With EON Productions finally acquiring the rights to Ian Fleming’s first novel, 1953’s Casino Royale, and then casting Daniel Craig as the sixth James Bond, it rebooted its franchise to launch an inter-connected series that unravels its hero’s complexity. The four Craig films to date have proved a critical and commercial smash, amassing in excess of US$3bn at the international box office.
CASINO ROYALE (2006)
The scenes set within Casino Royale’s eponymous Montenegro gambling haunt prove pivotal to Daniel Craig’s first Bond film. It is within its walls that he meets Vesper Lynd, the woman with whom he would fall in love and whose subsequent actions would go on to cast a long shadow across his life. He also makes his first connection with his CIA ally Felix Leiter, who plays at the poker table where Bond takes on his scarred nemesis, Le Chiffre, a man who has used terror attacks to manipulate the stock market and who is bidding to turn around his failing fortunes through his gaming skills. He proves no match for 007
QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008)
The Bond series’ first-ever direct sequel, Quantum of Solace begins in the immediate aftermath of Casino Royale and quickly places 007 in Italy, a country with which the Daniel Craig films have built an enduring relationship. The film opens with a spectacular car chase through the Tuscan mountains, with Bond’s Aston Martin DBS pursued by machine gun-wielding heavies in Alfa Romeos. The sequence concludes in the marble quarries of Carrara, where Bond prevails and the DBS, battered and bloodied, emerges triumphant.
The film is driven by Bond’s quest to understand Vesper Lynd’s betrayal, which leads him to Quantum, a shadowy, global organisation that has infiltrated governments and secret services all over the world.
Skyfall begins with a mission that goes awry, leading to the exposure of a clutch of undercover NATO agents embedded in terrorist organisations across the globe. MI6 itself then comes under attack, forcing M (left, played by Judi Dench) to relocate the agency. With her position and authority now under close scrutiny and with MI6 compromised from both inside and out, M is left with only one ally she can trust: Bond. The pair forge an even closer alliance as the film goes on to reveal much about Bond’s family history before it hurtles towards a conclusion that’s tainted by tragedy. Skyfall also reintroduces former series mainstays Q and Moneypenny.
The pre-title sequence to the 24th official Bond film sends its hero on a rogue mission to Mexico City, where a thrilling extended tracking shot follows 007 as he moves through the crowds during a memorable Day of the Dead celebration. Bond eventually infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of a sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. This infamous society had already featured in six previous films, introducing a whole host of famous villains, although in the film it is re-imagined for the 21st century. As the story unfolds, Bond comes face to face with its founder, a face from his childhood and the man who would become his arch nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
NO TIME TO DIE (2020)
The final film in the Daniel Craig series picks up where Spectre left off, the transition knitted together by the re-appearance of Bond and Madeleine Swann driving in his iconic Aston Martin DB5. Indeed, a clutch of Aston Martin cars feature in the film, including Bond driving a classic V8, which is meant to be the very same car that made such an impression in 1987’s The Living Daylights. The film is wrought with action and emotional beats that the filmmakers hope will prove a fitting conclusion to Craig’s five-film saga.