With the new james bond film in 2006, it was necessary for the franchise to not only recast Bond but to some extent reinvent it. Martin Campbell came to direct his second film after the openings of Quentin Tarantino were rejected. The idea was to bring Bond back to the original Ian Fleming conception with his very first novel Casino Royale.
After die another day, Eon productions and audiences had come to the conclusion that things had gone too far. Pierce Brosnan had fulfilled his contract and although he was offered the chance to return, he was done. The race to find another actor was on and many were considered and rejected. When it was first announced Daniel Craig was not a popular choice, mainly because he was blond. There were petitions and the usual nonsense. Neal Purvis and Robert Wadewho had written the last two Brosnans, delivered a screenplay which was later nicked by Paul Hagis. The film effectively became a prequel, with Bond gaining his status as 007 in the pre-credits sequences via a hit. Immediately there is a change in tone. The violence is brutal and physical and yet there are emotional consequences. “He made you feel it, didn’t he?” » said his target. The entire film has something a Bond movie hasn’t had since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: a character arc. Craig’s Bond is a killing machine who then learns to open up and falls in love, only to revert to his “half-monk, half-hitman” status by the end of the film.
There’s no Q, though it’s reintroduced later and the humor is organic, coming from the characters rather than musical stings or ridiculous camp. This means that although the Craig Bonds gained a reputation for seriously sinister, they were – unlike the Moore Bonds – actually funny. Don’t moan so badly that it’s funny, but laugh out loud funny. The dialogue is witty and tackles sexism in a way other Bonds never cared. The story represented something of a departure, in that it stuck pretty closely to the book, only updating the props. Now The Cipher (Mads Mikkelsen) is a financier of terrorism but following a failed short sale on the market he must recover his funds in a high-end poker game at the eponymous casino. Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) is the Treasury agent sent to keep tabs on Bond and Giancarlo Giannini plays Mattis, a sleazy middleman and fixer. Bond’s CIA friend Felix Leiter meets him for the first time, played with dog-dog melancholy by Jeffrey Wright.
So what we have is basically a Bond Begins, the Christophe Nolan Batman series had been inaugurated the previous year Casino Royale has been freed. From the explosive Parkour chase to the torture scene, the film escaped the usual clichés. Shady post-9/11 politics replaced all easy truths with M (Judi Dench, the only remnant of Brosnan’s films) insisting that Bond consider the big picture. Bond is a blunt weapon, leaving a trail of corpses with barely a clench of the jaw. For the first time since Sean Connery shot an unarmed man in Dr No, it’s obvious that Bond is a complete bastard.
It is only with his encounter with Vespa that he begins to open up. by Eva Green the performance is fantastic. She’s smart and sexy, and like Bond, she also has a persona that credibly changes as the film progresses. She challenges Bond and gets the better of him while proving to be adept at humorous banter. There is chemistry between the two. She’s not just a sidekick or superficial insulting eye candy. And it is fundamental to the plot. Bond’s misogyny is also apparent at the beginning and end. How do you trust someone when the person you trust the most betrays you? It’s weird to care that Bond has the girl, and even crazier that you get emotional when he loses her.
And that’s the shock: there are real characters with a real plot. Dalton and Bronson tried hard, but it’s with the reset that the Bond films are truly recognizable as movies. Part of the reason could be related to increased competition. Both Impossible mission and the Thick headed franchises took over the action stakes and now that comic book movies are starting to enter the blockbuster action/comedy market, Bond wasn’t the only option for that kind of shenanigans anymore. Plus, long-form television has begun and the appetite has grown for a story that credibly spans multiple movies. The Harry Potter The series also showed that once you capture an audience in this way and maintain it for a number of films. The capper is the ending, which feels like it sets up the whole series. Not since The matrix the last scene started so well. Craig created an all-new Bond — entirely his own — and earned the right to the iconic line. As the song says: we know his name.