Saturday, November 25, 2006

Finally we meet, Meeeeester Bond

Sweatband and I finally got to see Casino Royale last night. And what did I think? Well, to be honest, I preferred The Prestige last week.

Don't get me wrong, Casino Royale is a good film - a very good film, in fact - but I just felt it could've been... better.

My main problems with it were three-fold:

1) It really felt like they'd shoe-horned an action film around the content of the original novel (I haven't read Flemming's original novel, but I somehow doubt it has Bond engaging in a long action sequence to save a prototype jetliner, and a cameo from Richard Branson).
2) And then when you get to the actual poker scenes at the Casino Royale the pace of the film alters noticeably.
3) It was sooooooooo loooooooooong... You know how the final Lord of the Rings movie felt like it had about three or four different endings? Well this was exactly the same (although Bond never went home to Hobbiton). There were at least three instances where I thought the credits were about to start rollings, but nope - then he was off for another action sequence.

There were other niggly things too - particularly the woman who played Vesper Lynd. Everytime she tried to say something serious her voice kept getting deeper and deeper and deeper until she was croaking sentences out as if she was talking while being throttled. Sexy? No.

And as Sweatband pointed out, for a film that the producers claimed was cutting down on gadgets, there were rather a lot of gadgets that were integral to the plot. And possibly the most obvious piece of product placement I've ever seen in my life:

"Nice watch - is it a Rolex?"
"No, it's an Omega." (turn to camera, show watch, apply charming grin)

The villains were all pretty obvious too. There were at least two bad guys who had scars on their faces, which says to me that Bond villains are either pretty clumsy, or it's a rite of passage. Seriously though, facially-scarred villains are becoming something of a cliché, methinks. Although at least I'll be able to recognise them when I'm walking down the high street.

So this makes it sound like I really hated Casino Royale, huh? Well no, I didn't. On the plus side, the action sequences were very well done, and Craig David or Daniel Craig or whatever he's called does make a very good Bond. At several points throughout I wondered how Pierce Brosnan would've handled the film - and I actually found it quite hard to imagine. This is nothing against Brosnan - I might even go so far as to say that he's been my favourite Bond - but this film required someone considerably less suave and considerably more emotionally stunted and violent, which might've come off as something of a character-based handbrake turn if Brosnan had returned. Maybe they should alternate Bonds between different scenes?

All in all then, a solid start to Craig David's Bond career. I'm intrigued to see where they're going to take it from here, as long as for the next one they get a bloody editor to cut about 20 minutes out of the damned thing.


Will said...

Bit of a weak third act, didn't fancy Vesper L and yes, it was overlong. But still loved it.

Tim said...

Didn't Vesper over-do the makeup too? Geez - show some restraint Elvira!

Miss T said...

Don't all villanesses have too much make up on? I cite the case of Famke Janssen in that one where she was the crazy Russian....

Tim said...

What... Jean Grey?! How Bond beat one of the X-Men I'll NEVER know...!

Seriously though, I think you're right. That should've given the game away the moment I first saw her!

skillz said...

Not seen it, though I agree about LOTR multiple endings point. I think the film should have ended when Frodo and Sam were sitting on the volcano about to die.

The eagles rescued them, so why the funk didn't they just fly Frodo into Mount Doom at the beginning?

Miss T said...

Because Sauron would have lasered them down with his Stormtroopers and Padme wouldn't have gotten knocked up by Gandalf. Gosh! Don't you know anything??

So did Crag David smuggle a banana as expected? In the Land Down Under we refer to tight trunks like that as 'budgie smugglers'. 'Cause when you think about it, that kind of what it looks like....

And no, I am not talking about the helicopter version of budgies. Rather the little bird, budgerigar. I might have spelled that wrong.

Dinah said...

I've never seen a Bond movie before. Should I start?

Tim said...

Skillz - my brother just watched LOTR for the first time, and turned round to me the other day and asked for those 10 hours of his life back. I didn't know what to say - maybe I should make him a voucher or something?

Miss T - Can you imagine if LOTR was a smorgasboard of movie franchises!? That would've been awesome! Stormtroopers Vs Ogre-things!

As for Bond, I seem to remember that there was actually only one shot of Bond's, erm, weapon of choice; it ellicited a small gasp from Sweatband.

I've heard them referred to as banana hammocks which sounds slightly less sordid than 'budgie smuggler'!

Dinah - Erm, I dunno... I'm not a massive fan of the Bond films, I just feel compelled to see them at the cinema... There are some dire ones, but anything from Goldeneye forward is quite enjoyable. Give one a whirl, although I'm not going to give you a voucher if you want those two hours back!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Dame Judy says that Mr Craig has a MONSTER! Perhaps those budgie smugglers should refer to the helicopter rather than the tiny irritating bird in his case?

I saw Casino Royale last Wednesday and was most impressed. God only knows what the film was about but the titles were fabulous (and the theme song went very well with them - although I think it'd be a bit 'Gillette advert' without the diamond/spade etc visuals) and 007's nakedness and 'budgie' were a joy to behold!

Tim said...

Dame Judy said that?! Good grief - she's a bit of a go-er, hey?

The torture scene was hilarious, wasn't it? Although it made me, and every other chap in the audience, wince everytime old Bond took a ... um, beating.

You could see the ladies in the audience thinking about THAT scene in the expectation that it might influence their actions next time their bloke doesn't help out with the washing up...

I wasn't convinced by the theme tune... sorta forgettable...

Tara said...

I really enjoyed "Casino Royale" and will definitely see it again. I liked some of the one liners "I'll be keeping my eye on our government's money, and off of your perfectly formed ass."

Tim said...

"Oh James, even if all that was left of you was a smile and a little finger, you'd be more man than anyone else."

What. The. Hell. That was definitely my favourite line!