The year 2015 has already seen many great theatrical releases, but it’s still early days, and there’s already one major movie-related event left to go: the premier of the new James Bond movie, which will be released on April 8th. Naturally, with the premiere of the new James Bond movie still so close, it’s only a matter of time before the paparazzi starts flocking to London, where the secret agent will be making his next exciting adventure. Naturally, these pictures will be used on the front pages of the paper and online, and probably broadcast on TV as well.
But let’s not forget about the stars of the movie itself: namely, Daniel Craig and Ralph Fiennes, who will be reprising their roles as 007 and Lender, respectively. While both actors are undoubtedly pros when it comes to being in the public eye, it’s still fair to say that there are some small things that they might not be so good at, and some big things that they might not want to admit to. (We understand: the more fans we have, the more advertising revenue there is, but still.)
Well, it’s only fair to say that James Bond fans have been waiting a long time for this moment. For a while there was just gonna be one more movie, and then the series would be over. After the amazing 2013 release of Spectre, fans had high hopes for the return of James Bond in 2015. So what happened? Why did the first trailer for Spectre give us so much joy, and the final version not live up to our expectations? Let’s take a look.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year and didn’t see the first trailer for Spectre, then it’s time to eat your Wheaties. This is the trailer that broke the Internet, and it shows us many wonderful things: Daniel Craig in full 007 mode, jumping out of an airplane and landing on a frigid lake; Ralph Fiennes as Lender; Christoph Waltz as Dr. Faustus; and, of course, the amazing Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. (And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to see Pierce Brosnan in his pomp?)
But perhaps the most important thing about this trailer is the title: Spectre. Like any good trailer, it immediately hooks us into the movie’s central premise: a shadowy organization named Spectre has a stranglehold on the business world, and only James Bond can stop them. We don’t need to know any more than that; the trailer does a good enough job expositioning the plot. And when it comes to the titular organization, Spectre, we are immediately introduced to one of their most notorious operatives: Karl Stromberg, played by the ever reliable Christopher Walken. Even though the trailer is almost eight months old, the timing of this article means that we are still living in the midst of the Spectre mania that the trailer helped to ignite. And given that there’s still so much hoopla surrounding this movie, it’s best to assume that something new hasn’t been released in the meantime.
Alas, It’s Not All Glory
We’ve been conditioned to expect great things from Daniel Craig’s 007. After all, he’s proven himself time and time again, and with six films under his belt as Bond, he’s definitely got the experience necessary to bring life to the character. His work is fast-paced, filled with action, and, above all, fun to watch. (Well, at least most of the time.)
However, that doesn’t mean that every single Bond film is going to be a masterpiece. (Well, only most of them.) In fact, the opposite is sometimes true: not every Bond film is going to be a masterpiece, and that’s a fact that Daniel Craig must come to terms with. (But it’s also something that he can learn from.)
But let’s look at some of the films that Daniel Craig has starred in. First off, and most importantly, is Casino Royale. While it’s true that the film isn’t plagued by any major problems, there are certain aspects of it that still leave something to be desired. The film’s climax, in particular, is rather dull, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of excitement. On the plus side, the film does feature some stunning visuals and exceptional performances, especially from the underrated Eva Green. (She stole the show.)
The other important thing that Casino Royale illustrates is that Daniel Craig’s 007 isn’t the typical James Bond we’ve come to know and love. (Well, not entirely.) In the film, Bond is constantly working, often resorting to dirty tricks (like ordering a death squad to murder someone) to achieve his goal. He is also rather insecure, feeling that he doesn’t always measure up to Mr. Bond, as he calls himself in the end of the film.
One of the most unique aspects of Casino Royale is its dedication to depicting the 1960s. Every single element of the film, from its period-appropriate clothing to its music, is something that wouldn’t have been found in a James Bond film of the time. (Though it helps that Casino Royale was released in 2006, the era in which it is set, the 1960s, was already a distinctive period in film history.) Furthermore, the film makes excellent use of British slang, which was exceptionally rare at the time. (Though there are some great, underused British slang words that could have been incorporated into the dialogue. Like “charm” and “flair”.)
Another film that Daniel Craig should look back on with fondness is Tomorrow Never Dies. The film, which was released in 2006, was a comeback of sorts for Daniel Craig, who had last starred in Goldeneye, the sixth film in the series. In Tomorrow Never Dies, he played a more mature Bond, who is in his sixties and has already seen his share of action. Though it’s true that audiences didn’t always see the character as mature, and there were moments when he seemed downright infantile.
One of the things that makes Daniel Craig’s 007 so special is that we see a glimpse into his personal life. We are meant to understand that Bond’s job (fighting crime) is not always as exciting as one would hope, and it can sometimes even get rather dangerous. The camera rarely, if ever, leaves the side of Daniel Craig as he investigates different cases, often putting his life on the line in the process. (It’s only fair to say that most of these scenes are rather dull, though they do provide some insight into Bond’s personal life.)
Another thing that makes Craig’s 007 so special is its use of literary references. While most Bond films will make lighthearted references to some of the great stories and novels that James Bond fans hold dear, this is one instance where the filmmakers actually borrowed heavily from the source material. The story, Die Another Day, was based on a novel by Richard Littauer, and it tells the story of James Bond’s struggle to win the hand of Mina, his boss’s daughter, in the face of competition from another suitor, Alec Trevelyan, a British spy. As the film approaches its conclusion, it is revealed that Mina had a change of heart and intends to marry Trevelyan. When Bond finds out, he resolves to destroy the evidence that would ruin his chances of ever winning Mina’s heart. Naturally, this leads Bond into a battle of wills with his arch-nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by Ian Fleming’s cousin, Peter). The final showdown between Bond and Blofeld ends with Bond assassinating the latter, thus securing Mina’s hand in marriage and putting an end to Blofeld’s schemes once and for all. (The book, the movie, and the famous line, “Blofeld, I presume?”)
The final word should go to the master of ceremonies, Louis De Bernieres, who saw fit to end his famous “Bond in Paris” episode with this lovely, yet very British, verse:
“So long, Paris. It was a hell of a ride.”