007 in the Olympics, reports proven (mostly) right

It won’t be shown for a few hours in the U.S., but Daniel Craig appeared in character as James Bond in the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics.

Daniel Craig and Queen Elizabeth in a short film that was part of the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. This image is from MGM, which uploaded an image from the BBC.

The New York Times is LIVE BLOGGING the event.

An excerpt:

A video is showing Daniel Craig (as James Bond) arriving at Buckingham Palace. And the queen is in it! The genuine queen, not some costumed performer. She just said, “Good afternoon, Mr. Bond.” What a trouper! They’re getting in a helicopter (on video). And now they are jumping out of the plane (through special effects). Cute.

This was originally reported in the U.K. press on April 1, but has proven not to be an April Fool’s joke.

UPDATE I: Here’s an account in The Huffington Post. An excerpt:

Army helicopters then flew over the Olympic Stadium with a stuntman who played “Bond.” He then parachuted into the stadium to the tune of the theme from the James Bond movies. The best part? A stunt Queen also dropped in, Union Jack parachute and all.

UPDATE II: One critical thing didn’t happen. The 007 character wasn’t “knighted” by Queen Elizabeth II as reported by the London Standard.

Some Bond fans, especially those who were big fans of Daniel Craig, had argued this would amount to a de facto knighting of Daniel Craig himself. But it didn’t happen, so it’s a moot point.

That isn’t a bad thing because Ian Fleming’s James Bond turned down a knighthood in the author’s final 007 novel, 1965’s The Man With the Golden Gun. Thus the Olympics, by intent or by luck, ended up staying true to Ian Fleming.

UPDATE III: The BBC’s Web site has a video, which you can check out CLICKING HERE. The Queen’s dogs upstaged 007.

UPDATE IV: The video is on YouTube. CLICK HERE to see it.

UPDATE V: The Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. has a story that notes the doubles for Daniel Craig and Elizabeth II didn’t actually parachute into the stadium.

Some quick impressions of second Skyfall trailer

A bootleg copy of Skyfall’s second trailer emerged on YouTube the evening of July 26. James Bond Brasil spotted and got the word out. The hit count went from 8 to 306 by early this morning. Anyway some quick impressions:

1. More polished Bond: Daniel Craig’s days of an unsteady, inexperienced James Bond appear to be over. At 2:10 into the trailer, Bond escapes a harrowing situation and straightens his cuffs nonchalantly straightens his cuffs. It has been little moments like that that have made 007 films different than standard action movies over the decades.

2. Roger Deakins: It reinforces our reaction of the teaser trailer that Roger Deakins, the director of photography, lives up to the hype his hiring for the 23rd 007 film generated.

3. Still no Bondian music: The score of the trailer doesn’t evoke the Bond music style created by John Barry. That’s not a real concern at this point, given that trailers (at least preliminary ones) don’t have actual music from the movie.

4. If there are homages, they’re subtle: In the first minute of the trailer, there are shots of Bond engaging in a hand to hand fight on top of a train in a sequence filmed in Turkey. The combatants have to duck suddenly as the train approaches a tunnel. Long-time fans may be reminded of a sequence in 1983’s Octopussy where Bond was on top of a train in similar peril. But if this is a deliberate homage, the viewer isn’t hammered with it, unlike 2002’s Die Another Day, the 40th anniversary 007 film.

5. A young Q makes a good first impression: The casting of Ben Whishaw, 31, as the new Q got attention because previous MI6 quartermasters were older. Desmond Llewelyn was 48 when he filmed his scenes for From Russia With Love, his debut as Major Boothroyd/Q. But Whishaw seems just fine in the one scene we see in the trailer.

We decided to not embed the video (which could get taken down from YouTube for copyright reasons).

UPDATE I: Over at the message board of the Commander Bond Web site, poster “Shrublands” did some sluthing and may have discovered a very subtle homage to Dr. No in the trailer. CLICK HERE if you want to view. Warning: the sleuthing also deduces part of Skyfall’s plot. So don’t click if you want to avoid spoilers.

UPDATE II: The bootleg trailer on YouTube was yanked by 10:30 a.m. New York time.

UPDATE III: “Skyfall Fan” on Twitter advises there’s at least one other copy still out there somewhere on YouTube.