Casino Royale

Strange how you find yourself ranting on about something and then you realise that you may just be losing the point. I had just written screeds there arguing why The Big Lebowski is a far superior film to the new reborn Bond movieCasino Royale. This all seemed to hinge on the fact that Jeff Bridges wore his own clothes in the former. All of which I think best to forget.

Although, what is central to the ‘success’ of this film is the central performance of Daniel Craig as 007. And, he is damn good. As could only be expected. What was all that crap about him being blonde? What he is is a great big handsome thug. And, that’s what Bond should be.

And, taking their cue from this, the movie makers have put a lot more hard material in there. The atypical opening sequence is magnificent. The fact that most of the centre of the film takes place round a card table and still manages to be tense. That torture sequence which was apparently the reason Dr No was the first movie. There is a lot of really good tough thriller stuff in here.

Unfortunately, they either haven’t learnt enough from the success of the Bourne Identity and the like or have suffered a fit of the vapors in realising just how far from that the Bond template has drifted. Personally, I think it’s the latter. They try too hard to keep it recognisable and surely, that’s why Judy Dench is in it? They get rid of the opening before-the-titles set piece, only to put one in just after the titles. And, whats’ worse they try and make it hip an modern by filling it with freejumping (rendering it to look like a poor Jackie Chan rip off). It’s the kind of thing that annoyingly peppers the whole movie. Only Spooks style gadgets, but he’s still got a mini fibulator in the glove compartment. They mess wit the irresistibility thing. It’s suggested that he’s can be as big a schmuck as the rest of us when it comes to a pretty face. Of course, they can’t let that slip by without claiming him back as the hunky hero. They have to have the building being destroyed as the big finale (although, admittedly I quite liked the twist on this). And so on.

A foot in two camps. Neither one thing nor the other. Only half an hour too long (hey, it is the early 21st century).

There’s also a bizarre set of references to classic movies throughout. I suppose this might be so in years to come you’ll still have something to do round the telly on xmas day.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

23 November 2006 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Film

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