James Bond is back with martinis but not the gadgets

Nov. 10, 2008 | 7:21 p.m.

EXCLUSIVE A chat with Marc Forster, the director of "Quantum of Solace," about Bond traditions.


What’s the secret to making a film franchise that is still going strong in its 46th year? It’s taking the very familiar and the completely unexpected and putting them together into a satisfying cocktail that is best shaken, not stirred. "Quantum of Solace" is the 22nd entry in the James Bond franchise and opens Nov. 14 as the follow-up to the top-grossing 007 film ever, "Casino Royale." Daniel Craig is back as the most haunted and sinewy version of the British spy but the director this time is Marc Forster, who is operating well outside expectations by taking on an action blockbuster after making his name with "Finding Neverland," "Monster’s Ball" and "The Kite Runner."

Daniel_craig I saw "Quantum" last week and it’s a strong action film — it’s relentless as it hurtles forward and I’m really intrigued by the arc of the Bond character these days. A few days ago, I talked with Forster about the familiar Bond-isms established by the venerable franchise and how he chose to embrace some, tweak others and leave a few behind. The 39-year-old filmmaker did not come to the project as a a major Bond fan and he said that gave him the freedom to make his choices based on the present, not the past.

Gadgets: Exploding pens and flame-throwing bagpipes, camera rings and rocket-launching boom boxes, even a razor-edged tea tray — the Bond franchise has been a sort of kooky Sharper Image for spies through the years. Not this time. "People might say there are no gadgets in this movie but to me the idea of carrying around five or six  gadgets, that seems very old school to me. People have iPhones now and we are all accustomed to devices that consolidate different technologies. A suitcase full of gadgets seems odd and also reminds me of all these superhero movies now. We wanted Bond to be more believable and realistic." So 007 has to settle for a sweet Sony Ericsson C905 phone and a non-exploding Omega Seamaster wristwatch.

Martinis: In "Casino Royale," Bond was troubled, flawed and rough around the edges — far from the cool and polished spy of the classic Sean Connery movies. "Quantum" finds him on the path to that familiar cool and, during a break in the action, getting a lesson in martinis. He’s aboard a Virgin Atlantic flight and the bartender in upper class makes him a martini, shaken not stirred, and recites the ingredients for the attentive spy. It was a way to touch on the familiar but with (ahem) a twist. "That was a fun way to show he is becoming the Bond that is familiar," Forster said.

Quantum_teamThe music and credits: Jack White and Alicia Keys team up for the Bond theme song this time around, "Another Way to Die," a curious combination of menacing rock thunder and slinky spy themes. But Forster looked to the visuals of the opening credits to signal his affection for the old Bond films — unlike "Casino Royale," "Quantum" returns to the classic montage of silhouetted women in varied states of undress. "We wanted those iconic images, the women and the guns, the retro look. The design company MK12 did the work and it is in the tradition but it’s also new and bold."

"Bond, James Bond": You won’t hear that classic motto uttered in "Quantum of Solace" but Forster had hoped that you would. "We had that, he said ‘Bond, James Bond.’ But it was in a scene that ended up getting cut. It was the only scene that got cut; not because of that line, only because the scene itself was not working." What about next time, will the German native return for an encore directing effort in the franchise and hear the spy deliver that money line? "Right now, I am not planning on doing another one. I believe I will be going in a different direction with my next film. But, as they say, never say never…"

— Geoff Boucher


The early reviews are in on "Quantum of Solace"

Photo gallery: Images from "Quantum of Solace"

Photo gallery: Bond girls, through the years

Credits: Marc Forster on the set of "Quantum of Solace" and image of Danial Craig in the film, both courtesy of Columbia Pictures. Bottom photo of Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Marc Forster by Rosie Greenway/Getty Images.   

More in: Uncategorized, James Bond


14 Responses to James Bond is back with martinis but not the gadgets

  1. geek says:

    No gadgets? They screw up a good formula.

  2. Big Sam says:

    Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Sean Connery, and Sean Connery was a hard act to follow.

  3. prince says:

    ive watched the movie and i am reeeeally pleased with what i saw, the gadget thing is actualy a very good thing, we dont want to see a flying exploded sun glass or a watch.. i totally agree with the director, but still you should leave some of the basics! like the Bond, James bond sentence!! shame it is not there, people loooove that!! dont take everything away and change it, at least the sentence and the music to keep.
    well done, a great movie, cant wait to see the next one :)
    thank you

  4. Jack LesCamela says:

    Equipping James Bond with gadgets made a lot of sense in the 1960s. It was the Space Age. High tech was exotic and 007 became that much more cool and interesting because he brandished it on occasion.
    Welcome to the 21st century. It's closing in on fifty years since DR. NO premiered in 1962. The culture is different. We ALL have gadgets now. So when Bond makes use of one on film it fails to look cool anymore. It makes him look… boring.
    Resourcefulness, creativity, and making do with what you've got is the new gadget. Best part about it is, it never gets old.

  5. reynolds r blain says:

    Yes I went to see it this weekend and I miss my gadgets, gadgets are a way to look into the future.

  6. John Palance says:

    I like Daniel Craig but otherwise this is not nearly as cool as the Sean Connery movies. Bond is not getting to sleep with a bunch of hot women like before. And what is Bond without cool gadgets? Please. And now he has a chick boss too? Bond has been neutered.

  7. DAvid says:

    Bond with no gadgets? The whole idea is that he always had a new, clever set of weapons. He had to be smart and also prepared. It was part of the mystique of being a "special agent"…laughs.
    Reduce him down to a mere fight and gun guy and he is no better than Rambo, Terminator or the like.
    To say high tech is out of style is to say there are many CIA, British Secret Service or "special" guys that fight. Your right, there are, but Bond is unique….well, he used to be ;)
    Ha, reminds me when Boston went soft rock! ahahaha

  8. DrDave says:

    I have been a die-hard Bond fan since day one and about the only time I go to a movie theater is to see a new Bond movie. This movie was so poorly done that I really didn't get a feel for the plot till the very end. There was no rhyme or reason to the action scenes – but, then again, they were so cut up and fast (a'la Bourne movies) that you really couldn't get a feel for what was going on. Even during the non-action scenes, there were camera/scene changes about every 2 seconds. As soon as you really started to get into the character speaking, you were off on some other tangent looking somewhere else that was completely ridiculous. At one point, the guy on the right was talking but the camera was positioned behind someone's head and focusing on the guy on the left. Why? Are you trying out your stupid tricks for your music video on MTV? Oh, that's right, MTV doesn't show music videos anymore.
    Yeah, I'm ranting but it's only because I LOVE Bond movies and, other than the names of the characters, this wasn't a Bond movie. Bond has been a character with certain traits since 1962 thru many different actors. Where are those traits? Bond has to have humor. He has to have the best gadgets and drive the nicest cars and have the best martinis with the most beautiful girl on his arm. He knows what to say and when to say it with the perfect amount of British humor.
    Will I see this movie again, probably, but only when I can run the action scenes in slow-motion to see if they are as good as most Bond movies. If you see this in a movie theater, take some Dramamine ahead of time because, otherwise, you're going to get motion sick. Why, why, why do they feel it's cool or important to use handheld cameras on bungee cords during any and all action scenes. Why? What does that do for the viewer? We KNOW it's an action scene, you don't need to shake the camera to get our attention. How about adding in a little Bond theme song music to get our attention instead.
    OK, I'm done now. Good luck, if you decide the see the movie. It's a bad remake of one of the Bourne movies.

  9. Steph W says:

    I loved Casino Royale, and I liked this latest outing, precisely because it jettisons all those tired old tropes with the gadgets and the tagline. Frankly, after so many Bond movies, I don't miss them at all. I may not be a Bond purist, but I'm an avid moviegoer who can appreciate a hoary franchise doing something unexpected to inject some life into itself. I don't know why people want the exact same thing movie after movie–why bother making them at all if they're going to be so cookie-cutter? I say Bravo to the new Bond.

  10. leo says:

    Does anybody knows what model is the very small VAIO (with the screen that flips over the keyboard) that is shown in the sceen, were M and the rest agents leave the hotel on foot and they try to trace Bond?

  11. Before going too far down the gadget-free path, let's remember that it was Ian Fleming himself who introduced us to the first James Bond gadgets.
    The special suitcase was part of Fleming's fifth 007 novel, "From Russia, with Love."
    And, yes, it was Ian Fleming who first wrote about a Geiger Counter wristwatch, in his book, "Thunderball," published a couple of years before anyone ever saw Sean Connery make Double-0 status in the film version of "Dr. No."
    Some would even argue that the first mention of the Rolex brand name, in Fleming's second James Bond novel, "Live and Let Die" (1954) was a speciality watch, in that it could be worn underwater and remain functioning.
    Dell Deaton, creator

  12. wellmett says:

    For the Critics here, think about this. 22 movies is ENOUGH for the hack and slash action genre. Fortunately, the earlier Connery flix were mostly stronger on character & plot, even up to Live and Let Die w/ Moore. After that, you can talk your Moonraker, your View, your Spy, etc and take a walk. Some goodness returned w/ Dalton & Brosnan but not enough.
    The have now rev-invented the franchise, and thank god for it. It took them 2 movies to make the story arc and they were superbly written, for those who bother to follow plot.
    This is now an Espionage Genre, not an action vehicle as the Brosnan ones were. Its no surprise that Connery's & Craig's favorite Bond movie was From Russia With Love. Simple, low tech, spies on a train film. Elegant.
    Fans of the Bourne flix, speak UP. We now have a new series to get behind. Fans of Wanted and so on, need not apply.

  13. wtfbond says:

    all i can say, since Daniel Craig become the james bond. i dont like the film anymore. james bond is suppose to be calm and cool and with gadgets. that the trademark of all bond movies. if those things are not in that movie. they should have just not used the james bond francise.

  14. nond says:

    i dont like the new james bond movie , since Daniel Craig took over the role. wtf? james bond is suppose to be calm and cool and with gadgets. thats the trademark. without those in bond movie? HATE THE NEW BOND MOVIE AND WERE ITS GOING!!! i want the calm n cool looking bonds movies. i hope the new bond will be a disaster ,haha…..

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