Sunday, October 16, 2005

Craig, Daniel Craig: There's a new James Bond on the block

[Editor's Note: I just wanted to get this one out there ASAP because I'm a bit late on it, and I've neglected the blog over the last week because life got pretty intense. It is not even really proof read yet. I'll update with formatting, links, researched articles as soon as I can.]

There hasn't been a day like last Friday in twelve years. Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli -- producers (read: resident money-hungry Nazis) of the aging James Bond film franchise as well as senile and cowardly nincompoops who I believe fear the prospects of making a good movie -- along with Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Sony Pictures Entertainment (who just bought MGM) announced on an old WWI ship stationed under London Bridge, that James Bond was going back to his roots, and he had dyed his hair.

They should have introduced him as: Craig, Daniel Craig. Blonde hair, blue-eyed Daniel Craig. It seems that the world is taken aback that James Bond is now blonde -- even going as far to use the single worst headline in the history of journalism:

Blonde, James Blonde.

Give me a break people, you are supposed to be professional. Pun or no pun. Rhyme or no Rhyme. That is offensively annoying.

Now, the natural question that you are asking (and if you aren't, you really should be): How do I, a seasoned James Bond fan who lives comfortably and dichotically in the world of film tastes (preferring the classic, smarter Bond films, but still able to appreciate the modernity of Hollywood films that bend the laws of physical reality. Transporter 2, I'm talking to you), feel about this new guy? This blonde, new guy?

I really don't care that he is blonde. As far as I'm concerned, Roger Moore -- that pompous jackass who disgraced the 70s Bond films, many of which were great, with his ugly mug -- was also blonde. For me, this blonde-thing is not a first.

I do question the choice of Craig, who has starred of such films as Layer Cake, Road to Perdition and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. (Tomb Raider? Danny-boy, come on! Where was your sense of respect on that one. Angie is hot, but really man - Tomb Raider!?). When Wilson and Broccoli (did I mention that they are Nazis) kicked Pierce to the curb, they said it was because he was too expensive (requesting a rumored $30-40m. Pierce later denied that, saying he had asked for a salary "that was not out of the ballpark, that other men and women have received for the same [type of film]”). Afterwards, when they decided to go with Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, as the story for the next movie, they cited a need for a younger Bond, about half Pierce's age.

Ok, so you need a 28 year-old Bond. Fine. Then explain to me why you signed a 37 year-old guy who looks like he's 47.

I don't get it. I don't really have a feeling one way or the other about Craig. I watched Layer Cake over the weekend. By all accounts, it was a good movie, from what I could make of it. Craig has a thicker British accent than I would like Bond to have. He wobbles a bit when he walks. And, after all the crackpot talk about Ewan McGregor being too short for Bond, Craig looks too short to me. Besides all that inconsequential stuff, his acting was good and by the end of the movie I had a small sense of what his Bond would be like. I think he'll be a fine 007 (definitely better than Dalton. Sorry Tim, you know its true).

Really, at this point I'm mostly concerned about the movie-ization of Casino Royale. I am pretty livid that they have replaced the central card game in the story, baccarat, with no-Limit Texas Hold 'em, just because poker is all the rage now. I'm also pretty confused when Martin Campbell, Casino Royale's director, says the film is going to be darker and smarter and not have all the gadgets and action of the latest Bond movies, and then Wilson and Broccoli turn around and reassure fans that they really aren't changing the formula at all. I hope Campbell wins on this one, but I don't see it happening. I would certainly prefer From Russia With Love to another disgrace like The World is Not Enough.

I guess next November, we'll know.


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