The 007 franchise has been around for 50 years now, and in that time we’ve seen the good, the bad and the Lazenby. The tendency has been, however, to view the success or failure of each movie as resting entirely on the actor playing super-spy James Bond. People will talk fondly about the rugged, masculine Bond as personified by Sean Connery or the campy, tongue-in-cheek Bond of Roger Moore, but rarely does the director get any credit for making or breaking the series.
And yet, the director certainly does matter. Just take the most recent string of Bond films: Martin Campbell successfully rebooted the franchise with “Casino Royale” (2006), ushering in a new Bond in the form of Daniel Craig and bringing a tougher, more poignant tone to the series. (Campbell had similarly rescued the franchise with “Goldeneye” a decade earlier.) You really notice how good Campbell was when you watch the next film in the series, “Quantum of Solace” (2008): This too had Craig and the same screenwriters on board, and yet it just didn’t work. The new director, Marc Forster, was good with actors — in films such as “The Kite Runner” or “Monster’s Ball” — but just didn’t know how to shoot an action sequence except in a handheld blur, and working off a script delayed till the last minute by the Writers Guild strike didn’t help.