Daniel Craig by Grant Jonsson
Tenure as Bond: 4 movies (currently)
Essential Adventure: Casino Royale (2006)
I have an interesting relationship with the James Bond franchise. Interesting in that it is very limited. My exposure in total has been to seven of the entire twenty-four films currently available to us. But that doesn’t mean I am any less of a fan of this classic spy. After the very muddled plot failure of Die Another Day, and the sad time effect on Pierce Brosnan’s body, 007 was in need of a very drastic face lift that would inspire an reinvention in both filmmaking practices and audience reception. Que the introduction of blue steely eyed Brit, Daniel Craig. He had a very different visual style than any other Bond actor prior to him, with his blonde hair and of course, his blue eyes. As well, one thing I feel that he possessed and possesses to this day, is a complete ownership and understanding of the role. He always knew exactly where Bond’s head was at in any given moment, and from what I’ve read, that hasn’t been seen since Connery.
The return to the early days of Bond’s career demonstrates what I believe Craig to have done so well. As a new 00 agent, Bond is of course now thrust with some new responsibility. The seasoned, rugged, and experienced agent we have come to known is no longer with us, so what we have is a man learning his trade, and Craig portrayed it perfectly.
The filmmaking team returned to the novel roots of the character’s creator, Ian Fleming, with a new adaptation of his first Bond novel, Casino Royale. Obviously, it was made in our contemporary period, (almost 10 years ago!!), but the return to the source material allowed the team to stay focused on telling a cohesive and compelling 007 narrative. This is why Casino Royale is my favourite of Craig’s Bond films. It was very tempting to pick 2012’s Skyfall, but Craig’s first outing as Bond, in my mind, has close to no flaws and it is the one of the very few films labelled as a definitive Bond experience.