Reflecting on the Craig era

With Bond 25 still a year and a half away and Craig ready to hang it up, I decided to write a reflective critique of his tenure and his films.

Craig’s tenure started off rocky, with him wearing a life jacket on a speedboat heading towards his introduction as James Bond. He didnt fit the tall and dark characterization of the character and people let him know. However, he shut all of them up upon the release of Casino Royale. His 4 films are the 4 highest grossing of the entire franchise and Skyfall is the only Bond film to cross the $1 billion mark, topping of its gross as the 007th highest grossing film ever (in 2012). However, MGM have been mired in financial trouble during the entirety of Craig’s run. Casino Royale released after a four year gap. Quantum od Solace to Skyfall saw another 4 year gap and now there will be another 4 year wait between Spectre and Bond 25. Craig has officially had the role during the longest period of time, but will not eclipse Moore’s mark of 7 films. His tenure was also hurt by the writer’s strike of 2007-08. Quantum of Solace began filming with an incomplete script and the end product shows. Overall, the Craig era is a streak filled with some of the series’s most incredible highs, but also some of its hardest times. Lastly, a current ranking of the 4 Daniel Craig films:

  1. Casino Royale
  2. Skyfall
  3. Quantum of Solace
  4. Spectre

Casino Royale is maybe the franchise’s finest hour and still holds up incredibly well 12 years after its release. Stripped of the gadgets, CGI, and 40+ years of baggage, Martin Campbell delivered a sexy, haunting, tense, and thrilling update of 007.

Quantum of Solace feels like a rush job, releasing 2 years after Casino Royale. Filming began with an incomplete script and Marc Forster’s directing leaves much to be desired (too much shaky cam, poor editing, the series’s worst theme song, and a very bland set of villains). However, Craig gives an even better performance as Bond here and Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton are fantastic. If only the film had been delayed until 2009, who knows what it could have been.

Skyfall is the series’s highest grossing film and it deserves every penny. A modern, yet vintage Bond adventure complete with a charismatic villain and exotic locales, Skyfall has a bit of everything. Through in maybe the best theme song of the entire saga and you have maybe the greatest Bond film ever. The only thing missing is Ian Fleming penning the original story.

Spectre had big shoes to fill following Skyfall and it more or less falls flat on its face. The film has an inconsistent pace ranging from bombastic to paint-drying boredom. However, its biggest flaw is how it handles its main villain. Blofeld being Bond’s brother is so lazy an excuse, I cant believe Mendes wasn’t fired on the spot for coming up with it. The script was in such dire need of fixing, the fires Purvis and Wade were brought back for rewrites and still couldn’t save this train wreck. To top everything off, the production went out of it’s way to ensure people that Cristoph Waltz wasn’t playing Blofeld to keep the reveal a secret, despite everybody already knowing it. It could have even been saved somewhat had Craig and Waltz not more or less phoned in their performances. All in all, Spectre felt more like a rough draft of a better film.

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Craig should do the same amount of Bond films like Connery or Moore. Not just five. I think after Craig, it will be even harder to find the right actor to play Bond. With Craig it was the early start of it, but still manageable. Have to see what happens, since big time Bond fans DON’T want a black or female Bond. Whether the star British or American. Keep it how the author created the character. What actor in the next few years will be in their late 30s or early 40s that can really play Bond. IF Craig is really done after the 5th one. Will not have the same amount of Bond films like Connery or Moore.

What would be the fate of Craig’s acting career after Bond. Will he be getting other big movie projects like Connery did. With movies like In the Name Of The Rose, First Knight, The Untouchables, Entrapment, The Presidio, The Russia House, The Hunt For Red October, The Rock and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Would he be like Roger Moore not much, but did a lot for UNICEF. Pierce Brosnan got mid level projects that not mega hits like Taken, The Departed, Argo, Frozen, Beauty And The Beast, Silver Linings Playbook, It, Logan, Eagle Eyes or Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Would he just appear as an extra or supporting in his non Bond movies.

As someone who despises DC I have to admit that the films are rather good. I still think the credit should always go to the films before it since that is were they learn from. To say oh the newest film is the best is kind of like being surprised they learned anything from their previous experiences. With all the battles off screen its really impressive they’ve given us what we got IMO. I think when all is said and done it will be a pleasant experience looking back at those film.

I don’t have a problem with a black Bond. Idris Elba would be fantastic. A female Bond would be kind of more difficult to pull off.

You want depressing? Mamma Mia - Brosnan returning to his romantic lead roots - was LUDICROUSLY successful. Most financially lucrative film in the UK for a while (don’t know if it still is, but it certainly was)

In answer to Craig, I imagine he’ll keep doing the sort of things he’s been doing outside of Bond, where the people he’s working with matter more than the project itself.