Going in to SPECTRE, I was of the opinion that Daniel Craig was the best Bond of all-time and was more worried that this might be his last film as 007 than I was about the film itself. After all, the same team behind Skyfall, probably the best Bond film of all, was back and everything we’d seen looked fantastic. Leaving SPECTRE, I have to say, even though he’s under contract for a fifth film, I hope Daniel Craig is done. SPECTRE isn’t just the biggest disappointment of 2015, it sets the Bond franchise back to its pre-Casino Royale renaissance and paints Craig’s Bond into an ending so final that it’s difficult to see how anything but another reboot is the next step. Continue reading Movie Review: SPECTRE (2015) *Bond Bombs* Spoiler Warning
SPECTRE (or Bond 24 if you’re scoring at home) releases this Friday, the most anticipated movie release not involving a lightsaber for the rest of 2015. October we challenged KT readers to settle the question of, out of the six men who have played 007, which one IS BOND. The default answer used to be Sean Connery, but Daniel Craig decidedly skunked Connery amongst KT readers leading us to crown him Killing Time’s official 007.
Pierce Brosnan was third with a respectable showing, but what shocked me is that George Lazenby, who only appeared as Bond in one film, beat out Roger Moore and Timothy Dalon. No love for the Ginger Bond. Thank you to everyone who voted, syphilis upon all you who did not and we’ll be back with a new poll in a few days!
By the time of Daniel Craig’s third go-round as Bond, he had already owned the role, but he hadn’t been given a legendary villain. Sam Mendes fixed that when he cast Oscar-winner Javier Bardem as Silva, and gave us-arguably-the best Bond film of them all. Skyfall tells more about Bond’s boyhood and maturation than the previous 22 films combined without actually giving him an origin story. I know they’re going deeper down the rabbit hole in SPECTRE, but I always felt Wolverine lost a lot as a character when his whole origin was neatly laid out, and I think Bond would, as well.
This really is as much Judi Dench’s picture as it is Daniel Craig’s and after six films as M, she certainly earned a co-starring role as she and Bond hunt and are hunted by Silva. Bardem is certainly flashy and over-the-top in the Bond villain tradition, but unlike most, he’s every bit as good as James, and spends most of the film beating him quite handily. There’s so much good and done right in this film that it’s hard to nail a scene as my favorite, but I love a good entrance. When you get your villain making monologues from the get-go, you know you’ve got a good one. I’m going to cheat and also stick in Silva’s reunion scene with M, because I can’t decide between the two. Bardem should have at least gotten an Oscar nomination for this film. Just brilliant.
Quantum of Solace gets a lot of flack for not being on the same level as Daniel Craig’s other Bond films: Casino Royale and Skyfall. I, for one, am a staunch Quantum defender. There’s no doubt it’s not the movie that the other two are, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a great film. Solace works best if you watch it directly after Casino Royale in a doubleheader, because this really is the second act to that film and it picks up the second CR ends.
Quantum gives us a Bond we’ve never seen before and begins the character journey that Craig’s Bond has traveled through his film. Though he’d never admit it, Bond is in full-blown mourning for Vesper the entire film. It’s a sensation he clearly is not comfortable with experiencing. The plot introduces a secret organization behind the events of CR and not really mentioned again in Skyfall, but we can see now that this film did a lot of groundwork to set up SPECTRE. Madeline Swann in SPECTRE is the daughter of Quantum’s Mr. White. I think revisiting Quantum after SPECTRE will show that this organization has been coming down the pipeline from the very beginning.
The film does have a definite Achilles’ heel in Mathieu Amalric as the film’s villain. Upping the game with Oscar-winners Javier Bardem and Christoph Waltz in the next two films was a wise move. I’ve also heard Olga Kurylenko called the worst Bond girl for her performance, but that I don’t understand at all. She IS the only Bond girl I’ve seen that Bond didn’t sleep with. She was more a partner in grief, and I thought in that role served well. The set pieces in Haiti with the boat chase and the aerobatics in Bolivia plus the peerless opera scene are all fantastic Bond moment, but I’m partial to the gravity defying fight between Bond and an antagonist all up and down a perilously rickety scaffolding.
Before Casino Royale, the venerable Bond franchise had become a joke. Quite literally. Michael Meyers and his Austin Powers films so thoroughly lampooned the camp and plot tropes of the Bond franchise that it teetered on the edge of extinction. Pierce Brosnan’s tenure as bond started out wonderfully with Goldeneye, but by the time he’d filmed his last film, the series seemed painfully accurate to Meyers parody and a pale shadow of the gritty and more relevant Bourne films. I’m not exaggerating at the Powers film impact. If you ask Daniel Craig why his Bond has been a darker, grimmer, grittier version, he’ll simply say, “Michael Meyers (rather naughty word) us.” Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Casino Royale (2006) “African Rundown”