So, we have a new James Bond. Brit actor Daniel Craig was introduced last week as the new 007—and the first blond Bond at that. And Pierce Brosnan, still shaken and stirred over his surprise sacking after four films in the title role, is now a bit of film history.

On announcing their choice for the new Bond, a Sony Pictures press release called Craig "a superb actor who has all the qualities needed to bring a contemporary edge to the role." The release also promised that Craig's debut in Casino Royale next fall "will have all the action, suspense and espionage that our audiences have come to expect from us but nevertheless takes the franchise in a new and exciting direction."

The cynical among us aren't so quick to buy it. Press releases trumpeting big changes! are as common in Hollywood as power smoothies and fitness gurus. Studios are always eyeing the bottom line, and if an actor, direction or hair color gets in the way, they're jettisoned faster than you can say "Timothy Dalton."

But such changes are often merely cosmetic, because studios aren't about to mess with a sure thing. Hollywood's Golden Rule decrees that if a picture finds even moderate success, the formula must be used again. Would Sony dare to make serious changes to the most successful franchise in film history? Hardly.

But what about us Bond fans who'd like to see some "serious changes." What about those of us who've watched Dr. No and From Russia With Love a dozen times, who remember characters like Goldfinger, Oddjob and the diabolical Ernst Stavros Blofeld? What about fans who long for a return to taut, tightly directed Bond thrillers just over-the-top enough to be entertaining (like the Fleming novels they were based upon)—and who are long ...

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