This is the next installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre coming out on November 6th. If you are interested in any of my earlier installments, click here.
Following the death of the woman he loved, Agent 007, James Bond (Daniel Craig) makes his next mission personal. While hunting for those who blackmailed her, Bond is led to ruthless businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a key player in the organization which coerced Vesper. Bond soon learns that Greene is plotting to gain total control of a vital natural resource and he must navigate a field of turmoil and danger in order to foil his plan.
It may surprise some (at least I was) that this film is the shortest film in the series so far following the longest film of the series so far, Casino Royale (this does include Spectre which I haven’t seen yet). Funny that it wasn’t until the 22nd film that this happened (the first film, Dr. No, is the second shortest). It isn’t the story’s fault, however, because it just has less filler than other past Bond films. Since we can debate about filler forever, I will not do it here. I will just say that most of the filler that’s been used so far in the series has been action, romance and slow plot development and it is okay when it is done well and it has been done well most of the time in the series so far. I would say that out of those three, that only action appears here. The film started with a decent enough pre-credits scene with another car chase, it was good but didn’t stand out. This film’s theme, “Another Way to Die”, is unique since it’s the first sung by two people, Alicia Keys and Jack White. Not the best, but okay. The plot is pretty simple here as Greene, a sociopath who wants to take over a country’s natural resources. The film is connected to Casino Royale (which has never happened so far in the series as each film has been self-contained for the most part other than, without giving anything away, a few past references) as the villain, Greene, is part of the organization responsible for blackmailing Bond’s love interest, Vesper Lynd, from Casino Royale. Amalric’s Greene was a rather forgettable villain being, if nothing else, slimy but not really standing out in any way. Craig was good again as Bond with the action and the seriousness. The Bong girl in this film, Camille played by Olga Kurylenko, was okay but did not really stand out in limited screen time. Judy Dench’s M had more screen time here and I thought the film was better with it as I’ve always thought she was a great actress and I always like a Bond film more if M is involved with the plot. The film did have some excitement in it from all of the action. It was very frantic and frenetic and done well but I thought it took away from the story as it did not leave much room for plot and character development. This would explain the short running time. This film follows along the lines of a similar film, Tomorrow Never Dies (also a short Bond film), which had the same problems. To me this film just forgot all of the things I liked about Casino Royale, which had a better balance of action and plot which was driven by smart dialogue instead of action. Overall, despite it taking a step back from the previous film, it is still a decent entry in the series.