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What makes Daniel Craig's Bond so memorable

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Daniel Craig as 007
MGM
Daniel Craig as James Bond in MGM's "No Time To Die."

'No Time To Die' is the British actor's fifth and final appearance as James Bond and the 25th film in the 007 series.

If you're concerned about sitting through the 2 hours and 43 minute length of this film, screenwriter John Ingle believes that "at the very least, Craig's performance will carry you through."

Ingle, along with film professor Mitch Brian, hosts the 007x7 podcast, which examines the Bond films 7 minutes at a time.

Lengthy as the movie is, Brian says he's eager to see it again "because there's just so much stuff coming at you. I was never bored."

What makes Craig's portrayal of James Bond different from those of his predecessors is the narrative progression that began with the actor's first Bond role in "Casino Royale" and concludes with this final installment.

"This is a full story arc for Craig's Bond," Ingle notes, "so we do have a love story at the center of it, which I think is the emotional strength of the film," making the spycraft elements "a little bit irrelevant."

Brian agrees. "There's a lot of other story stuff going on," he says, including James Bond coming back to the Secret Intelligence Service after five years only to find, "as is always the case with James Bond films, the world has changed."

For diehard fans, the gadgets are there, although it takes a while for them to appear. Ingle won't reveal "the coolest gadget in the movie," but says the film stays true to this classic aspect of the Bond franchise.

With Craig ending his run as 007, comparisons to the original movie Bond, Sean Connery, are inevitable.

"They're my two favorite Bonds," Brian says. "They have a hard edge to them, which is how Ian Fleming conceived that character."

Putting the two side by side, Brian observes, "There's probably more emotional, textural qualities to Daniel Craig. You can feel him, you can touch him. He's close, he's relatable, whereas Connery always had a little bit of distance."

Since Craig has definitively said he will not return as Bond, whether and how the franchise will continue remain open questions.

John Ingle believes the franchise will continue. "There's a lot of money in that franchise," he says. "They're not going to walk away from that."

As to what iteration the next Bond will take, Mitch Brian says: "James Bond is also an imperial construct and so the question of will the next Bond be a person of color . . . To try and wrestle with these issues of imperialism and race that are always part of James Bond films, and especially part of the Ian Fleming's books, I don't know."

Ingle has a somewhat different take: "We could go all the way back to a much younger Bond again and start over with someone completely different and have a completely different set of characters at MI6 as well."

  • John Ingle, screenwriter and co-host of 007x7 podcast
  • Mitch Brian, film professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, screenwriter and co-host of the 007x7 podcast
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.