by Tony Medley
Runtime 148 minutes.
Not for children.
There’s only one person alive who can kill James Bond; Daniel Craig. All
the prior iterations had James as a womanizing, double-entendre dropping
secret agent who never let a beautiful woman pass by unattended to.
Craig, however, is unconvincing as a man who finds women sexually
appealing and this shows up in his films. Director Sam Mendes gamely
tries to urge him on with 29 year old Léa Seydoux (who comes from a
family of extremely successful businessmen; her grandfather, Jerome
Seydoux, is chairman of Pathé). It’s worth noting, I guess, that she
claims to be the first blonde Bond Girl. But there is about as much
chemistry between Craig and Seydoux as there is between a brick wall and
a tree. Craig “makes love” to her like he’s following instructions in a
“how to” manual. Fortunately for Daniel and the audience, and,
especially, Seydoux, these scenes are few and far between.
So gone are most of the womanizing, gags, and double-entendres. Craig
turns this into a straight action film. It is beyond ludicrous, but in
that vein, it’s Bondian. Except for the first three or four, all Bond
films are ludicrous. But back then it was played for laughs. This is
deadly serious, including a stomach-churning scene in which James is
tortured by his nemesis, Blofeld (Christoph Waltz, in another fine
performance as a villain).
The CGI and special effects are terrific, especially the opening. Bond
films always open with a bang, and this one is no exception, except that
what happens is slightly more believable than some of the others that
had James flying off the sides of mountains.
It’s long, but director Sam Mendes never lets the pace drag, and it’s
filled with typical Bondian great locations and captivating
cinematography. This is just one action sequence after another. There
are homages to former Bond movies. Some of the scenes are inexplicable,
things that could only happen in a Hollywood movie, but, hey, this is a
This is definitely not what we have come to expect as a Bond film, but
it’s still a good actioner. Alas, as long as we have Daniel Craig, we
won’t have James Bond as interpreted by Sean Connery, director Terence
Young, and writer Richard Mailbaum.