John Cleese Highly Critical Of Recent Bond Movies

In a series of recent interviews about his career in film and television John Cleese fondly talked about his involvement with the James Bond movies, but was highly critical of the modern era of Bond saying that they lacked humour.

The one thing I really enjoyed about the close of Pierce Brosnan’s era of playing James Bond was the addition of John Cleese as Q.

We got an introduction to him in ‘The World Is Not Enough’ when Desmond Llewelyn’s Q was grooming him to succeed him and we saw him in full Q mode in ‘Die Another Day.’

I like many people was sadly disappointment when Cleese didn’t get given opportunity to reprise the role for ‘Casino Royale.’

In a series of recent interviews about his career in film and television John Cleese fondly talked about his involvement with the James Bond movies, but was highly critical of the modern era of Bond saying that they lacked humour.

“I didn’t see [Skyfall], because I have criticisms of the new Bond movies,” the Monty Python legend told Shortlist.

“Two things went wrong – the plots became so impossibly obscure that even professional writers couldn’t figure out what they were about, and the action scenes, which are supposed to make the adrenaline run, go on far too long.

“They discovered these movies were popular in places such as the Philippines and South Korea, and so they dropped the humour because no one there is going to understand jokes about the English class system. They’re financially incredibly clever, as the take goes up by $100m every movie, but one of the great things I’ve learnt in the last few years is just how much money spoils everything.”

Cleese praised his experience as part of the James Bond franchise.

“I loved Bond, because that was a very well-run organisation, and they let me contribute to the script,” he said.

Cleese recently released his autobiography, ‘So, Anyway.’

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at: [email protected]
2 Comments on this post.
  • Paula R. Stiles
    29 October 2014 at 12:43 am -

    I like the franchise and I think the new movies have their merits. Also, having seen Daniel Craig in roles where he gets to emote and show lightness, I am impressed by the shut-down way he portrays Bond. That’s not lack of talent. That’s a deliberate and legitimate take on the character.

    But I do think Cleese has a good point about the overlong action sequences and the near-total lack of humor. There are times in the new movies when I feel audio-visually pummeled and even a bit bored, rather than entertained. And there is not enough lightness to break that up.

  • Ian Cullen
    29 October 2014 at 1:21 am -

    Paula I agree. I’ve recently revisited all the Bond movies. Am a typical boy in that I have them all on DVD and the last few they did on Blu Ray.

    Anyway one thing I noticed right off the bat is the fact that it seems to change with the trends. The first ones were kind of harder edged, but still had the bond wit. But by the time you get to ‘You Only Live Twice’ it starts going a bit comic book. Then following on from that is ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’ which is essentially a tragic love story set against the backdrop of a dastardly plan. Then in Diamonds Are Forever we get comic book Bond again.

    Then you get the era of Roger Moore that starts off rather edgy with Live and Let Die and then goes comic book style for best part of three movies before going back to edgy bond for a bit and back to comic book bond for ‘A View To A Kill’.

    Then Timothy Dalton brings us Edgy Bond for two films. The second of which I still find hard to watch to this day because it kind of bored me to tears. Due mostly to the fact that most action films in that era had a drug cartel plot going on.

    You get comic book Bond for all of Peirce Brosnin movies. The last one being the worst and perhaps the 3rd one being his best.

    And we seem to have had a run of three extremely edgy bond films with Craig.

    All this said. Even the edgiest of the ones that Connery, Lazenby, Moore and Brosnin did still had a bit more humour than the recent incarnation. I admired them for their political incorrectness and that is what I think has happens to the new Bond. He’s gone PC and lost his Britishness in that devil may care sort of wit and such.

    Did not like the fact that Q was a 12 year old n the last film.

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