I wasn't completely convinced when I first heard that Daniel Craig was going to be the new James Bond. Well actually first I had to go google him to find out who he was but after finding out he was the dude from Tomb Raider I really didn't see him as being a good fit with the Bond franchise.
I mean it was bad enough he was a new Bond replacing a fan favorite in Pierce Brosnan who was just a natural fit with the suave, debonair charm but then Craig just didn't look the part of a Bond. Maybe they should have gone with a Jude Law even a Ewan Mcgregor hell even a Mike Myers might be better than Daniel Craig. Yeaaahhh Baby!
It wasn't just the blond hair and blue eyes but he just didn't have the style of the others. He came off as this rough cat, ready to rumble not the oh so cool, unflappable under pressure Bond of a Connery, or Moore or Brosnan. Were they sure they got it right?
Well the 40 Million that the movie made this weekend and the critics reviews say that they did get it right. And I agree.
I saw the movie on Friday and its actually pretty good and a great fit for Craig as the new Bond.
The movie plays to Craig's talents. Sure in the beginning his presence seemed a bit unsettling to me especially when they focus on those steely blue eyes but as time wears on he looks more and more Bond. This is a whole new Bond though, not as charming, not as unflappable, a more realistic super agent.
Craig's Bond is in some ways the antithesis of Brosnan's Bond. I mean Die Another Day starts with Brosnan's Bond imprisoned and tortured for years and that Bond while wrinkled and shabby still manages to emerge looking rather cool and unrattled. Craig on the other hand is "bruised, battered and scarred but hard" from the movie's fast paced start to the end. Constantly bloodied, bullied and tortured but yet still showing the renowned Bond resolve to solve the puzzle and get his man ...or woman.
He fights roughly, he killed roughly. This Bond is not smooth, he's ready to die like Biggie, he's a thug. He fights frantically like his life is on the line and in most cases it is. He doesn't have time for the sophisticated stuff and the gadgets, or the pretense that everything will be ok. He's a brawler and you feel the raw intensity of his fights.
And in the ladies department? Everyone knows the Bond who charms the pantalones off the ladies. The player Bond! Well this Bond is less of a player than his predecessors. He's less smooth. Moreso seeming to annoy the ladies than overwhelm them with his charm as illustrated by one of my favorite exchanges in the movie between him and Bond girl Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green.
Lynd " So will I have any more trouble from you Mr Bond?"
Bond: "No you're not my type."
Lynd: "What smart?"
Bond: "No single"
The supporting cast in this movie is quite good as well. Green makes a great Bond girl actually rising above the average. Judi Densch gives her usual commanding performance and my boy Jeffrey Wright (aka Peoples Hernandez for all you Shaft fans) gets a nice little role too although he's under-utilized.
And what is Bond without a good villain? I've always liked the fact that Bonds villains are always villainous looking. You can never mistake them for the good guy because there is always some disturbing physical trait they carry that immediate stamps them as somehow evil. Casino Royale's Le Chiffre is no different and Mads Mikkesen does an excellent job with that portrayal.
Still the movie comes down to Craig's Bond. Craig's Bond shows a vulnerability that the other Bonds didn't. He's hesitant, he makes mistakes, he gets played, he's more human than the others. This isn't your usual Bond but it works because of Craig and the script as this movie is more about a young double-0 on his first real mission. Question is will it work as the series moves on and we see a Bond with more experience under his belt.