Monday, November 17, 2008

Bond. Sorta, Bond.

This past weekend, the latest James Bond film drew the largest opening in Bond Box Office history, taking in over $70 million in ticket sales. (link)

This is good, right? This means people are still going to the movies, and still willing to give generously to the cause of 'cinema'. Here's the thing: "Quantum of Solace" is as much a Bond Movie as it is a Kevin Smith one.

Throughout all twenty-something films, James Bond has morphed to fit the audience. Connery exuded cool, Moore was sophisticated, Dalton was dark and mysterious, and Brosnan was probably the most refined (Lazenby was...umm...give me a minute...). Despite the cast changes, the creative directions, and the stamps put upon the character by each actor to don the role - the heart of Bond remained. And now we come to Craig. Daniel Craig, again, is a Bond that reflects his time.

After three ultra-successful Jason Bourne outings, Ian Fleming's 007 had to keep up with a new stylized, serialized, and young secret agent - complete with fight choreography befitting the best non-wire-fu martial arts romp. And keep up he did. In Casino Royale, Craig proved he had the chops to scrap, romance, and still look polished afterward. Quantum of Solace seems to forget that it's important to mix all three. A damaged and flawed Bond is all well and good, as long as it's still Bond. Clearly, Bond has been shaken, but I am not stirred.

As a setup for a third installment, Quantum serves its purpose - and in truth does it with some veritable high points - but let's hope that Craig's next outing as 007 gives us a bit less "Bourne Again Bond", and a bit more of the slick cool with which we are used to seeing 007 get his spy on.

Also - the gunshot scene goes at the beginning, jerks.

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