Is it time for James Bond to hang up his sharp suit?

Daniel Craig’s Bond movies have attempted a reboot, yet the old fixtures remain even as other spy franchises have expended the genre’s themes.

In Spectre (2015), the latest James Bond movie, several old tropes make a comeback. SPECTRE, an acronym denoting a shadowy organisation involved in counterintelligence, terrorism, and espionage, last appeared in the Bond film Diamonds are Forever (1971). One of the best Bond villains ever, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the cat-stroking villain often shown with a scarred face, also returns.

Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as the dashing, ruthless spy in Spectre after Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012), will also be his last Bond film. Craig had been critically acclaimed for his portrayal of 007 as vulnerable and unafraid to reveal his confusions and loyalties.

After Spectre, which was plugged as a “reboot” of the series and one of the highest grossing Bond films ever, the search is on for a new Bond. But this isn’t the only challenge for the film’s makers. As Sam Mendes’ directorial ventures with Skyfall and Sceptre showed, success with Bond movies meant trying out the new, yet the old features remain critical: Q, Moneypenny, and not least the gadgets.


The old-fashioned continuity that the James Bond persona represents matters as does the fact of what he represents: a quintessential British symbol. When much of British glory has faded, Bond stays on, only a trifle jaded, but yet necessary, much like the royalty itself. Something precisely underscored by the opening sequence of the London Summer Olympics of 2012, when Craig as Bond appeared together with Elizabeth II, in a helicopter ride and parachute dive, assisted ably by stuntmen.

But to balance history while seeking to adapt and remain constantly ahead of new challenges can be a hard balancing act. Almost as if aware of this, some spy films have preferred to focus on the comic. The Bond films have led to a range of parodies, the most famous being the Austin Powers films where the main character was inspired by Sean Connery’s Bond. Blofeld appears as Dr Evil, Frau Farbissina is a remake of stiletto-stabbing Rosa Klebb, and the henchman Oddjob (of Goldfinger) is called Random Task who throws a shoe and not a bowler hat.

‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’.

The historical fiction-cum-spy film movies have moved the genre to entirely new directions. Movies like Argo (2012) and more recently Bridge of Spies (2015) are human dramas mirroring the complexity and amorality required in the volatile, high stakes game of espionage, when undercover moves must coexist with overt diplomacy.

In the last decade, drone warfare, advanced surveillance techniques and more ruthless and controversial enemies haven’t made the spy’s role redundant but considerably complicated it. The terrorist as enemy makes war a more ambiguous, violent and visual proposition, even as it is more distant. Spies would find it hard to operate as a lone wolf – with one caveat: unless the enemy is someone very familiar, usually the parent organisation. Such a scenario unfolds in the first Mission: Impossible movie, the first three Bourne films based on Robert Ludlum’s novels, and in Taken III, starring Liam Neeson in a trilogy. But in most instances, confronted by a largely unknown, fast-changing world, spy films have reverted to the familiar tropes.

In Mission: Impossible (1996), Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt fights to absolve himself of charges of killing his fellow agents. Hunt works with Luther Stickell – a computer hacker, more indispensable than Q – and also Benji Dunn and Willy Brandt to stop in time the theft of a viral antidote, thwart a global nuclear war and most recently in Rogue Nation, battles a Spectre-like organisation called the Syndicate.

‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’.

A fifth Bourne film, Jason Bourne, starring Matt Damon, will be released this year, while Mission: Impossible VI is due to start production. In the first three Bourne films, an amnesiac Bourne finds himself targetted by his own agency (and a rogue agency much on the lines of the Syndicate and Spectre) and fights to save himself and learn the truth as well. The first three Jack Ryan movies (1995-2014) based on Tom Clancy’s novels, involved the traditional US-Russia rivalry, Northern Ireland conflict, and then the drug cartels of Colombia.

The last two Ryan films were in the nature of a reboot, but Russia returns as the ubiquitous enemy. In The Sum of All Fears (2002), a rather mysterious person becomes president of Russia; in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014), Ryan is a CIA operative and Wall Street analyst who chances on a Russian tycoon’s shady investments that threaten to shake up global markets.

In its five seasons, the Homeland television series takes on more recent conflicts and new ways of fighting new enemies. Lead agent Carrie Mathison suspects Nicholas Brody of having sympathies with Al-Qaeda, as he has spent time in captivity with them. The complexity lies in the fact that the protagonists, trained in psychological warfare and mind games, believe they can cross lines easily.


Spy movies have learnt well how their own world works, but the world around them has changed much too fast, especially in the last decade.

Of all spy movies, the Bond movies face the challenge of moving on, with the times and also changing audiences. There are, for instance, more action sequences in the later Bond movies, in place of dour British humour. And the old remains relevant too, as do the gadgets; Sceptre sees a return of the iconic Ashton Martin db10, a fixture in several Bond movies.

Another “familiar” character that could arguably return and make the Bond films more synchronous with hard reality is the CIA agent last seen in Never Say Never Again (1983): Felix Leiter. But American agents by themselves cannot rid the world of evil, even if Bond comes always to their able assistance. Bond movies need to move on beyond having Asians as villainous dictators and warlords; i.e, Chinese intelligence agents more into kick-boxing such as Wai Lan, the uber-spy and able Bond ally in The World is Not Enough (1997), rather than Peaceful Fountains of Desire, the undercover masseuse in Die Another Day (2002).

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It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday

Here are some great destinations for you to consider.

Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:

March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto

For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.

Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.

If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.

June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago

Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.

Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.

If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.

August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival

Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.

The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.

October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas

About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.

It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.