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ChickenStu on the Craig Era

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#1 ChickenStu



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Posted 30 October 2013 - 05:06 PM

It really took me a while to warm to Daniel Craig, since I was so distraught at losing Pierce Brosnan. But they wanted to go in a new direction with the character and the films and one cannot deny that they eventually aced it. For me, it took a couple of films.


Casino Royale


It's OK. Don't get me wrong I appreciated what they were trying to do and for the most part it's a success. Craig portrays our man as pretty ruthless and handy with his fists, but there is a steel core of raw humanity underneath. It's a refreshing interpretation but the edges are too rough. It's a fair adaptation of Fleming's novel, and has some constructive elaborations. The poker scene is just as tense as the baccarat scenes in the book.


The problem is, it is just too damn long. The whole sub-plot with Vesper and our man becomes an unwelcome drag in the story and is fitted in quite awkwardly. A shame, because up until then it's a pretty riveting tale. 


This isn't bad, in fact its pretty good. There are just some problems. I nowhere near find this to be the masterpiece that many claim it to be.


Quantum Of Solace


Oh dear. Just oh dear. Making this a direct sequel to the previous movie was a bad move. It doesn't even feel like a proper film on it's own. Just another excuse to make Casino Royale seem longer! The whole "Quantum" thing is perhaps the least interesting thing I've seen in a Bond film so it's a chore to watch TWO movies about it. This really is not very good at all. I don't like this movie one bit. 

#2 Double Naught spy

Double Naught spy


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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:47 PM



Not that I disagree with your critiques of these films, but I noticed that you posted that Brosnan is "your Bond."  Based on this, I'm guessing I've got a few years on you.  As such, I'm assuming that the Brosnan-to-Craig switch was your first '007 transition.'  I'd be curious to read your reviews in a decade or two when we've settled into the post-Craig era with another actor.   


I discovered Connery and Moore all in same night in 1980 with a double-header of MR and DAF.  After that, thanks to "ABC's Sunday Night Movie" here in the States (this was before my house had cable TV (i.e. HBO) and a VCR), I saw both Connery and Moore films in roughly the same frequency until I was caught up.  So I sort of grew up with both actors as "being 007."  By the time Dalton took the reins, I had seen all the old movies, devoured all of the Fleming novels (as well as Colonel Sun and the ongoing Gardner series), and had come to realize that neither Connery's or Moore's cinematic portrayals (no offence to either of those fine actors!) were accurate representations of the literary character.  So, when Dalton hit the screens, my first '007 transition' went pretty smoothly.


When Brosnan hit the screen, I have to admit that I had a hard time adjusting from him being 'Remington Steele.'  But upon reflection, my criticism with his tenure has less to do with Brosnan playing 007 than it does with 'comedic moments' being inserted into his films like the "played-for-laughs" Jack Wade, inappropriately comical  "Please don't kill me - I'm just a professional" scene with Dr. Kaufman  (which totally negates the serious tone of 007 finding Paris dead), etc.   


Considering how much I cringe at the "played it for laughs" comedy, I was very pleased with CR's serious take on the franchise.  Personally, I like my humor in a 007 movie in a selective manner (like a 'diffusion line' uttered by our hero after a "Shocking, positively shocking" death.  Sure, it took me awhile to get used to Craig as being 007, but no more so that it did for me to accept Brosnan in a "post-Dalton" era.  Some moments in CR that convinced me that Craig was "the new 007" were - that split-second Craig pauses on the balcony before beginning his chase of the fleeing Mollaka, his crafty 'resolution' of the chase at Miami International, and the very tense "Um, MI6, I think I've just been poisoned" scene inside the Aston Martin.  So, by the time he uttered those three famous words at the end of CR, I was a 'believer.' 


But then came QOS, and I distinctly remember walking out of the theater thinking that I'd seen a good movie, but not a "007 movie."  To be fair - there were some cool scenes however, like 007 'casually' acquiring the motorcycle, his "'calling out" the members of Quantum during the Tosca, and his subsequent fight/escape from the opera house with just the music playing (shades of the rooftop battle in YOLT or the fight in the sound-proof studio in TND?), but all-in-all, this could have been an action movie staring anyone.


Looking forward to your review of Skyfall (hey, what about 1967's Casino Royale?)

Edited by Double Naught spy, 30 October 2013 - 09:56 PM.

#3 ChickenStu



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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:39 AM



Not that I disagree with your critiques of these films, but I noticed that you posted that Brosnan is "your Bond."  Based on this, I'm guessing I've got a few years on you.  As such, I'm assuming that the Brosnan-to-Craig switch was your first '007 transition.'  I'd be curious to read your reviews in a decade or two when we've settled into the post-Craig era with another actor.   



OK. I am 35 years old. I was 17 when Goldeneye came out. 


Obviously, I had seen some Bond films before that, but I was never a particularly big fan of them. They were sort of like the Carry On films insomuch as they were the sort of things I'd see on a Bank Holiday Monday or on Christmas Day on the telly. I was largely indifferent to them. I never saw them in any particular order or anything. I do remember quite liking The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker as a kid, but that's it really. 


I remember The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill coming out when I was a kid. I did want my parents to take me to the former but it never happened (I just ended up seeing it on TV). As for the latter, I didn't particularly care about it cause all I gave a damn about that summer was Batman (ironic, because I hate that film now). 


Now when Goldeneye came out, I was actually quite sceptical. I didn't think it would re-vitalize anything and wasn't expecting it to kick start the movie series and make it popular again. The only reason I went to see it was because I was on a date with my first ever girlfriend, she wanted to go to the cinema and that was what was on. It was simply a case of that. I just remember walking out really thinking Pierce Brosnan was cool.


I've got a bit of flack over in the other thread for saying I love Brosnan and then being less than charitable with my opinions on some of the films. What I SHOULD have pointed out there is, I was 17 when Goldeneye came out, 19 when Tomorrow Never Dies came out, 20 when I first played Goldeneye 007, 21 when The World Is Not Enough came out and 24 when Die Another Day was unleashed on the world. Back then I LOVED them. Of course, I'm 35 now and some of those don't seem too great these days - but that doesn't mean I still don't ADORE Brosnan, cause my memories of those times are pretty special. It was during that era I became the fan I was. Remember, I'm reviewing them as a 35 year old man now, and opinions change over the years. 


So I guess you're right. The transition from Craig to Brosnan was really the first time I was aware of it and it was happening in front of me so to speak. It seemed to me that Brosnan was wildly successful in the role and I of course loved him. Not only that, I wasn't at the time really pleased about the idea of rebooting it, cause what little continuity the previous movies had I did quite like. Also, I was really displeased about the Anti-Brosnan backlash that almost immediately appeared. It was like the thing I loved about the movies was being taken away. Of course, I was even then well aware that Brosnan wouldn't be able to do it forever, but I thought when his time came to pass the torch - it would have been on his terms and the fans would get fair warning. To hear how he'd been dropped after Die Another Day was actually quite upsetting to me. I still think it's a tad upsetting now. OK, dude was getting on a bit, but he still had one more film in him I think. It's especially upsetting that if you know anything about Brosnan's personal life and career beforehand exactly how big a deal him getting this role was to him and his late wife. There was almost a little fairy-tale in that, a Hollywood dream come true (I'm really hoping one day Brosnan will do a Roger Moore and do a book or two on the subject cause they would be well worth a read). 


I couldn't get excited about Casino Royale really. Of course I went to see it, but even on the night it came out and I was walking into the cinema with a friend and my step-son I still was smarting over Brosnan's loss. AFTER the film, when my friend asked me what I thought my response was "Well, it was better than Die Another Day I suppose" (I had come round to the traditional opinion of that movie at that stage). 


I had real hurdles to get over with Daniel Craig.


Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace were films I thought were "above average" and "not too great" in that order. Then of course, MGM went through it's difficulties and people were wondering what the future of these movies were for a couple of years. I guess in those four years without a Bond movie my attitude had mellowed a bit. And whilst my opinion on those two movies still hasn't really changed even to this day - when Skyfall was announced I was actually quite upbeat about the movie.


And in Skyfall Craig finally won me over as a fan. The new direction these movies were going in finally won me over as a fan. I liked the new dynamic set up for future movies and to be quite honest with you... with Skyfall I felt a magic akin to how excited I got whenever Brosnan had a new film out back in my early days. 


But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm not going to talk about Skyfall in this thread, I'm going to do a "ChickenStu on Skyfall" thread in the dedicated Skyfall childboard that's still up. So watch that space  ;)