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:
- Casino Royale
- Quantum of Solace
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.