The Daniel Craig James Bond Trilogy: A Review by GMS

Daniel Craig - New James Bond movie Casino Royale

What can be said about James Bond?  He is one of the greatest film icons in history, and his movies are a part of one of the longest running film franchises ever.  Many men have donned the persona of MI6’s greatest agent, but the one I wish to discuss today is the most recent addition to the James Bond Hall of Fame: Daniel Craig.  The topic of Daniel Craig as James Bond has been controversial for me at least, as many/most of my friends think that he is the best Bond, while I do not.  I’ll save that revelation for later.  I have seen Craig’s films out of order, and that had affected my initial perception of him, but as I have recently seen Skyfall and thus finished the Craig “trilogy”, I can safely say that the Bond franchise is in good hands.  I want to lay down my opinion of his trilogy, and then evaluate Craig as opposed to other Bonds.  So, without further ado, let us begin!

I liken the Craig trilogy of Bond films to the Indiana Jones trilogy, but with one exception (I’ll get to it in a moment).

Just hear me out, guys…

Casino Royale is like Raiders: a perfect start to the trilogy, not a perfect movie per se, but great nonetheless.  Quantum of Solace is like Temple of Doom: the weakest of the three, improving upon some aspects, but still not as good as the first.   Skyfall is like Last Crusade: the best of the trilogy, a perfect movie overall.  Now, for my exception: While I will staunchly defend Temple of Doom, as I believe it is not that bad of a movie, Quantum of Solace is a horrible pile of steaming dog shit.  I’ll explain myself when I reach the appropriate point in this review, but for now let’s just leave it at that.

Casino Royale.  This movie is my personal favorite in the Craig trilogy, and I will explain why in a moment.  This movie introduces Bond in his first mission on her majesty’s secret service (heh heh), and has him entering the great Casino Royale to face off against the terrible Le Chiffre.  Along the way, he encounters his new love interest, Vesper, and the two later fall in love.  I really enjoyed the falling in love part, because it reminded me so much of my favorite Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  I think that it was executed very well in Casino Royale, though not as good as OHMSS.  Plus, Eva Green is super hot, so there’s that factor.

Mmmmmmmmmm, yes….

There is one other aspect that I really want to discuss: Le Chiffre.  He is one of my favorite Bond villains, but I don’t believe he should be very high on a ranking list, as he gradually gets worse later in the movie.  At first, he is this badass, evil gambler who can just dominate the whole game.

Alright, let the discussion begin!  Who would win in a poker game: Le Chiffre or Lonnigan from The Sting?

VS

  Taking all bets!!!  I digress.  As the movie goes on, however, Le Chiffre breaks down really quickly, and turns into this crazy, desperate pawn.  Compare him to the likes of Goldfinger, or even Silva from Skyfall.  Neither of these two villains breaks until the very end, even at all.  But Le Chiffre, on the other hand…Let me just use the interrogation scene from Casino Royale as my evidence.

You know the one.

Other than that, this movie was very well done, and a great start to the series.  Plus, it has one of the best scenes in Bond history: the ending.  Seriously, this is up there with Bond meeting Blofeld from You Only Live Twice, the ending in OHMSS, and the interrogation scene in Goldfinger (No, mister Bond, I expect you to DIE!!)!  Daniel Craig delivers the classic line very well: “The name’s Bond…James Bond.”  However, where this scene really shines is David Arnold’s version of the Bond theme, what I consider to be the definitive version.  Aaaaahh, man!  So good!

To be honest, I really don’t have much to say about Quantum of Solace, as a quarter of the way through the move, I stopped understanding what was going on, and I honestly stopped caring, too.  The main issue that I have with this film is that it is the only Bond movie that can’t stand on its own: it is a true sequel in the sense of the word.  The greatest strength of the Bond movies is that each one can stand on its own.  Sure, there are some things that carry from film to film, but overall each is a different story, and you could start from any point in the series and still be fine.  This cannot be said about Quantum.  I had no idea what was going on, and that is because the plot was in essence a complete follow up to Casino Royale.  Sure this is because I saw this one first, and not Casino Royale, but that doesn’t matter.   On top of that, the action was only average, the villain was stupid, and Craig’s performance was lacking compared with the other two.  In the end, as a result from all these factors, Quantum of Solace remains the weakest in the Craig trilogy.

Ah, Skyfall.  How can I even begin to talk about Skyfall?  Let me start off with this.  Throughout my quest of watching every James Bond movie, I gave each one a rating, from a 1 to 5 scale, 5 being perfect, 1 being a pile of shit.  Out of all the Bond movies, I only consider 3 to be perfect in every way:  Goldfinger, Goldeneye, and Skyfall.  The plot was ingenious, the villain excellent, and Craig’s performance at his best.  He wasn’t a rookie like in Casino Royale, and he wasn’t an emotional wreck like in Quantum.  Skyfall truly houses Craig’s best performance as Bond yet.  While it is certainly not my favorite Bond movie, I hold nothing but praise for Skyfall.  Silva was a triumph as a villain: his motives clearly and cleverly set up, his character interesting and his execution brilliant.

Now this is a Bond villain I can really get behind!

I would definitely put Silva high in the pantheon of Bond villains, right under Blofeld and Goldfinger.  This movie also made palpable the relationship between M and Bond, not just as boss and agent, but as mother and son.  This, too, applies to Silva and M.  Such an agent versus agent plot device is extremely evocative of Goldeneye’s Bond and Trevelyan, but each of these relationships holds its own appeal.  While Goldeneye’s was more small scale and intimate, Skyfall’s was more big-picture and epic.  In general, Skyfall was on an epic scale as compared to many other Bond movies.  For proof, one needs only to look at my favorite part in the movie: the final showdown at Skyfall, Bond’s childhood home in Scotland.  That is why I think Skyfall is such an achievement in the Bond franchise.  Even though Judy Dench’s M dies, she is replaced by one of my favorite actors, Ralph Fiennes.  I look forward to the relationship between Bond and the new M in movies to come.

            Now let me get this out of the way first:

I think the best Bond is Sean Connery.

Yes, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon that has existed since the sixties, but I don’t care.  Connery is the perfect, well-rounded Bond: equal amounts of womanizing charm, catchy one-liners, and amazing action.  I guess this is a moot point, since he was the first Bond, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the achievements of other Bonds, like Craig.  In fact, I think Craig is the second best Bond.  Like I already said, Connery is the well-rounded Bond.

George Lazenby, my personal favorite, is what I like to call the precursor to Daniel Craig: he is very similar to Connery, but has this more human air about him that I find very appealing.

Roger Moore was kind of like Connery on steroids: he took the womanizing and one-liner type comedy to the extreme, many times overplaying the character to the point of it being cheesy.

Timothy Dalton was an interesting Bond: he was more serious than other Bonds, focusing more on action than on the other facets that make Bond, well, Bond.

Pierce Brosnan was great: not only was he the best looking Bond, but he was like Connery except he took the action to a whole other level.

Daniel Craig is like Connery and Lazenby combined: he is well rounded like Connery but at the same time is the legacy of the human-like Bond that Lazenby created in the sixties.  With that statement, you might ask why Craig is not better than Connery.  Well, who do you think of when you think Bond?  Daniel Craig?  Pierce Brosnan?  Timothy Dalton?  Roger Moore?  George Lazenby?  No, you think Sean Connery!  Sean Connery is not only a well-rounded Bond, Sean Connery IS Bond!  YOU CAN’T TOP THAT!!  Now, you may say, “GMS, you could say that about anything, that the first of anything is always the best!”  And, well, you’re right.  But, I don’t believe that that is true of everything, just of this.  And, I could present this same argument used on me to the stalwart fans of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  But, I won’t talk about that issue right now.  I’m just saying that Connery is Bond, and nothing will change that.  However, I’m not denying that the other Bonds have done well.  I still think that Craig is the second best Bond.  In the end, each Bond has his own appeal, and you may think differently than I about your favorite/best Bond.  One cannot deny, though, that Daniel Craig has made a significant contribution to the Bond franchise, one that I do not think should be forgotten.

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K Dog’s Top 10 Pokemon Anime Characters

K Dog’s top 10 favorite Pokemon characters

 

Right now, since I am in the anime mood, I might as well make a list that is anime related and take a little breather from the video game lists that I have done in the past. (Hah, don’t worry, I iwll go back to that I just like to mix it up a little) Now I think what better way to make my first anime list than to make a list that has to do with my first anime I ever watched, Pokemon. Pokemon was an anime based off the famous role playing series on the game boy and was  my very first anime I have every watched and was the anime that basically got me interested in Anime and Japanese stuff in general, when I was just maybe in the first grade in grade school. I have really fond memories of Pokemon where it was the series that I have watched almost every night on the weekdays during my early years in grade school and I can still remember the enjoyment I had watching the show and seeing the Pokemon world and the characters trying to be Pokemon masters. Even though I have enjoyed Pokemon, sometimes I am a little worried that Pokemon may seem a little cheesy and premature for a college kid like me since It was a basically a show made for kids and a show that wasn’t meant to be complicated with deep stories. (I am sure I am not alone with worrying about this though) While I have watched way more anime that has more deep stories and realistic stories and animes that are way better than Pokemon, there is still something about Pokemon that still makes it a very special anime to me even to this day. Even now, whenever this show comes on Boomerang, I try to watch the old episodes of Pokemon whenever I can so that I can re live my childhood memories and see all of the Pokemon and my favorite characters that I have come to know and love. Pokemon could possibly be my favorite Boomerang show, I don’t know, it’s tough. Anyway, now I think I am going to go ahead and reminisce on the Pokemon series and say what my favorite characters are in the whole series. Fair warning, this list is my personal favorite characters and the characters that I remember the most fondly and not the ones that I think are the best. So in a way this list is based on a lot of nostalgia and my childhood. Nothing is bad about that though, heh heh. Anyway lets dive in.

 

10. Mewtwo

Mewtwo is the main antagonist of Pokemon the first movie and is actually a very interesting character even though he is a Pokemon. Mewtwo is a pretty tragic character who is struggling to come in terms with who he really is. Mewtwo was created as a clone to Mew, and it is debatable on whether he is stronger than Mew.

Mewtwo is quite powerful and he actually almost kills Ash when fighting Mew by turning him into stone in Pokemon the First movie.

9. Professor Oak

Professor Oak is the professor of Pallet town and is Gary’s Uncle and the one who gives Ash his Pikachu. Professor Oak knows so much about Pokemon and is very funny having funny and knowledgeable interactions with Ash and his friends. Not to mention that he has some pretty funny puns like this one……

(“Shocking isn’t it….”) Pretty corny I know but he tried.

 

8. Meowth: One of the smartest Pokemon with a pretty sad backstory involving him trying to impress another Meowth to loving him. Meowth is a member of Team Rocket and is basically their mascot. Meowth is a very funny character and he is the only Pokemon character that can talk, besides Mewtwo (I think). Also, Meowth adds the important finale line in the famous Team Rocket Motto. “Meowwwwwwth, That’s right.”

 

7. Pikachu: The mascot of Pokemon and probably the cutest Pokemon I ever saw. Pikachu is Ash’s best friend and companion but it actually didn’t start this way to begin with. Pikachu, in the beginning, starts off being very mean and rude to Ash, ultimately shocking him every once in a while, but later he warms up to him and then they become best friends. Ash and Pikachu’s relationship is very touching and is actually one of the best duos in anime in my opinion. One of the saddest scenes in the series is when Ash tries to leave Pikachu behind so he can be happy with a herd of Pikachu. This scene made me bawl my eyes out but it turned out Pikachu would never abandon his best friend, Ash, and left with him on his journey instead of living with a herd of pikachus. Okay, maybe some people wouldn’t consider Pikachu a character, but come on, if Pikachu is able to get me emotional during some scenes in Pokemon than I think that is enough for me to classify Pikachu as a character. Also, look how cute Pikachu is……

(Come on, I admit it, I cried the first time I watched this scene  in Pokemon the first movie when Ash dies).

6. Gary: The rival of Ash and Professor Oak’s nephew. Gary is a very talented Pokemon trainer and is very knowledgable of Pokemon (Way smarter than Ash that’s for sure). Gary has a rivalry with Ash and he often made fun of him in the beginning of the series but later he came to respect him as a formidable Pokemon trainer. Ash and Gary’s battle in the Johto tournament is one of my favorite  battles in the entire series where Gary’s Blastoise and Ash’s Charizard duke it out.

 

5. Giovanni: Giovanni is the main antagonist in Pokemon and the leader of Team Rocket. He is quite evil and he abuses Pokemon horribly. Really there is no mistake that Giovanni is a bad ass and a pretty cool villain. It is even rumored that Giovanni is Ash’s father. That would quite amazing and huge twist and I hope it is right. Speaking of Ash…..

ash10

4. Ash

     Ash is the main protagonist of the Pokemon series and is a character I personally like unlike a of people who don’t. Ash is a young boy who wants to grow up and become the world’s greatest Pokemon master. Ash is a determined character who is very passionate about Pokemon yet he doesn’t know anything about Pokemon. For instance he uses fire pokemon against water, or flying pokemon against rock. People usually hate Ash for this but for me, this is the thing that I like about his character. Ash is very funny and makes stupid mistakes throughout the series yet he always trys his hardest and cares deeply for his friends and pokemon. Anyone who is so passionate for something like pokemon and determined to achieve his dreams no matter how many stupid mistakes he makes is someone I need to respect. That is why I like Ash. One thing that is annoying about Ash though is: WHEN IS HE GOING TO AGE AND BECOME A POKEMON MASTER….. I mean come on. The series should have ended a long time ago and just had a definitive ending for Ash’s story, instead of just being milked for the sake of continuation for advertising Nintendo’s games. Ash should have had his traits but developed like Red did in the Pokemon games. That would have been awesome!

3. Brock: One of the funniest characters in the series, part of Ash’s original traveling team, and quite the pimp. Brock drools over every girl he sees, especially with Nurse Joy, Officer Jenny, and their many many siblings.  Brock is considered the big brother figure towards Ash and Misty where he cooks and takes care of them (after all he is the oldest out of the bunch). Brock also dreams of becoming the world’s best pokemon breeder instead of the best pokemon master which is pretty interesting thing because it is a different goal than all of the other main characters’ goals. Okay, when I was watching this show, I actually loved listening to the Pokemon Juke box after every show. (Come on it had the Poke rap). One of the songs I really liked was Two Perfect Girls, where Brock sings about he having trouble picking between nurse joy or officer jenny for his girl.

Also, Brock always closes his eyes. What does his eyes look like anyway???????? You know what, I don’t feel like showing a picture of it…………. It is way too creepy. But if you want to look it up be my guest. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

2. Jesse- James: Jesse and James are some of the funniest characters in Pokemon and the main villains of Pokemon. Jesse and James are actually the two characters that I feel make Pokemon….Pokemon and seeing that they change so drastically in the newer series really bums me out a bit.  Jesse and James are actually quite competent in the beginning of the series but they gradually become more and more goofy by getting their butt kicked by Ash’s Pikachu. Jesse and James’ life goal is to capture Ash’s Pikachu even though their boss really really doesn’t want it. Jesse and James show up in every single Pokemon episode trying to capture Ash’s Pikachu as well as saying their world famous motto.

( I am sure everyone know this all ready. I mean it has been said in the series about a billion times. But here it is just for giggles or for people who don’t know it. Enjoy).

and now for number 1………………….

1. Misty: Misty is absolutely my favorite character in Pokemon and my favorite red head character in a cartoon, ever, period (Yeah I said it). Misty is the character I remember most fondly from the anime and the character I have massive nostalgia for. Misty is a water Pokemon trainer and is actually Ash’s first traveling companion and in my opinion his closest friend he ever had in the series. When they first meet, Ash borrows Misty’s bike to save Pikachu from a pack of Sparrows and destroys it in a thunderstorm. This infuriates Misty and this allows Misty to travel with Ash because she wants Ash to give her a new bike. However this doesn’t seem to be the case and Misty actually wants to hang around with Ash because she truly cares for him and respects his love for Pokemon and determination to achieve his dreams. Misty is a character that I consider a tsundere character. A tsundere character is a character who is very rough in the beginning but becomes kinder and gentler overtime. Misty definitely fits this category, in my opinion, because in the beginning of the series she is a little rough and has a temper that one shouldn’t mess with but later becomes nicer over time. Misty is rough in the beginning mostly because she has a inferiority complex because she has 3 older sisters that tease her all of the time.  Misty especially shows this tsundere character arc especially with Ash when she gets frustrated with him in the beginning but gradually becomes really fond of him and starts being very nice and caring towards him. Misty is kind, sweet, tough, and a tomboy and it is amazing that she can  be tough as well as nice and sweet at moments. I always like characters with diverse character traits and that is why I like Misty. Also I am fan of tsundere characters (so there you go). Another reason why I love Misty is because of her chemistry and interactions with Ash and Brock. These three characters were so much fun to watch as a kid because they were funny and just felt like really really close friends. To be perfectly honest, Misty’s absence in Pokemon’s new episodes is the reason I have stopped watching Pokemon in the first place. Oh man, the episode where Misty leaves Ash  is probably the saddest episode of Pokemon, or any cartoon, for me, because it was basically the time where I just knew Pokemon was never going to be the same, and because of this I just didn’t really like Pokemon any more. Even now when I watch that episode I cry because of how sad it is.

(You don’t know what it is you had until it’s gone. Goodbye old Pokemon. You will be missed.)

  Now I am not a hard core shipper or anything, but always when I was little I just loved the couple that Ash and Misty were in the show.   I am going to admit that I always just rooted throughout the show that one day they can become a couple because, come on, they were a great couple, am I right(with all of their funny arguing like a married couple and just the touching moments they had throughout the series). I mean there were so many songs on the Pokemon CD’s like Misty’s Song and He Drives me Crazy that basically flat out says they are like a couple. Not to mention the songs were pretty good, even though they were campy, but all of the songs in Pokemon are campy. They were probably the first cartoon couple I ever liked as a kid so…. that means something to me…… so yay for pokeshipping or whatever people call it.

(Ahhhh, this brings back memories)

There is my top 10 Pokemon anime characters. If you watched Pokemon or know about Pokemon, feel free to write comments below and say your favorites or just talk about Pokemon in general. I am always loving discussion and it was great to look back on the Pokemon series. Gotta Catch em all man!!!!!