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ChickenStu on Colonel Sun


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#1 ChickenStu

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:31 PM

I read this earlier today. It's a strange book. I think it had the potential to be a GREAT Bond tale, but never fulfilled it's promise. "Robert Markham"'s style is not as assured or unique as Fleming's and one gets the feeling that he was purposely trying to emulate that.

The story itself seems to be a mishmash of Casino Royale and Dr. No in that it's pretty streamlined and straightforward (aswell as having a torture scene, a good portion of the story set on a boat among other similiarites).

Fleming wrote some nasty sequences with a devilish glee that stopped them from being offputting. "Markham" doesn't really have that same gift. 

I'm glad I read the book and with a bit of tweaking I actually think it could probably be worked into a pretty good Bond film.

At times I enjoyed it but other times I was frustrated by it. I have to admit I was somewhat glad when it was over. 

 

I don't know what else to say on the subject really. 



#2 ggl

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 01:29 PM

Best torture scene ever! That´s something else to say... B) ;) :D



#3 Revelator

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 09:17 PM

I read this earlier today. It's a strange book. I think it had the potential to be a GREAT Bond tale, but never fulfilled it's promise. "Robert Markham"'s style is not as assured or unique as Fleming's and one gets the feeling that he was purposely trying to emulate that.

 

What the book lacks is "the Fleming sweep"--the writing is solid and straightforward, but it doesn't have Fleming's propulsive force. That's why the book sags in the middle. Too much of the book is rendered in deliberative dialogue.

 

The story itself seems to be a mishmash of Casino Royale and Dr. No in that it's pretty streamlined and straightforward (aswell as having a torture scene, a good portion of the story set on a boat among other similiarites).

 

Yes, a boat heading toward the island lair of a sadistic Asian villain, as in Dr. No, which Amis especially admired. And since Amis wrote in the James Bond Dossier that Fleming had stopped writing torture scenes because of his critics, Amis made sure to include a good whopper of a torture scene.

 

I'm glad I read the book and with a bit of tweaking I actually think it could probably be worked into a pretty good Bond film.

 

I'm not sure I agree. Back in the 60s, filmmakers could have made the Chinese villains, but now, with the Bond films playing in China, they wouldn't. Additionally, the book is too low-scale and low-tech (far from using gadgets, Amis deliberately used WWII weapons) by the standards of the Bond films.

That said, the book still feels more convincing than any of Gardner's efforts. What it lacks are the Fleming sweep and Fleming's penchant for the bizarre or near-surrealistic. I also feel that the book needed a larger-scale climax like the rock-climbing scene in FYEO, the only Bond film set in Greece.



#4 hoagy

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:29 PM

Once you consider how far afield the films often go in terms of using (or NOT) a book, this one could make a terrific film, as noted above.

 

They'd not demean the Chinese, as noted above.  Funny thing is -- some Chinese might find it a cool thing to have a Chinese supevillain in a Bond film.  Perhaps later on.

 

Point No. 2 might present a challenge in this regard, but the title would be cool enough to use even were the plot and characters scrapped (which certainly has been done before, and NOT just in TSWLM, where it was required by the author [can use title but not the story]).  Not saying -- with CR and its torture scene having been just a couple films ago -- it should be next, but it could be used.  Updated.  Given a grander, more exotic scope.  But, yes, should be used.



#5 ChickenStu

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:33 PM

Colonel Sun film would be a good vehicle to break a new man in on the role of Bond. A modernized Casino Royale style take on the story. Whilst Casino Royale was faithful to the book a lot was added to the story, and a few things were changed. My friend was right above about the Chinese thing. Perhaps to suit what's going on the world today perhaps the focus could be shifted to North Korea? That was where Die Another Day failed so miserably I think. I really want the Bond films to kind of take a look at that again. 

 

I think the tension between North Korea and the rest of the western world is reminiscent of the Cold War in a lot of ways. Ripe territory for taking a look at. 



#6 Revelator

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 11:51 PM

They'd not demean the Chinese, as noted above.  Funny thing is -- some Chinese might find it a cool thing to have a Chinese supevillain in a Bond film.  Perhaps later on.

 

Point No. 2 might present a challenge in this regard, but the title would be cool enough to use even were the plot and characters scrapped (which certainly has been done before, and NOT just in TSWLM, where it was required by the author [can use title but not the story]).  

 

The current Bond films screen in China and derive a sizable chunk of gross from that market, so the producers would probably not take the chance of having the Chinese government play a villainous role (they used the North Koreans as villains in DAD because North Korea was not a viable market for the film). True, the filmmakers could present Colonel Sun as a breakaway villain disobeying his government's orders (like Orlov in Octopussy), but even that might be a risk. Look how Skyfall was censored in China over relatively inoffensive references to the Chinese government. And while some Chinese might like having a Chinese Bond villain, many might be driven into a nationalistic rage at seeing a Chinese bad guy defeated by the great British imperialist 007. The Chinese government is quite good at fostering an atmosphere of extreme nationalism (as seen in the sporadic outbreaks of anti-Japanese hysteria), and I don't think Wilson and Broccoli want to be even slightly on its bad side.

 

Though an adaptation that uses little more than the film's title is possible, I hope those sort of adaptations are a thing of the past. If the book can't be done justice onscreen without lots of distortion, it shouldn't be adapted. What I'd really like to see in a few decades is a TV movie of the novel, set in the late 60s like the original. Masterpiece Theatre has recently aired new TV films of The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes, both of which had been adapted decades earlier into classic films by Alfred Hitchcock. Fleming and Amis would benefit from that approach. TV productions are smaller-scale and cheaper, which means that audiences won't necessarily expect the the modern action-movie style used in newer Bond films (which Amis defiantly avoids) and producers can more easily create different expectations for their work.


Edited by Revelator, 12 February 2014 - 11:54 PM.





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