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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

James Bond 2.0

Or is it James Bond 6.0? This much is certain: Daniel Craig will debut as James Bond next month in Casino Royale. I'm eager to see this film, but I'm also anxious about it. The filmmakers have chosen to "reboot" the storied James Bond franchise after 20 official installments.

I was initially disappointed to hear about this development, and I still don't care for how Pierce Brosnan, who I would rank second only to Sean Connery in his success as Bond, was fired from the role. Nonetheless, while I am a major fan of the Bond films, they have become more ridiculous with each release, and I am excited about an attempt to revitalize the franchise by starting over. From the limited graphics I've seen, this appears to be an attempt to recast Bond in the same style that Batman Begins did for the caped crusader.

If that is the approach, it may very well succeed. I'd be even more enthusiastic about a take on the role similar to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, a series that has amazed me from its outset at its imaginative, creative, suspensful and powerful storytelling. A success on that level is unlikely, but I am hoping at least for something in the vein of the Batman revival. A focus on realism and on character development are long overdue for a great but weary movie franchise. We'll see whether that combination can deliver in about four weeks.

As an aside, while I have read repeatedly that Craig is an excellent actor (a fact not necessarily true about all of his predecessors), I am concerned about increasing descriptions of him as the "Best bond ever." I am willing to allow for this possibility, but this early on, this sounds like hyperbole and possible promotional intent to me.

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