' ' Cinema Romantico: Casino Royale

Monday, November 20, 2006

Casino Royale

Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan's James Bond faces always contained that wry smile. You know the one. They weren't just always one step ahead of the audience, they were also one step ahead of every character in the movie. Roger Moore's James Bond face always perfectly conveyed the look of a man concerned his paycheck could be returned at any time during filming for non-sufficient funds. Timothy Dalton's James Bond face always perfectly conveyed a man still uncertain if him being 007 was, in fact, a practical joke. Daniel Craig's James Bond face does include the wry smile but you rarely get the feeling he is a step ahead of anyone.

This isn't your dad's Bond and it isn't really your Bond, either. This is supposed to be Bond getting back to the basics. This is supposed to be Bond getting gritty and real. This is supposed to be the birth of Bond. This is the current rage with franchise films, after all. Oh, don't get me wrong, he's still a suave guy. He's just not AS suave. I remember reading somewhere during the period when there was much speculation about who the next Bond would be regarding the possibility of Russell Crowe being cast. Some writer made the comment that Crowe was more likely to hit someone over the head with a chair than shoot someone with a laser pen. Daniel Craig strikes me as a hit someone over the head with a chair type.

In this movie our trusty Bond girl (Eva Green) provides James his tailored tuxedo for their obligatory night out at the casino.


I'm sorry but it just doesn't work that way. Bond already has his tuxedo tailored and ready-to-go, okay? And while we're at it what's with Bond not caring how his martini is made?

At least he continues delivering those infamous one-liners but even those aren't delivered right. Connery's one-liners were more like quips. He was only mildly annoyed by all the nefarious villains. Craig's one-liners are more like insults. He seems to harbor a more personal dislike for the bad guys he encounters.

I want to make it clear that none of this is an indictment of Daniel Craig's peformance. He does precisely what the movie asks of him and does it extremely well.

I understand different people want different things from movies. And maybe some people want a Bond that appears more real. I also understand the filmmakers desire to recharge the series. But this reviewer doesn't agree with the choice to recharge it through attempting to give Bond a harder edge. It seems to this reviewer that the answer lies in hiring a more dynamic director and maintaining the globe-trotting, over-the-top, shoot-bad-guys-with-a-laser-pen feel.

There comes a moment when Bond is washing blood off his face and he pauses to indulge in the Poignant Look Yourself In The Mirror Scene. And I thought, is this really happening? Is Bond really taking a break from offing bad guys and wooing exotic women to poignantly look at himself in the mirror and wonder, "Why do I do this? Is it really all worth it?"

The only thing that should ever cause 007 to take a break from offing bad guys and wooing exotic women is to have a martini that is "shaken, not stirred". Got it?


Rory Larry said...

Since I too saw Casino Royale and will not inevitably write a review, I would like to retort briefly. I really liked the new Bond film. I liked that they dispensed with the corny lines and crazy gadgets. I laughed outloud at some of them. "I'm the money" announces Eva Green. "Every penny" shoots back Bond. "Money", "Penny". Moneypenny?! Corny maybe, but I laughed.

I like that his feelings with respect to women are no longer couched in an archaic womanizer motif that borders on misogyny but seem to be deeper and its left unexplained. I like that Bond doesn't care what kind of martini he gets because "why should he care?"

In conclusion, I see your point, but you're just wrong.

Anonymous said...

So, no one ever really told me. Was it a practical joke?

Wretched Genius said...

Wow, for someone who constantly rants about how the writer is always overlooked it is quite surprising to see you disappointed that someone finally made a movie were Bond acts EXACTLY LIKE HE DOES IN THE ORIGINAL BOOKS. Bond, as originally written, is a much rougher character. In fact, Ian Fleming has stated a number of times that Dalton was his favorite Bond, because the Dalton movies were the most rough and violent, which is how the character was always supposed to be. Sure, he's still suave and intelligent, but he's a trained government killer, not a cocktail party host who carries a gun.

I agree with Rory, you are just wrong.

Anonymous said...

But I LIKE the cocktail host carrying the gun! That's the thing. We have so many movies already about cold, calculating trained government killers. Bond went against what is currently the norm. So yeah, now Bond is different. But he really he's just become the same.