Apparently there was some fuss made over Daniel Craig being selected as the sixth actor to play James Bond. Those who complained pointed out that Craig didn’t have the right colour hair, while others quibbled about whether he had the pedigree to join Connery, Moore and Brosnan. I remember scratching my head at all the fuss. The guy had not even been in a tuxedo yet, let alone acted a scene and already people had written him off.
So it was with delight that when Casino Royale came out from the black and white pre-titles sequence to the final scene that saw the hero standing with a machine gun Daniel Craig made the doubters look like mugs. Only Connery’s Dr. No is a better first movie for a Bond actor. Every new actor wants to stamp his own mark on the character and make it unique to him whilst remaining true to vestiges of the Fleming vision. Craig does that in spades.
You don’t want to follow in the footsteps of your immediate predecessor, but you do want to be the ‘same guy’. Craig is a reference to the steely, strong, clinical Connery type of Bond. He is not for the quips and smirks. He is about the business, but he’s fresh to the business. He is as yet not hardened to the cynical nature of his business. Yet you can see the telling traits that will make all the difference to portrayals like Connery’s.
How Craig eeks out his own identity is a level of steel and commitment to action that marks him out over his predecessors. The commitment to this Bond being more physically vulnerable than the rest which is seen through more of the bumps, scrapes and bruises that come with the role is a great example of how Craig’s Bond is more attainable to the regular bloke whilst still being convincing as a top professional spy.
After an outstanding debut, there was pressure for Craig to live up to his status in the follow up Quantum of Solace. If I left it to what critics had said, I’d be of the impression that he struggled. Thankfully I have a brain of my own to work these things out. Having watched it, I thought that Craig was consistent in establishing a man getting to grips with the duplicity involved in his trade and being hardened to it. This is not the suave, debonair Moore/Brosnan Bond to fell the women, this is a a good example of a man growing into his role with all the raw material there. that’s the key word for Craig’s Bond – raw. Not refined, not cultured, not cultivated, blunt, straight to the point, raw. That’s good and made for a good Bond film.
It remains to be seen how his character will evolve and what the producers will commit to when Craig finishes his time, but as it stands at the moment, the franchise with Craig is in very good hands.