Ever since Daniel Craig was announced as the new James Bond for the 21st installment of Her Majesty’s Top double 0 agent, it seems that the naysayers have come out in droves, but then again, when hasn’t the announcement of the next James Bond been surrounded with controversy. . .I guess some people have nothing better to do. The real 먹튀 comes from the popularity of this.
Sony pictures decided to hand the movie back over to Michael Campbell, the man that got Pierce Brosnan’s feet wet in his first turn as agent 007 in GOLDENEYE, and what a great choice they made.
Right from the very first scene you know that this James Bond is not like any other you’ve seen before, as no other Bond film has had a beginning. As such tone is everything, and the pressure to get it right was higher then ever, and both Campbell and Craig nail it!
This is the first time that we’ve seen an unrefined James Bond, or as Judi Dench (playing the best M yet) describes him early on, “A blunt instrument.” And so a new James Bond is born.
Craig is a very talented actor moving effortlessly from being a spineless son of a mod boss in THE ROAD TO PERDITION to a sleek unnamed anti-hero in the middle of the drug underworld of the United Kingdom in LAYERCAKE, and he displays his talents well as he reinvents and grows into what we all know James Bond to be.
The fact that this movie was going to be different was quickly evident when they show Bond driving a. . .Ford?? Oh don’t worry, he gets his Aston Martin soon enough (how he does it, is a great scene), and it is truly wonderful as we get the pleasure of seeing his transformation throughout this movie.
The movie opens with an amazing chase scene through Madagascar on foot as Craig is tracking Sebastian Foucan (one of the Top free runners in the world). As far as athleticism, Bond is no match, but he uses his perception and quick wit to out think his opponent and get his man at the end of this chase that will leave you breathless.
The fight scenes of this film are outstanding, no slow motion, or cut action scenes, just real time brutal fighting where Craig has to use his physical abilities to not only kill the bad guys, but also not be killed, all the while getting battered and bruised (there is a torture scene which you have to see to truly appreciate what Craig’s Bond must go through).
The plot line was also a refreshing first, as Bond is not assigned to capture or kill a foe that was bent on world domination, or starting WW III or some other form of “Dr Evil” stereotypical super villian. The bad guy (played by Mads Mikkelson) is a man that uses money from terrorist organizations and plays in high stakes poker games and splits the winnings with the terrorists, and up to this point has never lost. Mads does a great job playing a gambler that feels like he cannot lose, yet knows that his days are numbered. There is nothng forced in the story, as the main focal point is to see James Bond mature from a top agent to a true double 0.
Judi Dench, as always, plays M to the T. Her chemistry with Craig’s Bond is one of a coach watching and molding a player into something greater then she’s ever experienced.
Eva Green plays Bond’s love interest and does it like none before her. She is not simply arm candy, she’s actually very well matched with Craig. There is a part in the 3rd act where the movie slows and moves from action to romance (before the final action sequence . . .in Venice . . .in a building. . .that is falling. . .into the water . .while everyone is inside). At first this romantic interlude felt awkward and misplaced, but as the movie ends you realize that this was a very important part of what makes James Bond who he is.
So how would I rate this film? Put it this way, this is the first James Bond movie that I couldn’t wait to see a second time, romantic 3rd act and all. I can’t wait to see the next installment of James Bond as we continue to watch Daniel Craig evolve into, Bond, James Bond.