I’ve been a passing fan of the James Bond franchise forever. A couple of years ago, my wife and I sat down and watched the entire run of movies in a row, in chronological order, I think as a prelude to Skyfall coming out. It reminded me of all the things I love about Bond… and some of the things that I really don’t. So let’s take a look at Daniel Craig’s latest outing, Spectre, and see which camp it falls into.
Following the death of Judi Dench’s M, Bond goes rogue, following an unsanctioned mission to Mexico, trying to find out why she was killed. Meanwhile, the new M has problems as the government is trying to argue that the 00 program is outdated and maybe advanced computer surveillance is the way to go. They bench 007, but he ignores his orders and continues to follow his investigation, finding out that everything that’s happened has been the machinations of a single criminal organization, Spectre, which is now trying to get rid of the 00s so they can rule the world.
Seriously though, they’re trying too hard to make Bond an action hero. Since I had seen the latest Jason Bourne movie not long before, I could really only see it in that light. “Bourne. Jason Bourne”. Sorry, that’s not what Bond is.
I have to say I really haven’t loved Daniel Craig as Bond yet. He’s had a much darker take on the character and I prefer a more Connery Bond. I don’t really care if Bond is relevant in the modern world. He’s a fantasy spy. Craig’s Bond has tried to say that the whole 00 program is a product of a bygone era. So what? It’s fun! Bond and his toys, exotic locations and beautiful women, that’s what Bond is! Well, at least what Bond was until Craig took over. Plus, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond already tried that and it fell flat. Why retread this ground again?
Unfortunately, the main baddie of not only this movie, but all of the films Craig has starred in, really lacks the gravitas to do the role justice. I don’t believe for a moment that Franz Oberhauser, played by Christoph Waltz, has orchestrated all of the evil through his Spectre organization. He’s just not that good. They try to tell us he’s evil, but we don’t see why. What is his motivation for anything? Nobody knows. And they play Bond against Oberhauser, trying to toss in witty one-liners like the old days and it all falls flat. Craig’s Bond just isn’t that person, which is a failure in the character. Drop Connery’s Bond or Moore’s Bond into the role and it would probably work.
Craig has said that maybe it’s time for a reboot and I agree. I appreciate his efforts, I like Daniel Craig as an actor, but I just don’t appreciate his Bond. Let’s get back to what made Bond great. We don’t need another Jason Bourne, we already have that. Bond was special because he was Bond, he had a sense of humor, he didn’t take himself too seriously, he was bigger than life and clearly loved what he was doing. That’s the Bond people want to see. If they want to see action hero, there are plenty of movies they can go see instead.