Friday, March 19, 2010

Human Bondage: Casino Royale


[Apropos of nothing, except maybe that Greg at Cinema Styles mentioned James Bond earlier this week, The Cooler offers the following review, written upon the film’s release in the author’s pre-blog era.]

Casino Royale is the 21st James Bond movie, starring the sixth James Bond: the blond-haired, blue-eyed Daniel Craig. Whether it’s the best Bond movie depends entirely on what you expect from these films. Packed with exhaustive action sequences, yet free of Q’s trademark gadgetry (and free of Q, for that matter), Casino Royale has infused the Bond series with grit and brute force while removing some of the lighthearted shtick in an effort to modernize it for these adrenaline-addicted times.

Trouble is, in ensuring that Bond is tough enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with another popular J.B., 24’s Jack Bauer, he loses a little of his Bondness, at least for those who swear by the Sean Connery years best remembered for the character’s swagger and finesse (Goldfinger, perhaps the most celebrated Bond film, includes an extensive golf sequence, for crying out loud). But since traditional Bond enthusiasts probably will never get over the Connery era, there’s a strong argument to be made for a live-or-let-die effort to capture a new audience before the whole series gets lost in an Octopussy’s garden of tired retreads.

Yet the crucial question remains: without the gadgets, without the babes with sexually suggestive names and without dark hair and dark eyes, can Bond still be Bond? The answer provided by Casino Royale is yes. I think. Because even without the aforementioned trademarks, we still have the tailored suits, and we still have the babes (Eva Green and Caterina Murino) and in Craig we have something far more reminiscent of Connery’s Bond than dark hair and dark eyes: effortless cool.

Craig is a brilliant Bond, his blue eyes piercing the night, his chiseled frame packing a wallop; it’s enough to make this Steve McQueen fan wish that Craig had been tagged for a Bullitt remake. Craig’s initial selection drew controversy, but there’s no question that producers landed the proper man for the job. Pierce Brosnan, the previous Bond, looked and talked the part all too well. He was as plastic as a Ken doll. Craig plays the role like someone with a chip on his shoulder, a “fuck you” to his gait. And for the first time since…since…well, maybe just for the first time, Bond feels kind of like a guy with real human emotions.

Never fear, Bond fanatics, there’s still plenty of disbelief to suspend: punishing fistfights that could have ended in seconds if one of the men used his gun; machinegun-riddled sequences in which Bond dances through the bullets; double-crosses ad nauseam; and a stylish though senseless brawl on a crane that demonstrates 007 doesn’t understand what it means to have someone cornered.

But who cares. The locales are exotic, the chemistry between Craig and Green is steamy and the attitude is pissed off. The pacing is irregular (at 144 minutes it’s overlong and still rushes the final act almost beyond comprehension) but the mood is right. And so finally there’s reason to be optimistic about the Bond series’ future – not because we can’t imagine it getting worse, but because Casino Royale makes Bond worth watching again.

34 comments:

Daniel Asuncion said...

I think that Ian Fleming would have
approved.
( Probably would have liked
your writing style also)
________________________________

I'd say that the producers had
matured, and had worked through
their "stunts for stunts sake"
period. Daniel Craig was very
lucky to come along when he did.
Had he been born 25 years earlier,
his Bond experience would have
been quite different.

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Watch Casino Royale Online said...

This James Bond film was rather refreshing in that bond look rugged and tough enough to kick some but. Daniel Craig has to the toughest looking bond. I am also glad they held back on a lot of the gadgets. They were getting rather old. The most refreshing idea about the movie was that they got away from that cold war or world domination crap.


I will say this about Craig as Bong. If Daniel Craig makes quality bond films like casino royale and quantum of solace, then he will overtake Sean Connery. the only thing again Craig as Bond has to be his height. Roger Moore as the "the funny bond" sucked, and sean is over hyped.

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007 Movies are famous all over the world I had seen most of the movies of 007,Gold Finger is my favorite

Anonymous said...

I like the movie quantum of solace.I like listening to the music of avril.

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Uk Scratchcard said...

I don't really relate to the new direction the James Bond franchise went for the last years. The subtle bond is gone and it's a shame.

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