To be honest, I’ve only seen five Bond films end-to-end (Moonraker, GoldenEye, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) and snippets of the others, but I’ve spent a ton of time reading about the franchise. James Bond films, even at their worst, still come across as nearly intellectual compared to other action franchises running in theaters. After Bond had seemingly gone into the gutter, the gatekeepers of the series decided that a gritty, dramatic reboot was in the cards with Casino Royale, a film that re-established faith for many Bond fans. With a soft sequel (Quantum of Solace) and MGM’s financial difficulties, it seemed as though a twenty-third Bond film was out of the deck. Nope! Recently unveiled as ‘Skyfall’, we’ll get to see James shoot, booze, and charm his way through another adventure by the end of 2012. Why will it be awesome? Let me explain why…
Back in his third film as the titular hero, Daniel’s serious and nearly ice cold portrayal of Bond is a relief. His Bond lacks the suave air of his predecessors, but he makes up for it in pure ‘get it done’ action. He’s been the best part of the post-2005 reboot, carrying a character with a massive chip on his shoulder and a calculating demeanor that wows through efficiency rather than smiling charisma.
An Exclusively International Cast
As an American who loves his country very dearly, and despite the fact that James Bond was initially portrayed by an American actor, it’s a relief that they’re relying on Europeans to carry the film. At the series’ nadir, notably during the Brosnan years, a rotating door of beautiful Americans was brought in as Bond girls, as if to appeal to us more or something. Instead, the casting of people like Teri Hatcher (huh?), Denise Richards (wha?), and Halle Berry (…) only made their respective films even more comical. Spaniard Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) stars as Skyfall’s villain and that just feels completely right to me, Dame Judi Dench returns as M, while Englishman Sam Mendes (Jarhead, and ironically, American Beauty) is directing.
Another aspect relegated to the back burner during the Craig reboot were the gadgets, something that had become progressively exaggerated with each new entry, almost seemingly building the films around the gadgets rather than vice-versa. Q, short for Quartermaster, would brief Bond on a variety of special tools that would allow him to complete his objectives, from replacement pistols to laser pens and invisible cars. Well, it was announced recently that youngster Ben Whishaw, who I’d never heard of before, will play the rebooted Q. His predecessor, played for twenty-three years by Desmond Llewelyn, died in 2001, replaced in the films by R portrayed by John Cleese in Die Another Day. It’s fantastic that Mendes is willing to push the series back in that direction, one of a little bit more wonder. Just a little bit, not a ton. We don’t need transforming, robotic arms or anything.
It’s badass; remarkably similar to another thing we love.
Skyfall is slated for a November 9th, 2012 release here in the States. You know we’ll have our review when it’s ready!