Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Movie Review: "Casino Royale"

I could start off this review with any number of catchphrases that are associated with James Bond. Talking about martinis, or how he introduces himself would be a bit cliched though. And Casino Royale isn't really about those things. No, it is more of a "reset" movie, much like how Batman Begins reseted that franchise. Bond only introduces himself in that unique way at the end of the movie, and only orders a martini halfway through, and with disdain. There is no Q or Moneypenny to play off of either.

So if the movie isn't about the flamboyancy of the previous films, what is it about? It is about getting back to basics. Here, Bond is a newly promoted Double-O agent. He doesn't have a lot of fancy gadgets, and he has unearned swagger. He isn't perfect and often gets caught in situations that leave him bloody and bruised. That is virtually a new thing in the Bond movie, as previous movies had very rarely blemished Bond. James gets tortured not by lasers, but by a weight at the end of a rope. He gets punched out and beat up. In other words, he becomes "real".

Of course, there are some negatives to the movie. It runs a bit long, and the plot seems to shift mid-movie. Some fringe characters are never fully explored. But overall, the movie is satisfying. Some might complain that Daniel Craig, who plays Bond, isn't "pretty" enough. I felt he played the role well for the new direction Bond is hopefully taking.

A minor point to make her is that in college, I wrote an indepth paper on Ian Fleming, the creator of Bond. Casino Royale was his first novel that used Bond. While the movie used the central plot from that book, with the use of Le Chiffre and a poker game, the movie expands Bond and gives him an origin story. It is also that last book to have an official Bond movie made from it. Previously, a comedy using the Bond name was made of Casino Royale.

So where does the fanchise go from here? I hope they continue the realistic slant this movie had. Recently, the Bond movies had gotten more and more ridiculous, with Bond getting into and out of fantastical situations. And every movie had a world-ending situation arise. Casino Royale forgoed the world-is-ending mantra and went with a global, but not globe destorying, threat. Sometimes, restraint is a good thing.

3 1/2 English Accents out of 5.


Post a Comment

<< Home