Casino Royale: that was... erm... different

March 18th, 2007

Let's be honest, there has never been a really amazing James Bond movie. It's an action packed sequence of short scenes, silly dialogue packed with puns, a cheer for old Britain, and gadgets. But, it stands for something. It's also a comment about high culture, Bond is both elegant and eloquent, but he's also a complete rebel. He's a guy that we as kids wanted to be, he knows how to get away with stuff, he thinks on his feet. He's the guy with the motorcycle and the leather jacket, only cool. At the end of the day it's exciting, it's unpredictable, it's just plain old fun.

The Bond production has had various ups and downs over the years, casting has been trying, the writing hasn't always been very good. But in one way or another every episode has still been Bond, for better or for worse (the Timothy Dalton episodes live on in infamy). Pierce Brosnan has been a breath of fresh air and truly made a strong comeback for Bond, even though in recent years they've been scratching their heads trying to find problems for him to solve, and the stories have been gradually more pathetic.


But then it was time to draw the line and start fresh. Casting for Bond must be incredibly difficult, because they looked high and low for years and came up with Daniel Craig. When I first saw him, I thought he looked like one of the bad guys from old Bond movies.

Casino Royale is not the worst Bond film ever made, it's not even a Bond at all. In the opening sequence, Bond drowns a guy in a men's room, literally drowns him in a sink. The real Bond would just knock him out, but this guy kills him with his bare hands. And for what? The scene is not explained at all, you have no idea what just happened. The opening sequence is very important in Bond, this one just completely blows. That's when I realized it's not Bond I'm watching. If that's not enough to tip you off, watch the opening credits. They've always had an artsy feel to them, with pretty abstract images. This time you actually see cartoon characters in violent hand combat, blood spilling.

Then we come to a long, long scene in Madagascar. A guy is being tailed, that turns into a pursuit on foot, and Bond is chasing him for minutes, again without the slightest idea what the hell for. Eventually he just shoots him in cold blood. The motive? His cell phone. This movie is obsessed with cell phones, Bond is calling people and checking his phone every five minutes, if you came in to see some cool gadgets, you'll be very disappointed.

This new Bond doesn't have any gadgets, he's not charming or witty, in fact he's slow. You know how Bond can always get out of a jam with some spur of the moment idea? Not this Bond, he's always behind, almost a little thick. I mean calling M because he can't figure out how to open a door? Are you kidding? Yes, they gave Pierce Brosnan really stupid lines to say, but this Bond doesn't have anything to offer in the vocal department. "I nicked the door", what kind of hillbilly are you?

Then we come to the focal point of the story. The big poker game. Not only is it the longest and most boring gambling sequence ever. Normally in Bond, gambling is just a way to antagonize the bad guy, but here his whole plan stakes on it. And he loses. Of all the things Bond can't pull off, he can't even gamble anymore. The game seems to last for days. Through all this MI6 is tracking his every move, up until we get a badly needed respite from poker when he gets poisoned. Again, he's completely helpless and outwitted, doesn't even know how to use a defibrilator. The Bond girl saves him.

What is perhaps the most painful about this movie is the many long scenes of chit chat. It's not supposed to be a soap opera. Bond falls for the girl, quits his job, she betrays him, she dies, he says "the bitch is dead", like he's a psychopath. Granted, Bond always had a relaxed relationship to his women, but he had class. Again, this shows what a halfwit this new Bond is, never occurred to him that things may not be what they seem, can't handle it either. He's a complete tool.

As if to top the whole thing off (not that it needed to be done), David Arnold, who scored the last three Bonds, and did so extremely well, seems to have lost his marbles and the score in this movie is not even worth playing once.

:: random entries in this category ::

5 Responses to "Casino Royale: that was... erm... different"

  1. ash says:

    Mmm, I couldn't disagree more. I liked Goldeneye but after that the Bond films just got worse and Casino Royale was a massive breath of fresh air. Also as to Bonds rather different attitude in this film compared to the others, you've got to remember that this film is about how Bond became Bond - his relaxed relationship with women surely has a lot to do with the events at the end of Casino Royale.

  2. Scott says:

    I think you must have missed the setting of this latest Bond flick. It is based on the novel of the same name, which also happens to be the first of the James Bond novels. As such, it establishes the character and background of James Bond. In other words, this is a prequel. James has not yet acquired the classy demeanor we all know him for. He's still a rough-around-the-edges, green "double oh."

    You mention being critical of the rather gruesome murders in the earlier scenes of the movie. The killings help to establish that this is the rough, raw, rookie Bond; not the polished Bond we are all used to. In addition, something that is glossed over in many of the older movies is the role of "double ohs" as assassins. As is said stated often, but rarely demonstrated, Bond has a license to kill. The implication of this is that he will be asked to use it. In this movie, he finally does.

    I don't mind the relative lack of gadgets in this installment. In my not-so-humble opinion, the last several movies have relied too heavily on gadgets, at times to the detriment of the films' believability.

    I agree that the poker tournaments tend to drag on a bit much; but, overall I must disagree with you. The movie certainly is not what we have become accustomed to in James Bond. This is not a bad thing. I believe that this movie qualifies as one of the best Bond movies.

  3. numerodix says:

    Oh, get real now. You're not seriously telling me was a halfwit, but managed to stay alive, and then suddenly got clever, are you? There's absolutely no Bond to this Bond. If this is how he became Bond, this must have been a past life.

    And yes, the last Bonds have been bad (I think Tomorrow never dies was the best one) but this one was worthless imo.

  4. John Healy says:

    Whatever about slow, the tough, cold psychopath is very much the Bond that Flemming wrote. Frankly, I'd sooner see Bond call home to beat a door than pull a maguffin out of his watch, though neither really satisfies. Casino Royale worked for me overall, dragging Bond away from the cartoon character he had become.

    Actually, let's look at the door again. How would you beat it? Some ideas:
    (1) Break it down. Too much security, would draw armed guards on him before he was through it.
    (2) The maguffin. Yes, it's entirely plausible that he has the solution to every door on earth in his trousers.
    (3) Charm/con his way in. Too slow. The scene was too tense to break the atmosphere like that.
    (4) Blind luck. Someone exits/enters conveniently, allowing him to slip in. Yuck.
    (5) Go around it. Aha! That might work. Not exactly easy, but probably the best way would be for him to find another way, pegging it across tarmac or through some other less secure area. Low rate of success in reality, but would work.

    Anyway, not an easy one, but frankly, every action script in history has the odd weak point.

  5. Angela Dunn says:

    I was thrilled when they said that the new James bond was on DVD I rushed to get it to add to my collection of James bond movies. I have always been a bond movie lover and can watch them over & over again yet, this movie of which I have still to watch all the way through but cannot find the interest in doing so at this time. As my husband & I sat comfortable on the sofa to watch the movie this is what happened The first disappointment was the intro to the movie the music was not memorable in fact I am still trying to remember what the song was about while I am typing this message. My husband John said he can not follow the story this for him was annoying The second was we both fell asleep watching this movie how disappointed I felt I have watch all the bond movies and not even the one they all said was bad with George Lazenby OMHSS made me do that. This bond is depressing, uninspiring, and the plot to the movie was bitty. we are all aware of the fact the James bond is over the top there is always a corny part that we all say that is stupid but its fantasy that we enjoy the fact that he has all the gadgets gets the woman and saves the day. I must say that if Daniel Craig is going to play James Bond in the future I think the bond fan club will go down by two myself & my husband. Probably the movie people will not think this is much to lose but how many will actually tell them.