A Dish Best Served Cold

He’s dope on a rope….
Up yours: James Bond (Daniel Craig) flips on a foe

When the family of the late Albert R. Broccoli, producers of the James Bond film series, decided that the archetype needed a reboot, and hired actor Daniel Craig to play the titular superspy in the 21st Bond movie, 2006’s Casino Royale, the fan response was overwhelming…and stupendously negative.

Those Pierce-ing eyes…Some of the outcry ran counter dropping Pierce Brosnan, right, who was the series’ Bond at the time. He, unlike, say, the oft-woozy Roger Moore had in years earlier, still appeared to be in his prime. But in fact, most of the alarm was less pro-Brosnan than it was anti-Craig. As the UK’s Guardian wrote back in 2006, upon the film’s release:

When Craig was outed as Pierce Brosnan’s successor in October 2005, the blogosphere went into meltdown. He was too small (5ft 11in), too blond (Fleming’s Bond was dark-haired), too actorly (early CV: National Youth theatre, Guildhall School of Music and Drama; a big break on telly’s Our Friends in the North in 1996. He even appeared – please God, no – in Angels in America at the National Theatre). One group went so far as to set up a website called craignotbond.com….


Following the cyberspace mauling, the tabloids put a contract out on Craig. One headline read: “The name’s Bland. James Bland.” The Daily Star described how “superwimp Daniel Craig” couldn’t drive 007’s classic Aston Martin DB5 because he was used to automatic transmissions, using the headline “Bond’s licence to squeal: 007 wuss Dan can’t even change gears”. Then there was the story that he got two teeth knocked out in his first filmed fisticuffs on set (“I actually just lost a crown”). Other stories suggested he didn’t like playing cards, hated guns and got queasy in the film’s speedboat sequences. Craig hotly denies these stories, insisting that he is perfectly able to use a gearstick. So there.

Earlier this month Craig gave an interview to GQ, in which he complained that the adverse criticism was like being bullied. Isn’t the moral that you’ve got to get a thicker skin? “I don’t know if I am quite tough,” concedes Craig.

“I’m so slick I make medicine sick.”He needn’t have worried about being sufficiently callous. With all the quiet deference of a chainsaw revving up against an I-beam, Craig, right, injected Casino‘s Bond with a steely, killer’s lust: The kind of foe who would not only rip out your throat, but then use it to blowgun a poison dart through your chest as you gurgled for sweet death.

Whiny fanboys were immediately drowned out by loud ka-ching: Within weeks, Casino Royale became the fastest-, highest-grossing Bond ever, ultimately taking in over $594 million, worldwide.

But if its new trailer is any indicator, the upcoming sequel, Quantum of Solace (November 7), promises to push Bond’s visceral desperation along frightening new vectors.

“Miss me?”For the most part, I’ve lately taken to avoiding reviews and summaries of films I’ve yet to see, as a way of ducking spoilers from blabbermouthed journalists. As far as I can tell, however, Quantum is basically about Bond’s unstoppable pursuit of payback for the death of his Royale love, Vesper Lynd, right. The “quantum of solace,” then, is the mere drop, the tiny amount of comfort Bond gets as he tears his opponents, and Lynd’s plotters, into confetti.

As I said, speaking in church a few weeks ago, they’ll never stop making movies about revenge, because the desire for it provokes wretched humanity’s most primitive emotions. There are many adults who have never experienced love, teenagers who aren’t sure what it is, and people who have known it, but have lost it. But even a toddler understands the craving to mistreat someone she feels has mistreated her.

Retaliation opposes God’s ideals for how we should respond to each other’s slights, and makes a mess of human relations. But, when it comes to movies, without question, it is absolutely the stuff of dreams.



#1 chinou yamale on 07.29.08 at 3:48 pm

Muhahahah!MUhahaha!Bond’s revenge….truly… will be sweet.I’ll see YOU at the movies Mr. Assasssin.

#2 Mark Cabrera on 07.31.08 at 12:06 am

Casino Royale isn’t the best Bond movie.

It’s the only one.

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