Before I started typing this, I watched this trailer three times in a row. To call myself a James Bond fan is more than an understatement, and to consider Daniel Craig’s tenure among the best (if not the best, in my opinion) is surely blasphemy to Sean Connery devotees.
Yes, Connery set the template. His Bond films are totally delicious, and I genuinely love each one of them. But it’s no secret that he’d become a bit of a diva as his time as Bond progressed. And physically, it looked like he stopped going to the gym after From Russia with Love (1963), his second outing. By Diamonds Are Forever (1971), his last with EON Productions, he was phoning it in. (And for Never Say Never, his 1983 remake of Thunderball, he basically faxed it in.) Craig, on the other hand, seems to have worked harder for each film. And he’s the first Bond to almost make me cry.
Craig brought a brutality, humanity and pathos to the pat camp that Bond had started to become, except for Timothy Dalton’s underrated two-film turn, which was perhaps too dark for its time. In essence, I actually believed Craig was an assassin with a soul and a genuine loyalty to queen and country. With his Bond, the punches hurt and the heart was wounded. He was justifiably angry without a total sacrifice of wit. He actually seemed to give a shit, which is something I never fully sensed with the others. In terms of actual skill, I think he’s the best actor of all of them.
I’ll miss Daniel Craig’s Bond. I vividly remember the controversy around his casting because he was a blonde. I was skeptical myself. But by the thrilling black and white opening pre-credit sequence in Casino Royale, he had all the doubters shutting the fuck up and panting in the palm of his hand. And by the time we got to the nude/tied-to-a-chair/”I’ve got an itch” torture scene, we were all his.
As of this writing, No Time To Die opens on October 8th in the U.S. I’ll be in the theater on opening day. In a Hazmat suit, if necessary.
As an added bonus for fans like myself, starting on September 7th, Apple TV will be featuring a retrospective of Daniel Craig’s years as Bond, including all the films, bonus material and a 45 minute “Being James Bond” featurette about Craig’s 007 tenure.