Should you be worried about James Bond after the Amazon-MGM merger?
John Logan, is an Oscar-nominated writer, with the likes of writing credits for The Aviator and Gladiator under his belt. Logan has also served his talent for the Bond universe, writing for Skyfall and Spectre. He is also not very happy with the Amazon-MGM merger – writing in a recent New York Time article that if treated like every other franchise, and tailored to wider tastes, the James Bond franchise could get watered down!
The Amazon-MGM Deal on the Table
Logan may have a point – but before we get into it, here are the deets of the deal: Amazon has acquired MGM at a valuation of $US8.45 billion. With this acquisition, Amazon hopes to add a whole library of movies (4,000 exactly) and 17,000 TV shows. According to the deal, Amazon will only have 50% of the franchise with creative control resting with the OGs, Barbara Broccoli and half-brother Michael G. Wilson.
By the siblings’ track record, signing off on production controls doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon, as Broccoli is known to be extremely invested in the production of the Bond movies: “For better or worse, we are the custodians of this character.”
Watch: James Bond to survive Amazon’s MGM takeover
Coming back to Logan’s concerns – the writer points out that Amazon is likely to prioritize market capitalization over other factors. This means that Prime’s place in the competitive streaming market would prompt it to listen to its customers, which is You. But how can that be a bad thing? For starters, this is where Logan compares the works of films like Gladiator, Rango and Hugo. He claims that “these movies were made with passion,“…without ever worrying about synergy or spinoffs or cross-platform marketing.”
And we can sympathize. Take the MCEU for example – for all its grandeur and lovable characters, it’s also known for its obsessive universe building and the need to tie everything together at the end, and present it to its hungry wide-eyed fanbase. The question here is, as Scorcese puts it, “ Where is the Cinema?” Scorcese and Logan represent a school of film-making that values the aesthetic and its ability to confront viewers with the unexpected and unknown! Something that the MCU has come under criticism with relying on its effects-heavy and non-cinematic approach.
Where does this leave James Bond Franchise?
To say that Bond is not cinema would be treason of the highest order. Apart from its over-the-top and campy quality with movies under Roger Moore, the franchise has continued to be culturally and cinematically relevant, making it one of the longest-running franchises. Craig’s interpretation has shown Bond to be grittier, prone to mistakes and in-tune with the aesthetics of post-9/11 political thrillers
Where does that leave you, the viewer? Well for starters, you and all of us, collectively could develop a steelier edge when it comes to demanding content. More is not always better, and interference is certainly not the way to make a beloved piece come to the silver screen.
Viewer support can do good and it has turned the tide on dead-end projects in the past (obvious hint: ZSJL). But for now, Amazon’s buy-out of MGM purely remains a business acquisition to bolster the tech giant’s presence amid the streaming wars. Which leaves us on the sidelines with bated breath to track how it’ll favour the stellar spy.
And you have to admit – minus the hype of whatever Marvel does, the countless tv spinoffs that it has sprouted, aren’t always of the stellar quality. Maybe the gate keepers of Bond’s universe should have continued control of what gets to happen minus the obsession of social media and box office trends. And you and us – we should entrust the franchise to those who have passionately fought for keeping Bond evolving with the times.