The Purchase of MGM

Amazon.com has acquired MGM which means they have purchased the back catalogue of films which means (redux) that they now own the James Bond films.

Screenwriter John Logan, who worked on both Skyfall and the (IMHO) abysmal Spectre, had some thoughts about that and wrote an opinion piece lamenting/worrying about what that might mean to the long running franchise.

Over at deadline.com, Tom Grater writes about Mr. Logan’s thoughts:

James Bond writer warns that Amazon’s MGM deal could dilute franchise: “Let James Bond drink his Martini’s in peace”

In essence Mr. Logan’s fealty is with the Broccolis, who have controlled the James Bond franchise since its inception, and worries that if some corporate overlord worms their way into decisions regarding the franchise -versus continued control by the Broccolis- the brand may be diluted.

His worry isn’t far off. We’ve seen what’s happened -some good, some pretty bad- following George Lucas selling his ownership of the Star Wars franchise to Disney.

Certainly one thing that does seem to happen with these well known franchises that are acquired by studios is that there is an effort to maximize releases of new material and, hopefully, then make the brand even more profitable.

Mr. Logan likely worries that there might be a Miss Moneypenny TV show/movie down the road or perhaps something with Q or M. Given the way Disney is now releasing movies based on villains of their popular movies (Cruella being the latest release), might there not be the possibility of a Goldfinger (the villain) movie? Or perhaps something with Blofeld?

I can see Mr. Logan’s worry…

…but…

The fact of the matter is that the James Bond movie franchise has existed since the very early 1960’s. There have been great James Bond films. There have been mediocre James Bond films. And, yes, there have been pretty abysmal James Bond films (looking at you, Spectre).

There was a time when the James Bond films were the state-of-the-art action/adventure films but that, it seems, hasn’t been the case for quite some time.

The wonder surrounding the franchise -which for many years was the only movie franchise out there- IMHO has lost that luster.

James Bond films were essentially lost in the wilderness following Pierce Brosnan’s run. If it wasn’t for the success of the Matt Damon Bourne movies and the franchise using them as a template, perhaps the James Bond franchise might have faded away anyway.

Much as I love Casino Royale, the first and best of the Daniel Craig Bonds, it was clearly a film that benefitted tremendously from using elements found in the Bourne films.

What followed, sadly, has proven disappointing to me. Quantum of Solace was a slick looking film with some good action sequences but a story which was murky… and that’s being kind. Granted, the movie was a victim of a writer’s strike, but still. Skyfall, as I’ve noted before, I absolutely loved when I saw it in theaters upon its initial release. However, the moment the film was over and I thought about what I just saw, I realized that movie’s plot was complete nonsense as well and my opinion of the film has subsequently dropped.

And Spectre, as I’ve mentioned twice before above, I felt was absolutely abysmal, easily IMHO the worst Bond film ever made.

Would more Bondian works dilute the franchise?

I suppose its possible but I wonder if it matters at this point. The James Bond franchise seems to move in waves, sometimes good sometimes forgettable/bad.

Could more James Bond make the franchise better or worse?

Either is possible, certainly, but given the very long history to date, I wonder if audiences will be as preoccupied about that as Mr. Logan is.

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