It’s been too long since Quantum of Solace, the follow up to the James Bond reboot Casino Royale. The last time the series took this much time off, Timothy Dalton waited as long as he could before quitting the series, handing off to Pierce Brosnan.
Fortunately, Daniel Craig returns as the dark, dangerous Bond created in the 2006 restart of the series. In both Casino and Quantum, we see the beginning of Bond, a man who has never killed before, but gets disturbingly good at it. Judi Dench’s M serves an entirely different purpose from the M portrayed by her (and Robert Brown and Bernard Lee as that M’s predecessors) in the original continuity. This M is a maternal force, shaping Bond into the blunt instrument Britain needs in this strange new century. This M is a Cold War veteran who misses the certainty of not only knowing her adversaries but even respecting them. Bond is almost unstable in these first two movies, played to cold perfection by Craig. This new Bond is rebellious, headstrong, and much more prone to mistakes. He is not the coolly suave Bond of Sean Connery and George Lazenby, the droll, unflappable Bond of Roger Moore, or the world-weary, stressed-out killer of Dalton and Brosnan.
This is Bond before Doctor No, debuted fifty years ago this week. As details of and trailers for Skyfall come to light, it’s clear the new movie is where Sean Connery’s Bond finally became the man sent to Jamaica to find out who killed Strangways. MI6 is under attack. Instead of M fretting Bond might do something stupid like start a nuclear war between Britain and Canada, M is under attack from a former MI6 spy. This time, Bond is cool instead of arrogant. His partner in crime is a small, lithe field agent who can hold her own with Bond named Eve Moneypenny. That’s right. Moneypenny is back. So is Q, but instead of the man who was old since Doctor No premiered in 1962, this Q, who seems to be based on Jeffrey Deaver’s Q from Carte Blanche, looks more like he graduated Hogwarz with Harry and Draco (and was probably smarter than both of them put together.) Ralph Fiennes plays a senior intelligence official, who, if the plotline I’ve read is correct, suggests that Bond will now have a new M to deal with, one more in line with Bernard Lee’s original character.
I can’t wait to see it. I have Saturday off from school this week. I’m treating myself. No homework. No day job work. Just Bond. James Bond.