By David Beilstein
IF you have not seen Daniel Craig play James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale you need to see it promptly. If you are going to see a James Bond movie in 2012, you should think seriously about seeing 007’s latest upcoming adventure, SkyFall.
Long a Bond fan, I’m looking forward to this movie. I watch Bond movies religiously. Some are fantastic, some in the middle, some others, bad. After 2008’s Quantum of Solace, Barbara Broccoli, Michael Wilson — plus Craig and Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes, appear to have gotten this instalment ‘shaken, not stirred.’
It is not that Quantum of Solace was terrible — it is simply the that in the face of Casino Royale, it paled severely. Casino Royale was a beacon of light for commercial filmmaking. Upon release in 2006, it had been long time since a franchise movie delivered so wonderfully on character, theme, mood, and overall cinematic aesthetics.
Craig, 44, is the consummate Bond. He is brutal and he is moody — in glance, in passion — in violence. It has been a long time, maybe leafing back to Timothy Dalton, when the character was fashioned on the kind of men who could really serve in special operations, intelligence services.
In SkyFall, M’s loyalty comes under scrutiny when her past catches up to her, apparently confirmed by press releases. Craig as Bond, seemingly thought dead from the teaser action, comes back, hopefully, to find all hell has broken lose. The shadowy figure behind the violence and mayhem is the great Javier Bardem, playing blonde-haired, Raoul Silva.
For director Sam Mendes, 47, SkyFall offers a chance to regroup — and impress. In the eyes of critics, Mendes has not lived up to Academy Award winning film, American Beauty. Whilst critics won’t get aroused over a commercial adventure like SkyFall, it will turn heads if it captures the artistic, but strictly genre beauty that was Casino Royale.
Mendes has a good eye and large talent. In trailers, SkyFall looks more impressive than Quantum of Solace. In the end James Bond is only as good as Ian Fleming’s novels. There is grit and moral intrigue there. The novels are not campy adventures torn from the earthiness of humanity. They drip of human nature inside and out.
If Mendes and Craig really went back to that soil — they will have created something memorable.
Complaints followed the release of Casino Royale in 2006 about the feverous action being a copy of the Jason Bourne movies. There are similarities, of course. But in reading the Bond novels of Ian Fleming, I’m convinced the edgy action and demeanour Daniel Craig has brought to his role as Bond is not only faithful to the novels, but needed.
The fans down on Craig’s brooding Bond are clueless. The camp of the Roger Moore series, and Pierce Bronson, will not do in our times. We have seen those movies before and they can be watched when the mood and time strikes.
But it is nice to have a James Bond whom our world would actually give birth too.