Now in its twenty-second outing and with a sixth Bond actor cemented in the role, the longest-running franchise in cinema history continues with the premier of Quantum Of Solace this Wednesday.
In light of the phenomenal critical and commercial success of Casino Royale, the highest grossing Bond film to date and Daniel Craig’s first outing in this career-defining role, expectations are greater than ever. Casino Royale offered a return to form for a tired looking franchise, staggering under the weight of poor scripts and un-inspiring, dull performances. Perhaps the most revolutionary feature of this change has come from the casting of Daniel Craig, whose portrayal of Bond allows for a turn to the darker side of Bond – much more in keeping with the character envisaged by Ian Fleming. Craig has made the role his own. Not only is he probably one of the finest stage and screen actors of his generation, he is also far more importantly undoubtedly the best wearer of unfeasibly small blue shorts (many have tried the same feat and failed) in cinema. In Quantum Of Solace Daniel Craig has the chance to move one step closer to the mantle of, probably the best ever Bond, that dangerously cool Scot, Sir Sean Connery.
Away from our leading man the supporting cast in Quantum Of Solace presents an array of new talent and stellar performances from true screen legends. Our two new Bond girls, St Trinian’s Gemma Arterton and the obligatory James Bond Russian Olga Kurylenko, are two relative newcomers sharing screen-time with the weight of two cinema greats, this year’s Cesar winner Mathieu Amalric, playing the token James Bond foreign bad guy, and of course our very own national treasure, Dame Judy Dench who reprises her role as ‘M’. Behind the camera too lies a plethora of talent. The new director Marc Foster of Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland fame and the two time Academy Award winning screenwriter of Million Dollar Baby and Crash pens his second successive Bond film to name but two.
With such a weight of on and off camera pedigree it is no surprise that Quantum Of Solace continues with the same momentum of Casino Royale, starting just one hour after the end of its predecessor and the death of Vespa Lynd, the drama and intrigue rolls on from Craig’s first outing as Bond. The costs were bigger, the explosions are bigger and somehow even Daniel Craig got bigger, and behind this bluff lies the sentimentality and subtlety of a very good actor creating a very different and exciting Bond. He might not care how he drinks his martinis now, his quips might have lost some of Connery’s misogynism and his “Bond, James Bond” might miss that Scottish slur, but Bond is back and its star, Daniel Craig, continues this fantastic revolution of a forty-six year franchise. Bond is back, so roll on Bond 23. Happy Viewing.