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Chris Wasser: Ah Mr Bond, we've been expecting

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Daniel Craig as James Bond.

Daniel Craig as James Bond.

Daniel Craig as James Bond.

One word, Bond fans: Spectre. It sort of sounds like a sci-fi film, doesn't it? But hey, it's a lot better than bloody Quantum of Solace.

Indeed, the important thing to take away from yesterday's extravagant title and cast announcement for the 24th James Bond film (due for release next November) is that returning director Sam Mendes has only gone and assembled the finest acting talent imaginable.

Daniel Craig is back, for the fourth time, and will be joined by Christoph Waltz (the baddie), Ralph Fiennes (M) and Irish actor Andrew Scott, to name but a few.

And what about that new Aston Martin? Now there's a proper car for the world's best secret agent.

Avid Bond fans will tell you that Spectre is actually an acronym (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion).

It's good ol' Blofeld's terrorist organisation, basically - one that originally popped up in creator and author Ian Fleming's earlier novels, and of course, 1962's Dr. No (the first Bond movie).

So, why are we so excited about yet another instalment in the long-running franchise?

Probably because Bond has rarely been cooler. The last film, 2012's Skyfall, grossed more than a billion dollars at the box-office.

And it was a damn fine movie too - Mendes casting his net wide to give us a thrilling, rule-breaking chapter in which our troubled hero almost died. Several times, in fact.

SERIES

And that's the thing about Bond that we love - there is no rule book. Technically, Spectre acts a sequel to Skyfall, but for the most part, this is a series that has rarely alienated the casual film-goer with excessive continuity.

In other words, the Bond movies tend to play fast and loose with the past, offering up fresh new plots and villains with each title, in order to keep things exciting.

So no need for messy exposition or geeky wall charts. Simply put, James Bond is an MI6 secret agent - one who not only uses his real name, but never ages. Deal with it.

There have been a few bumps during Daniel Craig's reign as the eponymous hero (actually, just one - the aforementioned Quantum of Solace) but we're lucky to have him on board, Craig having stepped into the role at a time when the Bond series decided to take itself seriously.

Given what had happened during Pierce Brosnan's tenure (invisible cars, cartoon baddies, Madonna) it was badly needed.

Better still, James Bond is a timeless hero, the archetypal "man's man" who gets to chase after bad guys, travel the world and seduce beautiful women. Oh, and he has cool toys too.

Clearly, this is the kind of rough-and-ready, old-fashioned, cinematic hero audiences still love to watch.


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