Casino Royale: Bond grows up

, posted: 8-Dec-2006 09:17

BondHaving gone to see Casino Royale expecting an effete "Blond Bond" plus the usual assortment of cheesy action, gadgetry, car/plane/helicopter/younameit chases plus simpering bimbos, I came out of the cinema disappointed.

Well, not disappointed but pleasantly surprised: the latest instalment in the Bond franchise a complete departure from the past and rather naff films in the series. Craig's Bond is rough and brutal, but human and flawed at the same time. He screws up and relies on violence rather than Q-supplied gear to make up for it. Q has in fact been written out of the script for now.
Mads MikkelsenHead villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) is just enough outlandish with his damaged eye weeping blood and cruel demeanour; there are no artificially enhanced bandits in Casino Royale. Better yet, the women aren't complete and utter brainless bimbos, with Eva Green putting in an OK performance as Vesper Lynd.

Dame Judi Dench as M is excellent as the steely bureaucrat in charge of MI6, but Moneypenny is nowhere to be seen.

This is 2006, and Bond knows how to use a computer, he's fit and furious and delivers one-liners with aplomb. The parkour chase on a construction site set in Madagascar at the beginning of the film is pure genious: no-tech, but all the better for it. There's only a short car chase that ends up with an Aston Martin DBS getting smashed to pieces after Bond flips it (ouch!).

In other words, Casino Royale is good, perhaps the best Bond film yet.
CRThe scriptwriters sanded off the playboy polish of past Bonds, like pretty-boy Pierce Brosnan's, and we're left with a raw, vicious thug.

In fact, Casino Royale is very violent indeed. Bond bashes people to a bloody pulp, but gets beaten up a lot too and suffers a torture scene that'll have any male in the salon wincing. He almost dies twice after making mistakes but is rescued by others instead of being a superhuman able to cope with everything.

The violence and action is one area where the film goes wrong somewhat though. Because Bond gets smacked around and blown up so much, you have to remind yourself throughout the film that this isn't a remake of Die Hard.

Because this is a modern, plausible Bond, the gadgetry is mostly confined to mobile phones - all of which are supplied by Sony Ericsson. I found myself getting irritated with SMS messages and cellular calls being used to push the plot forward all the time however. For the next Bond film, I hope the scriptwriters see sense and limit the amount of product placement space a single vendor can have.

As for The Old Drink:

"A vodka Martini"
"Certainly. Would you like it shaken or stirred?"
"Do I look like I care?"

The New Drink is:

Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet, shake it over ice then add a thin slice of lemon peel.

Excellent stuff. Go and see Casino Royale if you haven't already.

More information

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