LONDON (Reuters) - Princes William and Harry were on the red carpet on Wednesday for the world premiere of the new James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace", which sees Daniel Craig reprise the role of superspy 007.
The 40-year-old actor and his co-stars were greeted by hundreds of fans and a sea of camera flashes in central London for the 22nd installment of the Bond franchise.
Craig showed up wearing a tuxedo and his right arm in a sling after a shoulder operation.
Quantum of Solace, which follows on directly from the plot of the last Bond movie "Casino Royale", is released in British cinemas on October 31 and hits theatres in the key U.S. market two weeks later on November 14.
After Craig wowed critics and audiences with his Bond debut in Casino Royale two years ago, Quantum of Solace is expected to eclipse its global box office take of $594 million.
Early critical reaction suggests fans will prefer Casino Royale to its sequel, and Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will be less than pleased to read one senior British critic, the Sunday Times's Cosmo Landesman, conclude his review: "Craig makes an attractive corpse, but Bond is dead."
But movie industry experts believe the popularity of Casino Royale, a lack of alternative Hollywood blockbusters between now and the end of the year and Bond's lasting appeal would make up for mixed reviews and recession fears.
Craig was joined at Wednesday's charity gala screening in central London by co-stars including Ukrainian Olga Kurylenko and Bond regular Judi Dench, who had a glittering "007" insignia stuck to the back of her neck.
There too was French actor Mathieu Amalric, the latest in a long line of Bond villains, and Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson.
They were joined by Prince William, second in line to the British throne, and younger brother Harry. The brothers have asked for proceeds from the night to benefit charities Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
In Quantum of Solace Bond crosses Europe and South America to discover why the woman he loved betrayed him before she died.
He also battles to stop evil eco-terrorist Dominic Greene installing an exiled general in power in what is supposed to be Bolivia in exchange for land containing huge natural resources.
In a complex web of deceit and diplomacy, the secret agent falls foul both of his enemy and British and U.S. intelligence as his mission becomes intensely personal.
"They think he's gone off course and that he's a loose cannon and his emotions have taken over, and that is a bit more complicated in the story," Craig told Reuters in Los Angeles in an interview to promote the film.
For German-Swiss director Marc Forster, it is the biggest movie he has taken on to date. He has won acclaim for "Monster's Ball" in 2001 and "Finding Neverland", a biopic of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie starring Johnny Depp.
Editing by Andrew Roche