Friday, April 3, 2015

Film Friday: The Year of Bond

Much of the discussion on 2015 films has been about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But if the newly-released teaser trailer for Spectre is any indication, the newest James Bond flick may be right up there with the others. For the first time in years, we'll see the criminal organization known as SPECTRE, or Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. The group first appeared in the first, and in my opinion one of the better Bond films, Dr. No in 1962. This time, they appear more sinister and less ripe for parody like in the Austin Powers series of the late 90's. And after the events of Skyfall, which I likened to a Bond version of The Dark Knight, the darker tone makes complete sense.

A teaser trailer for Spectre was released last week:

But the film world isn't the only place Bond will be this year. Already, there have been two books involving his creator, Ian Fleming. The nonfiction Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica details how Fleming retreated to the island in the latter half of his life to write the Bond novels and Jamaica's influence on him. The second book, Francine Mathews' fictional Too Bad to Die, is a fun thriller I reviewed earlier this week. While Spectre does not factor into Mathews' book, the Soviet counter-intelligence group SMERSH (a portmanteau of two Russian words meaning "Death to Spies") does.

In September, Anthony Horowitz will debut a Bond novel of his own. The writer, who has received praise for the Sherlock Holmes novels House of Silk and Moriarty and received approval from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate to write them, went a similar route with his yet untitled Bond novel and gained authorization from the Ian Fleming estate.

Of course, there's always the original Bond novels themselves. Audiobook listeners will enjoy the celebrity series that Blackstone Audio released last year of several British celebrities, including Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot) and Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Avengers), reading Fleming's novels. Also, they are short enough that they serve as a great introduction to audiobooks for those looking to try that reading format.

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