I mean, seriously now. Daniel Craig was a huge jump in quality from Pierce Brosnan, who was a huge drop in quality from the criminally underappreciated Timothy Dalton, but that's a very low bar. In his 15-year tenure as 007 Craig's films have been slavishly praised - and all very profitable- but looking back at those years and those films, I can't help but comment that they are essentially a decade and a half of spinning wheels, wasted time, and really a whole lot of Nothing that did little more than shred the Bond mythology and leave us really not caring so much if we ever see the iconic superspy on the big screen ever again.
Before I break down why each film is an overrated mess, I'll toss a grenade at the Broccoli family, which made a horrible hash of the series with their inability to keep the franchise going with any regularity as if they are allergic to making money- in fifteen years, they manage to push out five films. Back in the 60s and 70s Bond fans could look forward to seeing their hero on the screen every other summer, pretty much like clockwork. But the Broccolis acted as if making Bond films wasn't their bread and butter, it was the horrible job they had to go do every once in a while when compelled to. They didn't treat the franchise with respect, and they sure didn't treat the loyal fans with respect. And yeah, I know the last film was delayed by COVID- but that doesn't explain the yawning gap of SIX YEARS between it and Spectre. Keeping to schedule, No Time To Die should have hit the theaters in 2017, 2018 at the latest. They just f--ked it up.
Ok, here we go- each Craig film and it's contribution to murdering one of the most profitable franchises of all time-
1. Casino Royale. The reaction to this one irritates me more than any other. Yeah, it's fine. Craig is a good Bond- he does the physical action well- as good as Lazenby- and is believable as a newly-minted 00 still learning the ropes. But if you remove every scene where someone is looking or using a cellphone, this film is barely an hour long. I swear, four minutes never go by in which someone doesn't consult their little phone for a text or to answer or make a call. It's like I'm watching a High School cafeteria during lunch. Also, Eva Green is boring as hell. Also, Eva Green is a treasury department official who needs to be constantly updated by another guy how much money is in the pot, because I guess treasury department officials aren't good at math if they are also girls. Also, that I don't care about Bond's relationship with Vesper is really, really bad news because even though she dies at the end of this film, she's present in the next four as well, because the Broccolis made the awful awful awful decision to make Craig's Bond live in a world where Continuity is Everything instead of doing the traditional reset we had no problem with for 40 years. Don't care about Bond's personal angst? Too damn bad, because you are going to be fed it for the next fifteen years.
2. Quantum of Solace- after suffering through the absolute worst theme song in the history of the franchise (yes, even worse than Madonna's for Die Another Day) we get a confusing mess of action sequences with jump scares, quick cuts, and blurred motion I can't believe we are supposed to be capable of deciphering without multiple viewings (and NOBODY is watching this twice.) We also get the cliche'd - to - death girl who wants to kill the bad guy because he killed her family when she was a little girl bit. We get a boring villain and a boring plot with very very low stakes (sigh; what happened to world domination? I want my hollowed-out volcanoes and World War III, instead I get "control of the water supply in a South American country OMIGOD I AM ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT?") And of course, we get references to Vesper. To remind us that this is a sequel. Don't know about you, but I stop caring about the Bond girl as soon as the credits roll. I don't need to see her again or hear her referenced in the next film. Too bad for me, because....
(To be Continued.)