Why hasn't Eon been able to hire great writers?

Absolutely_CartAbsolutely_Cart NJ/NYC, United StatesPosts: 1,740MI6 Agent
Why are action movies able to spend 100+ million dollars on CGI, set pieces and such, but will barely spend any money hiring a good writer?

Writing is one of the most important parts of film, and it effectively dictates both the characters and the atmosphere. The fact that they get paid probably as much as just a stunt car or two.

If you put Cart in charge of Eon: Day 1 - I will host an open contest on who can write the absolute best most original Bond script possible. The winner gets $10 million dollars. Or if that's not feasible, I'd hire award-winning novelists - not film writers - to write the script.

When I look at the Bond films, a lot of the action is unrivaled, but how many of them can I say are original, fresh, unique or intellectually stimulating. In fact, a dozen of them are Goldfinger clones. A franchise that's a household name with so many resources available to it, unable to take big creative risks is not easy for me to accept. A number of directors and actors declined (or almost declined) because they knew what a Bond film entailed.

With the Bond franchise, once you've seen one or two, you've seen most of them. The plots are predictable. We know one Bond girl will die and one will be Bond's lover. We know Bond will cordially meet a villain, snoop on his activities, get kidnapped by him, escape and then kill him. We know the movie will have a chase sequence in the middle, an evil lair at the climax and a happy ending. How many Bond movies were there in which one wouldn't be able to predict what happens to the characters in the 2nd half? What's the incentive of watching a SPY film if you've already figured out the mystery.

How many Bond movies can I say had a story that was exceptional?

From Russia With Love
Goldfinger
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
The Living Daylights
The World Is Not Enough
Casino Royale 2006

That's only 6 films out of 23.

I can still appreciate movies like Live and Let Die, which are super-fun, but when the majority of films end up like that, it's simply a matter of which films do the formula best. And as a result, you have clear winners like The Spy Who Loved Me. And clear losers like Die Another Day and Diamonds Are Forever. I'm a fan of the series. I'm not trying to bash it - just providing some constructive criticism.

Bad institutions (such as lazy movie writing) only exist because we stand for them.
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Comments

  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    I've been very happy with the scripts -{ you apparently have only been
    Happy with six !........ Perhaps the Bond films are for you ? Have you ever
    thought of that ? ;)
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,217Chief of Staff
    Maybe they're simply looking for writers who're prepared to work within the guidelines they're given. If the film makes heaps of money, then the job has been done and they'll probably hire the same writers again... and again. This seems to be what has happened and will probably continue happening.
  • Absolutely_CartAbsolutely_Cart NJ/NYC, United StatesPosts: 1,740MI6 Agent
    I am a Bond fan.

    I'm just suprised why a series with A+ action, A+ villains and A+ gadgets would settle for a C- plot?
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,217Chief of Staff
    Also, MGW wrote several of the films when Cubby was in charge, an in-house writer working with veteran Richard Maibaum, and continues to chip in these days uncredited.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    " C-" is of course your opinion, and not a " Fact" ;) all opinions are
    subjective, so although interesting carry no more weight, than Me
    telling everyone I'm georgous. ;) it's all in the Eye of the beholder. :)
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • OrnithologistOrnithologist BerlinPosts: 583MI6 Agent
    I largely agree with the original post. Switch out TWINE for GE and you have my six favourite Bond movies. Hardly a coincidence. Recently, it has been mentioned in the Pierce Brosnan appreciation threads ( :) ) how much better his tenure would've been with better writing. So I think you definitely have a point.
    "I'm afraid I'm a complicated woman. "
    "- That is something to be afraid of."
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    edited October 2015
    I really must be a lone voice here on AJB, I love the films, music, actors
    scripts etc. Where as almost everyone else finds fault with them !
    So far Spectre hasn't even been released and we've had threads and posts
    about the awful CGI, the terrible Newman score, how the gun barrel will look
    crap .... And so on.
    Others who have only seen a couple of films seem, content to be expert enough
    To give long winded critiques of films they haven't even seen ! :#
    ... Sorry I'm rambling, but I get so frustrated, when supposed fans rip these films
    Films apart. God help us all if the producers ever listened to the half baked ideas
    coming from these fans, who seem unhappy with every single aspect of them.
    So we get yet another " How crap are the Bond films " thread X-( Honestly I
    Really can't see what some members here get out of the Bond films, when in their
    Opinions, they're Badly made, badly directed, badly shot, have crap music, weak
    Actors and bad editing !
    There it's off my chest. Please resume your assassination of the Film series. :#
    Infact I was only thinking this morning until joining AJB, I didn't even had a top ten
    Bond films list, I just loved Bond films, perhaps I was happier in my own little world,
    and maybe because these imperfect films helped me through some bad times, I'm
    too emotional about them, That maybe I should take a bit of a Break from AJB, until
    after Spectre has been released, as all these negative posts. Are just " Doing my head
    In" .
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • superdaddysuperdaddy englandPosts: 917MI6 Agent
    Go and have a play with the tambourine old son you will feel better :)) :))
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    :)) Can't the floors not safe with all the toys I've thrown out of the pram :))
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • superdaddysuperdaddy englandPosts: 917MI6 Agent
    It's all the excitement for the new film, it's just got a little to much for :))
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    https://youtu.be/JddNDtC-Yrs
    From now on I'll use the Mrs Brown approach " That's Nice!" :D
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Absolutely_CartAbsolutely_Cart NJ/NYC, United StatesPosts: 1,740MI6 Agent
    God help us all if the producers ever listened to the half baked ideas
    coming from these fans, who seem unhappy with every single aspect of them.
    So we get yet another " How crap are the Bond films " thread X-( Honestly I
    Really can't see what some members here get out of the Bond films, when in their
    Opinions, they're Badly made, badly directed, badly shot, have crap music, weak
    Actors and bad editing !
    There it's off my chest. Please resume your assassination of the Film series.

    I don't understand how constructive criticism is an assassination. When we're looking at something, whether it's a business, or a relationship or anything, if you have 50 positive attributes and 1 negative (but fixable attributes), wouldn't it make sense to make some sort of effort to fix that?

    Note how I'm not asking Eon to give me everything I want. All I'm asking them is to hire a good writer, which isn't hard. I don't care what the story is about, or what genres influence it. Just make it good and original. If they can get a million dollars to smash a couple of a Italian sports cars, they can afford the finest writers on the planet.
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    That's Nice :D
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • danjaq_0ffdanjaq_0ff The SwampsPosts: 7,283MI6 Agent
    Tff TP :D :D :D
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,596MI6 Agent
    Whatever you may think of You Only Live Twice (I think it's pretty amazing), you can't say that EoN didn't hire a great writer for that film: Roald Dalh.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • Thunderbird 2Thunderbird 2 East of Cardiff, Wales.Posts: 2,777MI6 Agent
    Oh dear, it's another one of those threads! :D

    The only film that has a Bond character that is badly written is CR-67. I like to think we can all agree it's a psychedelic mess! The others vary in style and flow. Different writers, and of course the series has changed and developed over the decades.

    I frown on the excessively crass puns in DAD, M-Manf's being everywhere in QoS, and the stupid last quarter of Skyfall. But these are annoying niggles. Every Bond film has one moment that seems a bit iffy, some subtle (the back projection used in Goldfinger, the buggy wheel in shot in DAF) others are somewhat blatant (Osato's "Ah Sowing" in YOLT, Mr Big's make up in LALD, Elvis being an ineptly underwhelming character in QoS, that Bloody torch in SF!)
    But these things are all part of the mix. Every Bond film has a triumphant moment, every Bond film has a say what moment. It's part of the celebration of The House of Eon's work.
    If the Bond films got everything 100% correct,* every time, they would become boring. The effort is always there, on the screen. Even then mistakes can happen in writing and production.

    Of course, it also asks the question, who would be your definition of a good Bond writer? - I am sorry to say Mr Fleming has been dead for 50 years!

    * I still feel CR-06 is pretty damned close!
    This is Thunderbird 2, how can I be of assistance?
  • OrnithologistOrnithologist BerlinPosts: 583MI6 Agent
    Others who have only seen a couple of films seem, content to be expert enough
    To give long winded critiques of films they haven't even seen ! :#

    If you mean this thread in particular, I find this mildly exaggerated... :#

    I admire how you love every film in the series, but even you have favorites. For some of us, being a fan also means that we rate them by the highest standards. We want them to be "perfect" because we see so much potential in our favorite series. Sometimes however, mistakes are made and hence, not all Bond films are equal. I think it's fair to talk about why, and what could be improved. The general audience doesn't even care that much. It's the same as with sports teams, for example. Fans can talk day and night about what they are doing wrong on the pitch, but still support them religiously all the same. Sometimes a bit of critique is necessary to win a World Cup (the movie equivalent of which was achieved with Casino Royale, imho).
    "I'm afraid I'm a complicated woman. "
    "- That is something to be afraid of."
  • broadshoulderbroadshoulder Acton, London, UKPosts: 1,363MI6 Agent
    Over the last three films I would have been very happy with Purvis and Wade. Working with Paul Haggis and John Logan have produced excellents scripts

    1999-2002. A different ball game

    Workig with Michael Apteds wife on TWINE and listening to Tamahoris bullying on DAD gave them ropey scripts. There were genuine calls for their dismissal after DAD.

    But the films since Casino Royale have worked well. I am almost prepared to forgive them the "invisible car" in DAD. The boys have done well...
    1. For Your Eyes Only 2. The Living Daylights 3 From Russia with Love 4. Casino Royale 5. OHMSS 6. Skyfall
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    Some new thread suggestions ...
    Why hasn't EON been able to hire great Directors ?
    Editors, Composers, actors, outdoor catering, special effects,
    Portable Toilets, greener grass, bluer skies, better pauses between
    Dialogue sequences, wetter water for swimming scenes, Better Fonts
    during title sequences, ............ Better rain for bad weather scenes,
    Better fabrics for costumes, a better cat for Stacy in AVTAK, .... Better
    gravel for driveway shots, better use of gravy boats during meals,
    Better toilet rolls, better use of playing cards, ......
    Oh Cubby Broccoli's EON productions, stop doing Bond wrong !
    So many others know how to make the most successful movie series, sooooo
    Much better ! :))
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • superdaddysuperdaddy englandPosts: 917MI6 Agent
    "That's nice" :))
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,792MI6 Agent
    :)) Can't wait to read some of these new exciting script ideas, from all
    These critics {[]
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • eric7064eric7064 USAPosts: 343MI6 Agent
    I see what the OP is saying, but I think it comes down to this. This series is now 24 films. Not all of them can be perfect. Not all of them will be great in everyone's eyes. Just take a look at the ranking thread of Bond movies and see the differences of opinion there. I love MR, DAD is not in my bottom 5. I see others who LOVE LTK/TLD and Love TND. Some people hate Brosnan some people think hes the best Bond ever.

    We all have such varying opinions which is what makes this site fun. We are all BOND fans, and I would say since we are on a forum talking about it we are devoted Bond fans. But what fun would it be if we all liked each and every movie the same? The main thing is all Bond films, every single one of the 23, soon to be 24 have a special place in my heart and I have fond moments watching ALL of them, isnt that all we can ask for?
  • blame_thatcherblame_thatcher Posts: 199MI6 Agent
    We're getting better scripts these days than we were in the Brosnan era.
  • Miles MesservyMiles Messervy Posts: 1,758MI6 Agent
    eric7064 wrote:
    I see what the OP is saying, but I think it comes down to this. This series is now 24 films. Not all of them can be perfect. Not all of them will be great in everyone's eyes. Just take a look at the ranking thread of Bond movies and see the differences of opinion there. I love MR, DAD is not in my bottom 5. I see others who LOVE LTK/TLD and Love TND. Some people hate Brosnan some people think hes the best Bond ever.

    We all have such varying opinions which is what makes this site fun. We are all BOND fans, and I would say since we are on a forum talking about it we are devoted Bond fans. But what fun would it be if we all liked each and every movie the same? The main thing is all Bond films, every single one of the 23, soon to be 24 have a special place in my heart and I have fond moments watching ALL of them, isnt that all we can ask for?

    {[]
  • chrisisallchrisisall Western Mass, USAPosts: 9,061MI6 Agent
    We're getting better scripts these days than we were in the Brosnan era.
    Yeah, and too bad only QOS rates well along side GE & TND as a film. :D
    Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool.
    #1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.GF 4.GE 5.DN 6.FYEO 7.FRWL 8.TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT/QOS
  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 577MI6 Agent
    Why are action movies able to spend 100+ million dollars on CGI, set pieces and such, but will barely spend any money hiring a good writer?

    Perhaps because in a modern action movie the script is just an clothesline on which to hang stunts devised by the director, second-unit director, or producers.
    But that answer is unsatisfactory, because the Bond movies have employed good scriptwriters, starting with Richard Maibaum. Along the way we've had contributions from noted writers and screenwriters like Paul Dehn (Goldfinger), Harold Jack Bloom (YOLT), Simon Raven (OHMSS), George MacDonald Fraser (Octopussy), Donald Westlake and Nicholas Meyer (TND), and John Logan (Skyfall). In some cases--as with Raven and Dehn--the writers' ideas were used in the movie. In others--Westlake and Fraser--they were barely utilized. Why? Because the Bond films are controlled by the producers, who accept or reject what they please and determine how much control the director has over the script.
    Purvis and Wade have a good reputation in the industry, and many Bond fans don't seem to realize that their scripts have never reached the screen without major interference from the producers, directors, and other screenwriters.
    If you put Cart in charge of Eon: Day 1 - I will host an open contest on who can write the absolute best most original Bond script possible. The winner gets $10 million dollars. Or if that's not feasible, I'd hire award-winning novelists - not film writers - to write the script.

    We've already had an award-winning novelist write a film--Roald Dahl. And his Bond film turned out to be the opposite of original, because the producers wanted something true to the successful formula they'd established.
    Just because someone is an award-winning novelist doesn't mean they'll be a good screenwriter. If you take a look at the careers of the greatest screenwriters, ranging from Ben Hecht to Robert Towne, you won't find any great novels. Novels and screenplays are radically different media.
    When I look at the Bond films, a lot of the action is unrivaled, but how many of them can I say are original, fresh, unique or intellectually stimulating. In fact, a dozen of them are Goldfinger clones.

    True--and that's exactly what the producers and the public wanted. What makes money is what gets produced. It's not an accident that the Bond films with original, exceptional stories--such as OHMSS or the Dalton films--have grossed less money than other films in the series. You might say the Craig films are an exception, but even they conform to modern formulas recently established by the Bourne and Nolan Batman films. They're original in the context of the Bond sub-genre, but not in that of the wider action genre.
  • heartbroken_mr_draxheartbroken_mr_drax New Zealand Posts: 2,073MI6 Agent
    We're getting better scripts these days than we were in the Brosnan era.

    I think we're getting better direction too. It appears that EON are providing a greater level of creative control to the directors. This is evident from CR on - and especially with the fact Sam Mendes is using his own tried and true collaborator in Thomas Newman instead David Arnold.

    "Good writers", whoever they are, probably avoid Bond films because they're essentially written by committee, with many people chipping in and keeping the story on the typical song sheet. Cubby Broccoli alludes this in that long TSWLM doco.
    1. TWINE 2. FYEO 3. MR 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. OHMSS 7. DN 8. OP 9. AVTAK 10. TMWTGG 11. QoS 12. GE 13. CR 14. TB 15. FRWL 16. TND 17. LTK 18. GF 19. SF 20. LaLD 21. YOLT 22. NTTD 23. DAD 24. DAF. 25. SP

    "Better make that two."
  • broadshoulderbroadshoulder Acton, London, UKPosts: 1,363MI6 Agent
    We're getting better scripts these days than we were in the Brosnan era.

    I think we're getting better direction too. I.

    better casting too. No more Christmas Jones or Jinxs'
    1. For Your Eyes Only 2. The Living Daylights 3 From Russia with Love 4. Casino Royale 5. OHMSS 6. Skyfall
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,217Chief of Staff
    Perhaps the question should be "Why hasn't Eon been willing to hire great writers?" - and the answer is, because they are quite satisfied with the end results.
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,596MI6 Agent
    We're getting better scripts these days than we were in the Brosnan era.

    I think we're getting better direction too. It appears that EON are providing a greater level of creative control to the directors. This is evident from CR on - and especially with the fact Sam Mendes is using his own tried and true collaborator in Thomas Newman instead David Arnold.

    "Good writers", whoever they are, probably avoid Bond films because they're essentially written by committee, with many people chipping in and keeping the story on the typical song sheet. Cubby Broccoli alludes this in that long TSWLM doco.

    I agree with this. The Brosnan films were so weak because Barbara and Michael were in charge, and the directors had much less power than they have on Craig's films (especially Mendes).

    When Cubby was around, it was done more television show style. Cubby was the showrunner and the directors were merely production men. But Cubby really knew what he was doing.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
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