This isn’t a review of Quantum of Solace. I haven’t seen the movie yet and frankly, you weren’t waiting on my “yea” or “nay” before deciding if you wanted to.
Two years ago, I sat in the dark and waited for Casino Royale and the new James Bond. My expectations were low in the aftermath of the previous Bond flick, Die Another Day, which was wretched beyond belief. My son and I went by ourselves as my Sean Connery-worshipping wife and daughter refused to have anything to do with a pug like Daniel Craig.
Turned out Casino Royale wasn’t bad at all. In fact it was pretty good.
What made Bond such an icon was he was when Connery played the role, women wanted to be with him and men wanted to be him. Tall, trim, a man who was quick with his wit, steady with his gun, suave in a crowd, and irresistible between the sheets.
Then Connery bailed out and Roger Moore came in. That was the end of James Bond for me.
I never liked Moore. He wasn’t a cool, charming rogue like Connery and most of the films he made sucked. The only entry I like was For Your Eyes Only and that was because it was a stripped down story without the boring bad guys with evil plans for world domination, ridiculous henchmen with steel teeth and Grace Jones.
Grace Jones as a Bond girl. James Bond discovers tranny love. Kill me now.
Following Moore’s blessed departure into obscurity came nobody’s favorite Bond, Timothy Dalton who looked like he enjoyed playing 007 the way a man enjoys root canal without anesthesia. Dalton turned in his license to kill after two okay, but ordinary outings, The Living Daylights and the listless License to Kill.
Enter Pierce Brosnan, the guy who was supposed to replace Moore, but couldn’t get out of his television show, Remington Steele. His maiden voyage as Bond was GoldenEye and it was great. Plenty of action, far more sophisticated and at ease than the dour Dalton and in Brosnan, there was a mixture of sex appeal and rougish charm that had been missing since the glory days of Connery.
Unfortunately, each of the following films, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough and the too bad to be believed Die Another Day, were worse than the previous one. Brosnan looked bored in Die and he wasn’t the only one.
Brosnan’s license was revoked and Daniel Craig’s was activated. As Brosnan had turned 50 years old, the Bond franchise was also showing signs of middle age and growing irrelevance. Instead of the tuxedo-wearing, joke-quipping, martini-sipping secret agent, audiences had turned to Jason Bourne, the amnesiac spy and assassin of the Robert Ludlum novels who was played by Matt Damon as a no-bullshit, weapon of mass destruction.
Everything that seemed tired and stale about Bond, seemed fresh and exciting about Bourne. Even the choice of a “Bourne girl” was the decidely plain Franke Potente was sexier than the drop-dead gorgeous Halle Berry in Die Another Day.
Oh, and The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatium were all damn good and in making $945 million, were incredibly lucrative as well.
And the success of Jason Bourne got the attention of the producers of the increasingly tired James Bond.
For all intents and purposes you Daniel Craig looks like someone Sean Connery would beat up more than he looks like a logical 007. But his brutish tactics and blunt force approach worked perfectly in Casino Royale.
With Craig as the blonde, sawed-out, rough around the edges reinvention of James Bond, many fans (such as my wife and daughter) who loved Connery, ignored Moore, tolerated Dalton and were satisfied with Brosnan, have rejected the lastest incarnation of Bond as unworthy.
Well, to each her or his own. I’m not kidding myself that Craig makes for a perfect James Bond. Quantum of Solace will go a long way in convincing me whether he’s growing into the role or just the guy with the gig until the next guy comes along.
My wife is still hoping Clive Owen will change his mind about entering Bondage.