Long Live James Bond

The recent cover story of Entertainment Weekly featured Agent 007 caught in the crosshairs of an assassin's gun with the ominous headline "Goodbye Mr. Bond." The article examined how the auction of the MGM studio might mean the end of the James Bond franchise.  Fans of the suave secret agent should have no fear, however.  Bond, James Bond, will be around for a long time, even if the timing of his next motion picture is in current doubt.

It is stunning that MGM has fallen into such financial dire straits, given the fact that the last two Bond movies made over a billion dollars worldwide.  Ian Fleming's character has become an internationally known icon that will endure even if his studio falls by the wayside. 

James Bond has reached the same level of cultural dominance as Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, Superman, and Dracula, sure to survive in people's imaginations for generations. 

The James Bond franchise is arguably the longest running film series in movie history.  Six actors have brought the character to life (not counting the non-canon protrayals by David Niven, Barry Nelson, etc.) 

Sean Connery was the first, setting the standard for all who followed.  He starred in Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds Are Forever.  I even liked his performance in the under-appreciated, non-canon Never Say Never Again

George Lazenby's sole performance as James Bond was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which was much maligned for years but has now been recognized as one of the finer depictions of the character. 

Roger Moore brought a popualr, tongue-in-cheek depiction for a number of films, including Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill

Timothy Dalton had the misfortune of starring in the franchise during a period when political correctness motivated the filmmakers to dilute the character and make him almost unrecognizable, and a lot less fun.  Dalton's movies, The Living Daylights and License to Kill, were huge disappointments. 

But if that did not bury the James Bond legacy, surely nothing will.  Pierce Brosnan resurrected the character in a string of blockbusters that returned Agent 007 to glory: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.

Daniel Craig then became the new Bond in a successful reboot of the series that attempted to abandon some of the more cartoonish and cliched elements of the saga.  As I mentioned before, his two motion pictures, Casino Royale and the awkwardly titled Quantum of Solace, earned a windfall of money throughout the world.

James Bond will be back someday, with or without MGM.  Many directors and writers would do anything for the chance to tell a James Bond story.  Anyone would be crazy not to recognize the franchise's continuing potential.  If the villainous organization SPECTRE failed to kill the character, surely he can survive a movie studio's business struggles.

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