James Bond Is Back and I Finally Got Him

One cool dude. Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

One cool dude. Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action-adventure SPECTRE.

Where the heck have I been? I confess that the only reason I attended an early screening of the latest James Bond film, Spectre, was because of my new “appreciation” (G-rated word here) for Daniel Craig. I’ve become a big fan since I caught him in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).  I continue to devour that film every time it reruns on HBO. I even bought the DVD.  When I caught wind of the rumors that Craig and Rooney Mara may re-team for the second English-language installment of the Millennium Trilogy, my heart skipped a beat; and I revisited the prospect of seeing Daniel Craig as James Bond.  Yep, maybe that casting could work, too.

I haven’t seen a Bond film since the Dark Ages (aka, the Sean Connery and early Roger Moore era).  For me, Bond and Connery were interchangeable.  End of story.  I moved on and never looked back. I shamefully dissed and unfortunately missed Daniel Craig’s run in the last three Bond films.  So I came to Spectre with Craig’s performance in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on my mind.

The chase is on during the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

The chase is on during a Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City. Photo courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions.

Mea culpa!  In a word, Spectre is dazzling.  Bond may be working under the radar in this installment, with some malfunctioning gizmos; but the spectacle of his rogue mission is gripping, and the mood is set straight away as he maneuvers through the film’s spectacular and explosive opening sequence during a Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City.

Threats to his persona and his peers in high places are, of course, not unexpected and emanate from a web of lies and betrayals. Bond’s mission takes him above, below and on top of gorgeous landscapes around the globe where he navigates breathtakingly choreographed encounters with some vicious collateral henchmen. But when Bond lands full circle back in London, he must face off with their sinister boss (a perfectly cast Christoph Waltz) who carries a painful family secret from Bond’s past.

Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux wait for a ride in SPECTRE. Photo courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions.

Daniel Craig and Léa Seydoux have a date with destiny in SPECTRE. Photo courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions.

Aside from Daniel Craig’s perfect fit as Bond (and that includes his natty, form-fitting, wrinkle-free suits!), there are other big surprises to relish: Bond’s women–Moneypenny (Naomie Harris); his romantic interest, Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux); and even the beautiful older widow of an adversary, Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci)–are independent, strong-minded collaborators and not sexy window-dressing.

Kudos to director Sam Mendes for orchestrating this complex action-adventure and to his production team for their classy set and costume design and breathtaking cinematography, all of which envelope their cool, taciturn hero and star in just the right light and shade.

If you’ve had your fill of schlocky, super hero films featuring mind-numbing explosions and mindless cartoon characters, be sure not to miss Spectre. The storyline and Bond’s facile escapes may be far-fetched; but they make for terrific, suspenseful escapist fare, embellished and empowered as they are by timeless, beautifully appointed sets and costumes, gorgeous international locations and, above all, by Daniel Craig.

Daniel Craig is a perfect 21st century James Bond in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ SPECTRE.

Daniel Craig is fleet of foot, wrinkle-free and a perfect fit as James Bond in SPECTRE. Photo courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions.

When and hopefully if Craig decides to return for his fifth go-round in the James Bond film franchise, I’ll be first in line to see it.–Judith Trojan

 

 

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About Judith Trojan

Judith Trojan is an Award-winning journalist who has written and edited more than 1,000 film and TV reviews and celebrity profiles.
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6 Responses to James Bond Is Back and I Finally Got Him

  1. Donna Bordo says:

    Haven’t seen it yet but based on your review it is first in line. Sky fall is a must for you to see, fabulous script and directing!

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  2. I’ve been following Bond pretty steadily and am much less enthusiastic about Craig’s Bond films. I can understand how this one may seem fresh and exciting to someone who hasn’t touched down in the Bond universe in several decades, but I found it pretty stale overall. Check out Lou Lumenick’s one-and-a-half-star review of SPECTRE in the New York Post. His views pretty much match mine:
    http://nypost.com/2015/11/05/spectre-will-bore-you-to-death/

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    • Judith Trojan says:

      I hold to my review. SPECTRE is a classy breath of fresh air as a stand-alone action-adventure especially compared to the other films in that genre of late (geared for juvenile males who can’t get enough explosions and sexist story lines), films that I wouldn’t spend a dime to see. SPECTRE called to my mind Hitchcock’s Cary Grant-Grace Kelly starrer TO CATCH A THIEF…the look of it and Craig’s demeanor and pairing with Seydoux. I don’t remember when I last agreed with Lou Lumenick. He tends to be a grouch, especially the longer he’s been reviewing. He used to review for one of our Jersey papers, and I rarely agreed with his take on films then either.

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  3. Ted Hicks says:

    I saw “Spectre” this morning in IMAX. It’s very impresssive and a lot of fun, but you should really see the previous one, “Skyfall,” also directed by Sam Mendes, which I think is a much better film. Since you like Daniel Craig, I also recommend a much earlier British film he was in, “The Mother” (2003) where he plays a married construction worker who gets sexuallyinvolved with a recently widowed woman AND her daughter at the same time. Very interesting film. BTW, read earlier today that a sequel to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” will not include Craig, Rooney Mara, or David Fincher. But who knows? Glad you’re back on the Bond ride.

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