Spectre, the 24th James Bond film, released this past month. I’ve been a huge fan of the Daniel Craig series and other than some of the novels and Pierce Brosnan films, I’ve honestly never paid too much attention to the character. After having just watched Spectre, some of my memories of James Bond were shaken and stirred. Here are my musings on everything from GoldenEye, the 007 of my PlayStation years, Madonna, and Daniel Craig’s latest outing as James Bond in Spectre.
*Please keep in mind this is a work based on my own opinions and experiences with the character of James Bond. Feel free to tweet me at @reggiemantleIII and comment below with your thoughts.
I didn’t see GoldenEye in the movie theaters. It wasn’t until 97’s Tomorrow Never Dies that I cared about seeing Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as 007. I remember the popular N64 (Nintendo 64) video game and of how everyone loved it, but my first video game unit, besides Atari, was the Sony PlayStation.
Despite not seeing GoldenEye in theaters or playing the N64 classic (I’ve played Reloaded for the Playstation 3), I remember when I first saw it on VHS my immediate reaction was “This is what James Bond is all about.”
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Tomorrow Never Dies was an exciting movie for me, especially since I had the PlayStation video game. I got the game a little before Christmas from my parents and loved it. I have never been a First Person Shooter (FPS) type as I’ve always preferred third person. This was the first modern game to present James Bond in third person and allow you to drive the car. This was so much fun playing and I remember wanting to be 007 at this point in time, suit and all. Tomorrow Never Dies might have actually been the first game that I ever beat, as well.
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
It’s funny to think of how much of my James Bond memories revolve around the video games. Four words? Forgettable movie. Fun game.
I also learned how to play black jack from this game.
Die Another Day (2002)
I’ve never actually seen Die Another Day, but this is my favorite Bond movie because it has Madonna. She’s the best Bond Girl. Madonna plays Verity, the muscle bound fencing instructor to Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike). According to Madonna, Verity is the only woman James Bond has never bedded.
If you have ever seen the music video, one has to wonder why Madonna didn’t get an action movie vehicle during this time, because that would have been really cool. Say what you will about her, but she definitely had and still has the physicality to pull it off. There was initially certain discussion on whether or not Halle Berry’s Jinx would get a spin-off. That didn’t happen. Maybe because it should have been Verity.
Casino Royale (2006)
Casino Royale was the first 007 movie that was an actual film and one that I really cared about. One year after Warner Bros. rebooted the Batman film series and we were getting a soft reboot of Bond. Starring Daniel Craig, I remember how many people were absolutely furious that he was cast. Does anyone remember DanielCraigIsNotBond.com or something like that?
As soon as Mr. Craig was announced, I knew the film would be special. The morning of opening day, as my mom was driving me to school, my stomach felt off. I felt a little sick and she pulled over the car for me to throw up. We returned home, I felt better, and we went to see Casino Royale. My stomach uneasiness may seem borderline sociopathic, but I remember not feeling well for a second and then immediately bouncing back.
What can I add to Casino Royale that has not already been said and written?
The brutality of Bond was like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The film opens in black and white and chronicles James’ first two kills. There’s a very dirty fight in the bathroom at a horse race in which James attempts to drown his target in the kitchen sink. He believes to have killed the man, but when he gets up to shoot James in the back, he leaps back and shoots the man dead. Cue the gun barrel. The shot. The Blood.
No James Bond Theme. Nope. Instead we get a great, if not the best James Bond song, “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell. It also serves as the primary theme throughout Casino Royale as James Bond has not earned his main theme until the end of the film. “The name’s Bond, James Bond.”
Quantum of Solace (2008)
They showed the trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek before Daniel Craig’s second outing. That was an exciting moment at the theater.
I very much enjoyed Quantum of Solace despite many not liking it. While it wasn’t the film that Casino Royale was, it can’t really be judged as its own film. Quantum of Solace opens immediately where Casino Royale left off and thus forms a second part to Daniel Craig’s first outing. I believe Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace need to be viewed as one whole film and not two separate films.
The action and stunts are great and once again Daniel Craig delivers as Bond. This film also features Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton. Kurylenko was one of the original considerations for the role of Wonder Woman.
People equate the Sam Mendes film to being the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Chris Nolan direct a Bond picture. I disagree. This is the closest we’ll ever get to seeing Sam Mendes remake Straw Dogs.
Skyfall is a brilliant movie and there’s so much I could write about it. Perhaps for another time.
I saw Spectre this week with practically little to no fanfare. I’ve been very busy this year and despite greatly looking forward to seeing it, I missed opening day and weekend. I watched Sam Mendes’ second directorial effort on Bond this past week and was let down. Maybe I knew something would be wrong since I followed the Sony Leaks in regards to Spectre. Maybe it was Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
Spectre isn’t a bad movie, it’s just not a very good one because of how uneven it is. Mendes makes an effort to present Bond as a real man and Mr. Craig delivers with every line and look. Yet because the script is peppered with classic Bond-ian moments that find him unzipping out of one suit and into another, falling through a crumbling building and landing on a couch, ejecting himself out of his car; every moment of attempted pathos is then undermined by the tongue-in-cheek humour. I actually felt bad for Mr. Craig.
The James Bond of Spectre is as much a Brosnan Bond as he is a Daniel Craig Bond. At least from my perspective on 007. I now understand why Mr. Craig said the following when asked if he’d do another Bond.
If you enjoy the James Bond films of Sean Connery and Roger Moore, you’ll probably enjoy Spectre very much. There are many nods to classic elements, such as a villainous organization with a leader that has a penchant for cats. Unfortunately, Skyfall was done in such a great way that Spectre fails, especially when it’s not even necessarily trying to live up to the previous standard.
I hope this wasn’t Daniel Craig’s last 007 picture because he deserves to have an appropriate picture that allows him to conclude his series on a high-note. Spectre, as the saying goes, ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.
James Bond Will Return?