Monday, January 14, 2008

Casino Royale (2006)

Lots of action, as you would expect from a Bond movie, but I am afraid that Daniel Craig left me cold. He seemed to have the look of a thug/hitman/killer in this portrayal and rarely came across as I expect Bond to be - cool, calm and collected. If anything, his appearances at the premiere of this movie and at awards ceremonies (when I assume he was being himself) seemed more in the Bond character than he did in the movie!

As expected, there were plenty of fast action sequences and the body count rose dramatically as the movie progressed. One of the first action sequences included the amazing athletism of a bomber (played by Sebastien Foucan), attempting to escape. I believe what he did was Free Running – apparently a new ‘sport’ in Europe/UK (the British car show, Top Gear did a segment on it recently).

I guess Daniel had a big job playing the part of Bond and wanted to make it his own. I think he succeeded in making his Bond dissimilar to the others, and not just in appearance. He was muscular and ‘square’ whereas I have always thought of Bonds as athletic but slim. Admittedly he did look extremely fit when he was only wearing swimshorts, although the obvious display of his body and the filming of the shot(s), was reminiscent of a good look at a Bond girl, rather than Bond himself! I also found the love scenes left me cold. Craig had the look of ice about him most of the time, with the one exception of a scene towards the end of the movie, in Venice. My husband, who watched this with me, told me when I expressed disappointment in the love scenes, that “it’s a Bond movie – they don’t have to act!” I guess he’s right!

The Bond girls were suitably attractive, although not heart-stoppingly so. Vesper Lyn (played by Eva Green) played her part well, although I felt was not spectacular. I did see Christina Cole (from BBC’s Jane Eyre 2006 – she played Blanche Ingram) in a small part as a receptionist and she looked suitably beautiful.

M (Judi Dench) was her usual wonderful self – no fault on the acting there. There were a few other familiar faces including Ivana Milicevic (she had a small part in Love Actually), Jeffrey Wright (from Lady in the Water), and Tsai Chin (from The Joy Luck Club and Wendy Wu, Homecoming Warrior (my children made me watch it!!!),

Baddie, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) had the psychotic look of someone rather unbalanced, but didn’t give me the feeling of being bad to the bone/evil.

Interestingly I thought the movie had ended a couple of times before it actually did, so I suppose they did still have a surprise or two in store. The ending was probably the best shot where at least Bond was attired in a suit and uttered his famous line “Bond, James Bond”. Apart from the huge gun he was carrying of course – that seemed a tad out of character.

Then again, this movie was supposed to be the precursor to Bond - a kind of how Bond became Bond, so perhaps we can forgive the brutish behaviour and believe that he mellowed into the sophisticated action hero of the later movies.

All in all, I wouldn’t watch this movie again. But, as a Bond movie, there is no harm in experiencing it - just don’t expect too much from it. What was your take on it?

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