By Jake Dorsch, Aviator editorial editor
Before I debunk the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, let’s review its three predecessors to cap off the entire Daniel Craig era of Bond.
Daniel Craig’s first film and venture into the bond series also features Mads Mikkelsen, a Danish actor who also later played Hannibal Lecter, and the usual group. While both Mads and Daniel proved to be outstanding actors, the plotline was less than satisfying and ended up being more like World Series Poker than a Bond movie. The movie involved Bond tracking a delinquent who has been funding world terrorist organizations, and thoroughly displays the dark side of being a spy as he finally duels Mikkelsen in Montenegro. On the upside, it was the first Bond film with a decent storyline since Goldeneye (1995) and Craig was the first Bond that we could take seriously that didn’t have corny one liners since Sean Connery in 1971. However, as far as modern films go, or in comparison to other Daniel Craig Bond movies, the film was somewhat dry and didn’t produce a memorable moment. Unfortunately for director Martin Campbell, he’ll later have to suffer through the reviews of Green Lantern, as his resume is as spotty as the filming.
“Quantum of Solace”
Quantum of Solace revamps the last renovation of the series, with a new director and more money. Bond faces off against a ruthless South American entrepreneur, and the movie ends with enough action for a Michael Bay movie. The plotline highlights Bond’s personal vengeance, and covers the usual Bond themes we’ve seen in all 24 Bond movies. The plot wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anything too special, either. However, many aspects certainly improved such as special effects, filming, stage play, etc. Plus, the film was able to create two memorable moments: the final act and destruction of the Tycoons Palace and the very last minutes of the film when Bond drops Vesper’s necklace in the snow in Russia. Daniel Craig fully solidified his role as Bond, and made two more great performances in the next two movies on the list. Quantum of Solace also seemed more like an Expendables movie than a Bond, lacking a strong villain and a good plot.
This movie went to bold extremes, killing off ‘M’ played by Judi Dench and bringing in Javier Bardem, who played the mass murderer in No Country for Old Men to play Silva, Bond’s newest adversary. The plotline was also a bit different, where James gets sniped my friendly fire in Turkey to begin the dark plot, and it also ventures into Bond’s childhood. All these gambles obviously played off, as the result was the best Bond movie of all time, bringing back the classic elements (including the car) while bringing in new elements such as the idea of James being out of shape. However, the credit must go to debatably the best villain in movie history next to Heath Ledger’s Joker, as Silva proved to be unpredictable yet perfectly sane, and shocked viewers every time he was on screen from his creepy stories until the end when he tried to commit murder-suicide with M. Plus the film introduced Q and Naomie Harris’s character, maintained excellent lighting and special effects while maintaining great content.
Spectre seemed to have all the tools and then some for another memorable epic. The budget was increased by $100 million, the success of Skyfall was going to transfer over, known Bond villains were being re-done and the actors chosen were phenomenal. Andrew Scott (Sherlock), Lea Seydoux (Mission Impossible, other stuff), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Christoph Waltz (Django, Inglorious Bastards) were all expected to perform well — and did. The movie begins in with an insane fistfight on a helicopter in Mexico, and moves on to other great scenes. However, although the movie had so much potential to top Skyfall, some things fell short. For starters, the plotline was great, but Spectre didn’t seem quite as deadly as Silva’s group of terror, but was certainly entertaining. Next, several parts of the movie were rushed, such as Denbigh’s death or Bond’s escape from Spectre’s base in Northern Africa while other parts were drawn out. In addition, Blofeld (The Bond villain) appeared more awkward, sadistic and sloppy than he did well coordinated, intriguing and terrifying. Plus, I’m pretty sure Mr. Hinx (played by Dave Bautista) had a maximum of two lines the entire movie, and could’ve been played by any 250+ pound guy with a beard. As usual, this Bond movie tried harder than most dry standup comedians to make the audience laugh and displayed many opportunities for Bond’s adversaries to kill Bond, but they ultimately didn’t so they could add dramatic effect. Of course, the movie had great moments, awesome special effects, among other redeeming qualities, but it also could’ve been better.
Final notes: I would like to say that the Bond movies have gotten noticeably better, as older Bond films I would rank C or lower such as The Man with the Golden Gun (F), A View to a Kill (D-) or all of Roger Moore’s movies for that matter. However, there are a few exceptions like Goldeneye (A-) or some of Sean Connery’s movies. I would recommend seeing all of Daniel Craig’s Bond movies, and I would certainly recommend Spectre.