Some of you might not know this, some of you might. I am a Bond Fan.
Not a Bond Boy! Ugh, wierd!!!!!
Much to my dismay, however, the James Bond franchise, in spite of actor Pierce Brosnan's superb performance as Bond, has been disappointing me for some time now. Goldeneye infused the then though-to-be-declining franchise (especially because, if you recall, it was preceeded by a hiatus of mourning) with new life, but Tomorrw Never Dies failed to match it. Some would say The World Is Not Enough followed the same path, and much as I liked it myself, I have to say Die Another Day is a very dark stain on the world's favourite spy's permanent record, though by no means Bond's fault (at least not Mr. Brosnan's fault, that is). That said, upon hearing of a new bond movie in the making, many felt, as I did, that this was the franchise's last chance to redeem itself. Now, everyone out in the collective of countries other than but my own (hereafter refered to as "The Civilised World") must have either seen it by now or aren't planning on seeing it at all. for the few that remain, here's my review.
A typical Bond movie begins with the trademark gun barrel sequence, wich dissolves into the very first scene with the very first action sequence and a bond pun. This, my friends, is not a typical bond movie. The first action sequence preceedes the gun barrel, and change doesn't stop there. The opening credits sequence follows a very much unexplored graphical philosophy in bond movies, and quite the refreshing change that is. As for Bond Himself, Daniel Craig lives up to the bequeathal of his predecessors and then some.
Right off the bat, those who reveled in George Lazenby's experience as a martial arts instructor for the Australian army's experience put to great effect in realistic fight scenes - no wimpy punches, Roger Moore style - will be thrilled to experience this new Bond's great fight sequences, where realistic hand to hand combat in closed spaces seems to have been emphasised. That, alongside with many complex and no doubt extenuating stunts make for quite the phisically demanding film, but expect no silly, however visually gratifying stunts, Mission: Impossible style.
Charisma abounds, surpassing Moore, Lazenby and Dalton - though I'll hold off saying the same in relation to Brosnan or Connery - as do charm and wit. Quite noteworthy is Judi Dench's interpretation of M, who seems to have taken yet another (dis)liking to Bond, in more tense, yet humorous lines, masterfully delivered not only by Dench, but also by many other secondary characters, not the least of wich Felix Leiter, played by Jeffrey Wright. The villain for this movie seems to take on a deprecated stereotype, carefully re-implemmented to great effect.
Many tense scenes will keep you on the edge of your seat - a gambling scene in particular had me mumbling "five and seven of spades" into my fedora over and over again. Other staples of Bond movies are here as well - Aston Martin, gambling and vodka martini, among others - and in no small amount. Gadgets, however present, despite Q's absence, have been de-emphasised and "sobered down".
This new Bond won't be found suffering for the sake of a hero suffering, yet his stoicism and even spite in the face of agony can be found aplenty, and not without yet another handful of Bond-esque puns. Being a far less nether-regions-driven character, Craig's Bond, while not being a cold hearted Bond, is a far more cold eyed Bond in the face of danger, adversity and overwhelming odds. Alongside being a much more vengeful Bond than we've seen so far, Daniel Craig portrays a less knight and more hero/anti-hero balanced James Bond, as it would befit a James bond for an age when the elitistic separation between good and evil appears far less crisp and clear as before.
The franchise, I dare say, is saved. Good job, Sony Pictures, and Godspeed. For "Bond 22", which, I believe, is in the making already, that is.
Pax vobiscum atque vale.
Shark, ArabianShark, too knows what M stands for. But you won't find it here.