Welcome to What the Trailer Teaches Us, a blog post series that analyzes new trailers to see what we can learn about the movies they promote. In this series, we’ll take a look at the latest trailer for the new James Bond film, titled Bond, and see what new information it gives us about the upcoming film.
New James Bond Villain
With Daniel Craig’s last Bond film, Spectre, arriving in theaters this week, it’s time for the franchise to embark on a new journey—one that will be influenced not only by the recent events of 2017 but also by the choices made by the previous two directors of the series, Sam Mendez and Cary Joji Fukunaga. While previous rumors indicated that the new Bond film would feature Madoff investor and all-around bad guy Marc Rich as a major villain, that persona appears to have been replaced by Bennett Sinclair, an executive from the financial technology company Blackwood, who is played by Woody Allen’s 83-year-old father, Frank.
Even before we dive into analyzing the trailer, let’s take a moment to appreciate the significance of this new villain. For decades, the character of Bond has been ennobled as the ultimate anti-hero. As the epitome of a high-living playboy, Bond roams the world seeking adventure and women, while causing as much trouble as he can in the process. Now, however, we’re seeing a new breed of Bond villain emerge, one whose actions are influenced by modern-day problems, particularly the 2008 financial crisis. In the trailer, we see Bond investigating Rich’s shenanigans and, at one point, even hunting the older Allen on a boat. (The elder Allen even calls Bond a “nomad,” a moniker that has also been used for the franchise’s central protagonist, suggesting that the trailer’s main narrative may indeed reach back to the origins of the character.) While that may sound like a contradiction to the playboy image that has been associated with the character for decades, the transition to contemporary times is just one aspect of Bond’s evolution as a character.
Evolution Of A Franchise
Taking a look at the trailer, we see several aspects that are consistent with the evolution of the series over the years. One of the most obvious changes is the shift from the traditional white or ivory tower that Bond occupied in the early films to a higher degree of technological advancement. As the world progressed to digital money, crypto currencies, and other innovations associated with the ‘new economy,’ the landscape that Bond inhabited changed too.
In Diamonds, we see Bond driving a helicopter that is capable of flying, something that would have been impossible to achieve in the earlier films. In the trailer, we also see Bond using a drone to track down a target, a toy gun used in the same way we’ve seen actual firearms employed in the past. All of these weapons, as well as the cars, seem to reflect the cutting edge of modern technology, suggesting that the series may have jumped ahead a few years in terms of time—but not entirely, as we still see references to the ‘golden years’ of 007 when discussing the exploits of the former British Secret Service agent.
New Look For An Old Movie
As we’ve established, the new James Bond film will mark a key moment in the series’ evolution. Not only will it mark the first time in over 25 years that a Bond film will not feature the phrase ‘Goldeneye,’ but also, for the first time since the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the series will be set in London.
In that respect, it should come as no surprise that the trailers for both Diamonds and the new Bond film prominently feature London. Consistent with the recent trend of Hollywood studios to expand their reach to embrace new platforms and new media, the teaser for Diamonds even dons a ‘VR trailer’ with a Google Daydream headset for viewers who are using a smartphone equipped with this platform.
The trailer for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was first released in 1969, so it’s fitting that the latest entry in the series is also set in the capital. With its blend of sunshine, beautiful people, and high-living, we see a distinct parallel between the film’s 1930s setting and the hedonism of modern-day Los Angeles.
In both films, we see an updated take on classic Bond gadgets, including a Walther PPK/S, an Aston Martin DB5, and even a drone. While the trailer for Diamonds doesn’t reveal any brand-new gadgetry, one of the most significant advances over the past films is the inclusion of the Bond girl, Severine, as a playable character. As the head of a modeling agency, she’s the link to Marc Rich, our new villain, and provides the catalyst for his plot in Diamonds. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, she was also a key player in the villain’s scheme, but she was mostly ornamental, with only a few lines of dialogue.
A Turning Point In The Series
The trailers for Diamonds and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are not only significant because they represent a turning point in the series. They’re also two of the most entertaining trailers we’ve seen in a while. If you’re a fan of the James Bond films, it’s worth taking a moment to bask in the humor that permeates these two clips.
The trailers start out relatively formulaically, with the famous opening bars of the James Bond theme song reverberating across the screen. But it’s soon apparent that something is amiss, as our intrepid hero is seen breaking all the rules of good taste and morality that Bond has always embodied. (We might also be meant to infer that there is a bit of a time jump between these two films, since the trailer for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service suggests that the British Secret Service may have been compromised and that their loyalty to Queen and country may be up for grabs. )
The trailers for Diamonds and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service also serve as a microcosm of the evolution of the James Bond character. While audiences have always loved the roguish charm that has made Bond such a beloved character, it’s clear that his most ardent fans may be a bit disappointed by the slightly altered path that the series has taken.
Not all will feel this way, as there will undoubtedly be those who appreciate the fresh take on the character that these trailers represent. Regardless, it’s clear that the series has not shied away from addressing some of the biggest problems facing society in today’s world. Whether it’s corruption, technological advancement, or the erosion of traditional values, it seems that James Bond is always prepared to tackle the issue of the day—and ensure that those who would challenge his status as the ultimate good guy win in the process.