Home Entertainment Battle of the Bonds: DANIEL CRAIG

Battle of the Bonds: DANIEL CRAIG

3 min read


Daniel Craig was by far the strangest choice for a James Bond role. He’s blond, short and grimaces a lot. His looks are closer to pub crawl brawler than gentleman’s club boozer. Many noticed and there was a big push by some fans to boycott his debut.

Obviously that didn’t work. Casino Royale was a hugely welcome refresh for the franchise and even the subsequent three films, though successful, never matched its impact. But Craig could carry it: he was only contracted for three movies – that he appears in a fourth – Spectre – says all you need to know (it also helped that Skyfall, the previous 007 film, was the biggest earner in the franchise’s history).

Craig’s Bond harkens to two eras. His career resembles Pierce Brosnan’s: a massive, genre-defying debut and a lucrative run of increasingly so-so movies. But he is also part-Timothy Dalton: a colder, more brutal Bond that helped the franchise step up against existing action threats. Dalton rivaled the 48 Hour generation and Craig took on the Bourne era.

Legend has it that the producers of Bond were looking for something fresh and even approached the likes of Clive Owen for the role. But it was Craig’s cynical drug dealer from Layer Cake said to have won him the role.

The Craig Bond is competent and very dangerous, but also flawed and vulnerable. His frequent clashes with M were a big break from Bond’s passive aggressive condescension towards authority and much closer to the novel version (not unlike Dalton’s Bond, which was also very novel-focused).

But Craig appears done and his tone lately in interviews suggests he became fed up with the same problems Dalton and Brosnan encountered. If we learn anything about Craig’s era, it’s that Bond’s producers really have no clue what to do and are now just looking for big money by aping trends. If Craig retired a few years ago, they’d probably have tried to hire Liam Neeson for a Taken-style 007 (who ironically did turn down Bond in the 90s as he never saw himself as an action actor – go figure).

Craig deserves credit: his Bond more easily overcame the shifting action movie landscape than Lazenby or Dalton could. And much like Brosnan, he was a stellar Bond despite the general mish-mash efforts that his films degenerated into.


[column size=one_half position=first ]
A brutal, uncompromising interpretation of Bond that sits closer to both the books and Timothy Dalton era. Bond shows why Jason Bourne can’t just walk up and take the spy crown.[/column] [column size=one_half position=last ]
Like Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan, Craig’s Bond was increasingly scuppered by movies deviating from Casino Royale’s new formula in desperate grabs for popular appeal.[/column] [column size=one_half position=first ]
 Casino Royale. Directed by Martin “Goldeneye” Campbell, it was not only a faithful adaptation of the first Bond novel, but a true 21st century action movie. [/column] [column size=one_half position=last ]
Skyfall. At least Quantum of Solace tried to reconcile the newness of Casino Royale with 007’s cinematic legacy (though it failed). Skyfall just buried its confusion under Bond tropes and an unnecessary origin story. Sure, it made lots of money – but so did the Macarena. [/column]


Last Updated: November 26, 2015


  1. Skyfall is Craig’s worst Bond movie? I think you should check the ventilation in your office….. someone is pumping in silly statement air.


    • James Francis

      November 26, 2015 at 17:13

      It will always be a controversial choice and I am being a bit soft on Quantum. But I don’t consider Skyfall a remarkable addition to the Bond world.


  2. Kervyn Cloete

    November 26, 2015 at 20:27

    I’ll be the first to admit that Skyfall had some big problems, like a villain’s plot that doesn’t make a lick of sense. Also, admittedly it did take a step backwards, away from the more realistic approach of Casino Royale, to hark back to the earlier series and its tropes (your mileage on this decision may vary, but personally I think they struck the balance perfectly). And you could even say that the finale is kind of silly.

    But even with all that, there is just no way – NO WAY – that Quantum of Solace is a better movie. Craig and director Marc Forster were literally making the movie up on the set as they went along because of the Writer’s Guild strike.

    And has their ever been a more lame villain than Green? His big plan? To steal water from a country? It happened in real life and the bad guys there actually went way bigger and did a helluva lot more. Yes, a Bond villain got out villained by some real life politicians. That’s just embarrassing.


    • James Francis

      November 27, 2015 at 08:35

      Skyfall was lazy and ran back to safe waters. Quantum tried to bridge the worlds of classic Bond and Craig’s era. That was clearly obvious in the plot, which mirrors both Goldfinger and Goldeneye; contrasting the dead girl covered in oil (homage to Goldfinger) to M chastising Bond for the consequences of his manipulation (that never happened before); introducing one of the strongest female characters the series has ever seen; and trying to establish QUANTUM as the new SPECTRE or SMERSH.

      I think detractors use the water angle to nitpick. If Quantum was a success they’d praise it. How is the water any different from Goldfinger’s plot to blow up gold reserves or 006’s plan in Goldeneye to corral cash and then cause a financial meltdown using an EMP weapon? The whole point of the water angle is it was left-of-field: everyone figured it’s something like oil. Water was genius: it’s mundane, but we are even more reliant on it than any other resource outside of air.

      Skyfall? The world’s most useless rogue agent on a sad revenge plot and a truly stupid assault on another spy’s compound. Along the way he ‘hacks’ something with a room of ‘computers’ to gain some advantage. I’m certain the writers actually made air-quotes when they explained those bits. They could have replaced it with typewriters and monkeys and it would still have been the same plot device.

      The female role was utterly forgettable and the ONLY substantial contribution was Bond’s childhood and M’s death. Neither are remarkable imo, especially the back story that nobody ever asked for.

      I do agree with a point you made in your Spectre review: Skyfall has some nice character development. But I believe in everyone’s anger over Quantum they are cutting Skyfall slack it does not deserve.

      Both films were awful, but at least Quantum tried. Skyfall just fixed Quantum’s action cinematography and then ejected any notion of creativity.


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