected.

Right now, I have two major issues to deal with — how often we get to see the heroine’s POV and how often the “embraced and extended” gadgets of James Bond I’ve given her influence what she does as part of the plot. I also have the issue of the nattering nabobs of negativism at VOX waiting to pounce on my pop-lit novel if it doesn’t fit their corporate liberal metrics.

But I’m being both “delusional and stupid” about even selling this novel at this point. I’m an untested, unknown male author who probably comes off as just a well-meaning Internet crank if some lit agent looked at my online ID at this point. I can always self-publish if need be.

Anyway, I’m very pleased with the gadgets I’ve come up with for my heroine. They’re very innovative, next generation and kick ass. And, in the second book, some REALLY cool things are going to happen because of them. I’m really into flipping the script as much as possible, so a lot of themes one might expect in a novel such as this are implemented in an unexpected fashion.

I at least hope so.

The point of all of this is I feel the folks at Eon have let James Bond — and us — down. Bond is about girls, gadgets and guns. While the girls are still hot, the gadgets these days are so so. Just turn on the TV for your inspiration. There’s some seriously cool things being cooked up in tech right now, why not use it?

I guess some of it is producers and screenwriters just aren’t woke to some of the cooler things being designed right now. So, I guess, in a sense, I have my in to entertain readers in an unexpected fashion. I’ll put a move on you, as they say.

A Tale of Two Franchises: The Real Reason Why ‘James Bond’ Succeeds While ‘Star Wars’ is a Dumpster Fire


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

You hear a lot of bullshit among the Joe Rogan types about how Kathleen Kennedy has “ruined” Star Wars for this or that reason. They think up a lot of thinly veiled misogynistic rhetoric that boils down to a MAGA circle jerk. And, yet, another franchise run by a woman that men love — James Bond — continues to do well on both a commercial and artistic level.

I would suggest that it’s not a matter of Ms. Kennedy being too woke for her own good. I would suggest that the difference between Ms. Kennedy of Disney and Barbara Broccoli of Eon is one of fandom. Given the steaming pile of dreck that Ms. Kennedy has managed to churn out from the Star Wars universe compared to what Ms. Broccoli has produced it definitely seems as though Ms. Broccoli is a Bond fan while Ms. Kennedy is not a Star Wars fan.

I have no idea if I’m right or not, but just as an audience member — an aspiring novelist obsessed with story — the most recent Star Wars movies suck so bad because they’re not seen as movies so much as vehicles to sell toys and a “message.” The Bond movies, meanwhile, are, on their merits, good movies. Ms. Broccoli “gets” Bond in a way that Ms. Kennedy does not “get” Star Wars.

Now, I’m pleased that Eon is working to update Bond by bringing in someone like Phoebe Waller-Bridge to spice up the script. That’s really cool and makes a lot of sense. But it’s still being done within the context of understanding what the audience goes to see a James Bond movie for — girls, guns and gadgets.

Meanwhile, Star Wars movies are all over the place. They totally misunderstand the origin of the passion associated with franchise. The whole thing is so top heavy with identity politics, “slaying the patriarchy” and, most of all making that sweet, sweet cash from selling toys that the thing that brings people to the movies — a swashbuckling space opera — is totally muddled into oblivian.

The sad thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. The Star Wars universe is massive. There are soooooooo many secondary characters that are beloved. There’s a whole canon to be referenced and riffted upon in a way that would bring tears of joy to millions of fans. But they have totally squandered all of that in an effort to get little kids woke and to get them to buy toys along the way.

Part of the problem Star Wars faces is it each movie is such a cultural event — and it’s so associated with little kids — that’s its difficult for them to pair back the edifice and get back to the fundamentals of good storytelling. Just by using the Star Wars brand, you can’t really have any type of sex and your violence has to be comic in nature.

In an ideal world, you would have an “adult” Star Wars franchise and a “kiddy” Star Wars franchise. For adults, you would have The Empire Strikes Back with sex and violence. For the kids, you have the more campy aspects of A New Hope. As it stands, you have a Star Wars movie with a 30 minute subplot designed specifically to get kids to buy toys. What’s more, you have a very contrived and painful to watch plot point that creates a massive hole in the entire Star Wars canon simply to bludgeon audiences with the idea of “trust women.”

This is not brain surgery. You could very well get an actual Star Wars fan like Kevin Smith to write and direct a really good Star Wars movie that would bring back the magic of A New Hope and The Empires Strikes Back. But I would suggest trying to be a least a little bit original by thinking up an entirely new clan to follow the exploits of. You have an entire galaxy to play with — why do we have to keep getting Skywalkers to blow up bigger and bigger Death Stars? It’s becoming quite ridiculous.

The James Bond franchise, meanwhile, has a winning formula and runs with it. What’s more, they’ve managed to turn the campy Roger Moore James Bond that I grew up with into a very serious, dark Daniel Craig James Bond that really takes the whole franchise to the next level.

It’s wild how out of all the franchises that exist in Hollywood today, Bond is the only one that hasn’t either run out of steam (MCU) or that hasn’t been strip mined into irrelevance (Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Terminator.)

But no one listens to me. And maybe they shouldn’t. But it’s a tragedy to me that Star Wars has all this unlocked value and its producers are such non-fans that they don’t understand what to do with it.

The Case For Henry Cavill Being The Next ‘James Bond’


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m sure Eon Productions is scanning the Web for posts like this, so let me throw my 2 cents in — Henry Cavill should be James Bond.

I’m well aware that Tom Hardy has allegedly been chosen for the role, but that’s just a rumor at this point. He’s a great pick, but when I think of the modern James Bond, I think of Cavill.

But there are a few obvious problems with Cavill. One, he’s a little too young. Bond is a bit older and grizzled. Also, he doesn’t have the hyper-masculine looks of Hardy, which seems to be what the producers of the modern Bond films are looking for.

And, yet, given Cavill’s stand-out role in Mission: Impossible — Fallout, I think he’s perfect. He’s a big guy and if the producers of the modern Bond films continue to have Christopher Nolan envy, then I think he’s just the guy for the role.

My Novel’s Heroine Is Shaping Up To Be A Combination of James Bond and Lisbeth Salander



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


The more I think about it, the more I may have fire in a bottle with this novel. It’s not perfect — it’s just the outline of the first draft at this point — but I do think that about two years worth of development may, at last, be about to come to fruition.

I’ve come up with a heroine with a very, very unique background who is also something of a would-be spy (of sorts.) I really believe in this story, but I also know my limitations. It’s more likely than not that this whole thing is going to be an colossal disaster. And if it’s not a colossal disaster, someone is going to steal a creative march on me, making the whole thing moot.

But I guess I can enjoy what I’ve thought up while I can. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the outline when I finally start to write again.In the past, at least, I’ve started writing and the whole thing has gone haywire and I have to start all over again.

Hopefully, however, this time, at least, that won’t happen. Hopefully, my dream of coming up with an American answer to Stieg Larsson’s original Millennium series will at least come within shouting distance of being true. And, yet, given my age and background, lulz, who am I fooling?

At least I have no one to tell me “no.” As such, I can daydream in a vacuum far, far beyond what I might do otherwise. Generally, everyone wants to tell me I suck, so if I don’t have people telling me I suck, then maybe I might be able to produce the type of novel I know I have in me.

One major problem with all of this, of course, is how difficult it is to come up with a “female James Bond.” By definition, it’s very easy to slide into the “Sexxy Slutty Assassin” trope if you try to do that. But while Lisbeth Salander is a vigilante with Asperger’s, my heroine is far, far more accessible. And, in a sense, the two books I’m working on serve as her spy “origin story.”

But, who knows. Everyone thinks I suck.

V-Log: Weighing Ilana Glazer & Phoebe Waller-Bridge As The Next Bond Girl

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Just some idle rambling.

Ilana Glazer Or Phoebe Waller-Bridge Should Be The Next Bond Girl

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m a big fan of the James Bond franchise. I always liked the opening scene of Moonraker when the space shuttle is stolen. I really like what they’ve done with Daniel Craig. He’s very modern, very of the moment, and has brought a new level of creative seriousness to what had been a rather campy series.

I’ve written some before about how I think Ilana Glazer would be a perfect Bond girl. She’s funny, smart and audiences would laugh and laugh as a strong, independent woman such as she inevitably fell for James Bond. I saw Solo today and it occurred to me that someone who might fit the part a little bit better is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She has the same spunk as Glazer, but she’s British and the interplay between she and Craig would be sexy and funny. Both women are hot in an unconventional way that would bring a little bit of spark to the movie.

Shrug. No one listens to me anyway. But when they do, cool stuff happens.

Talk To Me Internet: Some Musing About Writing A Novel Versus A Screenplay

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The interesting thing about writing a novel as opposed to a screenplay is how much more of a community there is with a screenplay. I have tried — and failed — to write a screenplay in the past and people got really excited. Writing a novel, meanwhile, is a much more solitary venture. You have to think deeply and reflect on the universe you’ve created because you can’t just rely upon your director to show it for you.

Meanwhile, I still think Ilana Glazer would be a great Bond Girl. She’s perfect for such a role. It would put a modern twist on a pretty traditional role. Additionally, I think Twitter should do away with Periscope altogether and put all its features in the main Twitter app.

Ilana Glazer As A Potential Bond Girl & Her Inspiring A Character In My Novel

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have a huge celebrity crush on Ilana Glazer of Broad City and I think she has the makings of a A1 Hollywood superstar because of her personality, if nothing else. But, to date, she’s not really been in anything of note outside of Broad City.

As a big fan of the James Bond franchise, I think it would be amusing, interesting and intriguing if she were cast as a Bond Girl. She’s not your typical Bond Girl by any stretch of the imagination, but given her broad appeal, I think a lot of people would enjoy seeing her matching wits with Bond. The Bond serious has become so epic and serious minded that Glazer would be perfect as comic relief. She would put her own unique spin on it all and I think it would be a real crow pleaser to cast her in such a role.

Meanwhile, I’m working on a novel and the female lead is — in part — based on Glazer. Glazer reminds me a great deal of someone in my own life and I am drawing upon Glazer’s public persona to build out the character. The character is a little bit younger than Glazer, so I couldn’t see her playing the character in any daydream possible movie adaptation, but still.

I am currently working on the outline of the novel and it’s a lot of fun. I don’t know if my writing is good enough to make the actual end product something anyone will want to read, but I enjoy the process of doing it, regardless.