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Which is the best movie of the Craig era (so far)?

Casino Royal 6 66.67%
 
Quantum of Solace 0 0.00%
 
Skyfall 3 33.33%
 
Spectre 0 0.00%
 
Total:9

So I just saw Quantum of Solace. Finally managed to catch up.

Quantum of Solace is a somewhat polarizing movie for me. On the one hand, it has very strong acting from Craig as Bond, as an agent who is just barely holding it in before crashing down. We also see his smarts, the theatre scene is one of the few times we actually see him as a bloody spy, discovering a good chunk of the villains' plot and identifying many of the players in the enemy organization. I like the fact they are continuing Bond's struggle with loss, both with him mourning Vesper's death and by just talking to Carmille. M takes a much more active role in this movie, which is great, because Judi Dench is a great actress and pulls off the character flawlessly, though why the hell does she doubt Bond's loyalty after the traitor's reveal from the beginning of the movie is anyone's guess (if he was a traitor, then he wouldn't have stopped the traitor from killing her). The side characters around Bond are a general positive for the movie, considering how much they develop this spy world. However, the movie has a decent amount of negatives as well. The most obvious being the editing during fight scenes. For some reason, they decide to keep changing shots almost every second during intense action scenes, which I get in theory, but the execution meant that there are no shot that lasts more than 5 seconds during a fight scene, which doesn't make the scene more intense, it just makes it dizzying and disorienting. Also, Bond's actions are directly responsible for the death of those around him, and he is fortunately called out on this. Seriously, remember Mathis? How Bond decided to accuse him of treason and have him tortured? It turned out he was clean, and he managed to retire with a small fortune. Bond asks him for help, and what does he get for it? He gets shot and killed, because BOND USED HIM AS A BODYSHIELD! What the hell? The other female agent M sends to bring back Bond? Seduced by Bond and killed horribly. This is not just collateral, Bond is directly responsible of their deaths. The villains are also very hit or miss. On the one hand, yes, having people everywhere and not being able to trust anyone is pretty crepy, but the actual villains are morons with little threat or presence to them. The main villain is just a generic business man that folds immediately once he sees everything crumbling around him (but for some reason puts up a fight against Bond?), the main henchman does absolutely nothing in the whole movie, and their villainous plan is just to control the water reserves of Bolivia, which I thought it would be a plan on a worldwide scale, but it apparently wasn't. The reveal of Vesper's original boyfriend was an enemy agent al along was a much tense confrontation than the whole final battle.

Overall, this was a decent continuation of Battle Royale, but it doesn't reach its same standards. 6/10



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I watched Casino Royale last night, which will get an 8 from me.

A really enjoyable flick, although perhaps a little on the long side. Craig is OK as Bond - character wise he lacks the charm of his predecessors (although I guess this is the point), but has the physical presence to really sell the action scenes. The fights are really well choreographed, and the prolonged chase scene to the embassy near the beginning is great. The supporting cast is really strong, with Eva Green and Mads Mikkelsen really making a mark, and Judi Dench continuing to deliver as M. The middle third in the casino is where this film really excels. I remember seeing this in the cinema and finding it absolutely exhilarating. Superb stuff.

Shout out to David Arnold for the music (as well as Chris Cornell for helping to write and singing the magnificent theme), as well as Daniel Kleinman for the opening credits.

The only real criticism is it feels a bit derivative of the likes of the Bourne franchise, although it's such a good film that it's easy to ignore.



Quantum of Solace scores a 6.

A decent enough watch, but ultimately forgettable in the context of the Bond canon. I understand there was a lot of issues in production, so that it turned out relatively good is something. There's some nice stunts, sequences and locations, but you've come to expect that at this point. I do love the opera scene - it looks fantastic. I have to wonder how Bond and Camille survive that fall from the plane. Even in the Bond universe, that seems absurd.

Can't think of much more to say really... except that the theme song is awful. Just diabolically bad.



Casino Royale has also been my favourite. Coincidentally they're showing the Craig movies on tv here, which means (because I physically have all the other ones) that I could've participated in this from the beginning. If only I knew.



S.Peelman said:
Casino Royale has also been my favourite. Coincidentally they're showing the Craig movies on tv here, which means (because I physically have all the other ones) that I could've participated in this from the beginning. If only I knew.

More than welcome to join in, even if its only for a few films. The delay for latest film means theres plenty of time to catch up!



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I did a double feature last weekend.

Casino Royale:

This one starts great, with film noir sensibilities and dutch angles. While the first third is a little overlong and heavy on action scenes, the second third in the casino and the final third--the love story--make this the first great Bond movie since 1969, according to my scores. The slow burn action at the hold 'em table and the sparkling chemistry between Craig and Green elevate a rather conventional spy caper. The supporting cast is great, particularly Giancarlo Giannini as a weathered intelligence agent.

The only other con, apart from a drawn-out first act? Some egregious product placement.

8/10

Quantum of Solace:

I've always liked the idea of QoS: a coda of sorts to a previous Bond movie. And it starts strong, with a visceral car chase and an acrobatic airborne fight scene. Once in Haiti the wheels start to come off a bit. The villain's a bit bland and the supporting case doesn't leave much of an impression. There's also an unbelievable plane/parachute sequence that seems at odds with a mostly grounded, realistic movie. Still, Craig maintains his steely sexiness, Dench is a treasure (her rant comparing QUANTUM to florists is hilarious), and there is some good practical action.

6/10

Also: scores updated to this poin!



So, full disclosure: I never liked the idea of a reboot of the Bond franchise. Yes, Die Another Day was a disaster, but I felt it wrong to write off the past twenty films because of one horrible entry. It seemed like a simplistic ploy to “reinvigorate” the franchise and get people excited for Bond again. Having said that, Casino Royale is one of the best films of the franchise and in lesser hands it could have been a mess, but bringing back Martin Campbell after GoldenEye was a genius move. His stylish, and grounded, direction does reinvigorate the character, and, even though I feel they abandoned the idea of the reboot rather quickly in subsequent entries, as a stand-alone film, Casino Royale is quite masterful.

I remember seeing this in the theatre, and trying to keep an open mind, but was still miffed that MY Bond was being done away with and some poseur was taking his place. I was pretty won over by the end of the opening credits. The opening in black and white is a great throwback to espionage films of the 60s like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and the fight sequence had a visceral, brutal quality to it. I wasn’t so much a fan of the grainier cinematography of the bathroom brawl, but I’ve always favored hand to hand combat to excessive gunplay. Any lingering doubts were gone after the title sequence. Not only did it manage to deliver a great theme tune by Chris Cornell in the vein of the late 80s themes that had always been my favorite, it was a musical reassurance that this was Bond. The animated title sequence was a loving homage to Dr. No’s title sequence and even managed to incorporate a failed idea from DAD: plot elements that propel the story forward, in this case, Bond’s designation as 007.

I will say that four films in, Daniel Craig still does not FEEL like Bond to me. This could be due to the fact that his era of films did such a great job at setting up that he was NOT the Bond we had watched for the past forty years, but the man who grew into that Bond. I’ll touch on this in his later films. Here however, Craig absolutely shines in the role. He has that twinkle that reminds me of early Connery, where he can be deadly serious but also disarmingly charming. The only real scene where I didn’t buy his performance was the torture scene. It seemed too out of character in the midst of that sequence to make a joke about Le Chiffre scratching his balls, and more likely an addition to the script to lighten the mood of the scene.

Craig also has crackling chemistry with Eva Green as Vesper Lynd. I wish I had not read the novel in this case because unfortunately you know the twist that is coming even if the film tried hard to point you in a different direction. But even if you don’t get the gut punch of her betrayal, the relationship that has built up between the two is still strong enough that you’re hoping perhaps this story will take a different track rather than towards the inevitable conclusion. His comforting her in the shower, her saving him from poisoning and the consummation of their relationship during his recovery all work because of how well these actors play off one another. From their antagonistic yet flirty introduction all the way to him being forced to watch her sacrifice herself to save him. The elimination of Tracy Bond from his timeline had been one of the biggest contentions I had with a reboot but this relationship serves as a great successor as the pain that drives him forward in the franchise.

The rest of the supporting cast is quite excellent as well. Dame Judi Dench is still a delight as M, the only holdover from the previous timeline. Here, her character is portrayed differently from the Brosnan era, but it works in the context of a younger, inexperienced Bond. Now she is the hardened veteran versus the bureaucrat from the earlier films. My only contention is that Bond should be even less likely to push her in ways he never did his male superiors. He breaks into her home and uses her credentials to sift through intelligence. It just seems out of place and more as if the writers want them to be on equal footing rather than with a clear chain of command.

Giancarlo Gianni is a delight as Mathis, a character from the novels making his film debut. With a Bond early in his career, it was nice to see a older mentor watching Bond’s back on this mission. He also plays the role with an affability that’s impossible not to like. Jeffrey Wright also makes his debut as Felix Leiter, the first we have seen him since Licence to Kill. Leiter makes a welcome return to the franchise and I wish more time had been spent building that relationship. Finally, Mads Mikkelsen is sufficiently menacing as Le Chiffre. He isn’t given much to do given how the plot shakes out, but Mikkelsen gives a strong performance that makes him memorable and whose influence will be felt going forward.

The music is fantastic and the action sequences such as the parkour chase and stairwell fight are beautifully choreographed and shot. There’s not too much cutting so you can actually see what is going on and have a sense of space. The image of Craig’s Bond as a blunt instrument can best be summed up in the former when he literally bursts through a wall during the chase after his quarry deftly slides through a narrow window. The end sequence with the sinking villa in Venice was also excellent. An interesting location for the final action sequence, it was a reminder that smaller set pieces can still carry the requisite tension and captivate the audience versus Bond just mowing down dozens of lackeys with automatic weapons.

I’m going to give Casino Royale an 8/10. It was a bold move to do a reboot and I’m glad that the writers, director and actors gave it their all rather than just relying on a cheap gimmick to drum up interest in the franchise. Craig proves himself more than capable to lead Bond into this new era and with the film ending on the promise that he is not finished with Mr. White’s organization, we get a serialized storyline that up until this point had been exceedingly rare in the franchise. Sadly, the promise didn’t seem to be held up very well in the succeeding films, but you can’t fault this film for their failings.

Current Rankings:
1) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
2) From Russia with Love
3) Casino Royale
4) Goldfinger
5) For Your Eyes Only
6) The Living Daylights
7) The Spy Who Loved Me
8) GoldenEye
9) Thunderball
10) Dr. No
11) Licence to Kill
12) Octopussy
13) Live and Let Die
14) Tomorrow Never Dies
15) You Only Live Twice
16) The World is Not Enough
17) The Man with the Golden Gun
18) A View to a Kill
19) Moonraker
20) Diamonds are Forever
21) Die Another Day



With them being more recent I'll be keeping my Craig reviews short.

Casino Royale
A brilliant opening scene shot in black and white, followed by a wonderful credits sequence accompanied by a fantastic track by Cornell.
The first quarter is enjoyable enough but it really gets going once in Montenegro. From here it's difficult to take your eyes off, no Bond film has had this kind of suspense before.
I like what Craig brings to the role and his more sarcastic humour than playing up to the camera of the previous Bonds is good.
The rest of the cast is brilliant: Green, Mikkelsen, Wright, Giannini.
Absolutely love it 10/10.



Forgot my ranking--again!

1) From Russia With Love
2) On Her Majesty's Secret Service
3) Casino Royale
4) Goldfinger
5) For Your Eyes Only
6) The Spy Who Loved Me
7) GoldenEye
8) Licence to Kill
9) Dr. No
10) Tomorrow Never Dies
11) The Living Daylights
12) Thunderball
13) Quantum of Solace
14) The Man With The Golden Gun
15) The World is Not Enough
16) Octopussy

17) Live and Let Die
18) You Only Live Twice
19) Moonraker
20) A View to a Kill
21) Diamonds Are Forever
22) Die Another Day



I just saw Skyfall.

Wow. This was amazing. After watching the hit and miss that Quantum of Solace was, this feels like they fixed everything wrong, and made everything good even better. I feel like there's no real bad sides to this flick, from beginning to end it's an amazing movie. The action is stellar, taking Bond's invulnerability by wounding him for half of the movie actually makes everything more exciting, plus some very creative set pieces. The locations are mesmerizing, they did not pull their punches with their budget, all look great and all move the story along. Craig as Bond is at the top of his game here, this is his best performance yet. The fact that we continue with the character study of Bond in his movies keeps everything grounded and relateable, which could be a problem for previous incarnations of the role: we actually know there's a character behind the façade. Bardem as Silva is also an excellent actor. He takes the "renegade agent thought dead" from Goldeneye and kicks it into overdrive: he has a much more simple yet terrifying plan, revenge at all costs. And he does terrible things to get it. He will attack the MI6, kill innocent civilians, blow up the cover of other agents and getting them killed, fucking drop a train on top of Bond... All to get to M, who used him as a barganing chip in the past. His demeanor is terrifying even to the unflappable M, and that also plays in the theme of what has to be done for the greater good. What Silva had to go through is absolutely horrible, yet it doesn't stop you for a minute to think what he does might be right for his crusade. And all that leaves the best performance in the movie: M. Judi Dench does the performance of a lifetime here, being as prominent on a Bond movie as the character's ever been. She is able to transmit both her strenght as the head of intelligence while also selling her fear of being chased down by a fucking maniac, doing both at once must have been terribly difficult, and she pulled it off with flying colours. And all of that ends up with a Home Alone standoff of all things in Bond's family home in Scotland. They fight hordes of henchmen with barely a couple of guns and their own smarts, and that's always very entertaining to see.

If I had to critizise something, the movie sadly takes a while to really get going. They dwell on Bond's wounds too much, we know he's going to go into the assignement, so why waste time here? Also, the last fight is too dark, a lighter illumination would've been ideal. But this is just nitpick. This is the best serious Bond movie of the series. 9/10



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