I was extremely disappointed a few years back when I saw Casino Royale. As a lifelong fan of James Bond, I felt that the producers and writers had screwed up a good thing, big time. Bad plotting, poor characterization and a lemon of a choice for the starring role. I walked out of that movie and have never bothered to see its follow-up, Quantum of Solace. I went home and watched Goldfinger. Twice.
Today, in my escape from my wife’s annual cookie day gathering, I played movie roulette. When I arrived at the theater the next movie to play was Skyfall. I was disappointed but decided to go through with it.
I am glad I did.
Though this movie will never take its place beside “From Russia With Love” or any of the truly great Bond films, it was good enough to revive my love for this franchise. They injected just enough of the old Bond to bring things back to the right track. There was fun, gadgets, a little wry humor thrown in, all the elements that have been trademarks of this storied franchise.
One thing that really struck me is the uptick in quality of the supporting characters. Four actors with Academy-Award credentials appear. Judi Dench returns as M, Bond’s boss. Javier Bardem as the main villain, played with super-creepiness. Ralph Fiennes as M’s new boss and finally Albert Finney in a small but juicy role as a man from Bond’s past. The new Q, portrayed as a boy-genius computer nerd was a bold and ultimately wonderful choice. We even get a new Moneypenny!
While Bond is almost an anachronism in the 21st century, I think they finally got it right in updating our favorite superspy to be relevant in the world of terrorism rather than the Cold War. Gone is the suave, ladykiller Bond of the swinging sixties. Now we have a cold, intense, complicated, and flawed hero for a new day
So, I think now I may hunt down Quantum of Solace and give it a try. Maybe Casino Royale was just an aberration. I’m just happy I can love my favorite childhood superhero again!