Monday, January 1, 2007

Casino Royale

Yesterday Kelly and I were actually able to go out and watch a movie. My mother-in-law came over to babysit the kids for 3 hours and the feeding schedule worked out so that we could see a matinee. We chose to see Casino Royale because we are both fans of the James Bond franchise (me a little moreso than Kelly). I had purposely avoided reading anything about the movie ahead of time, and had only peripherally heard a couple of good opinions of Daniel Craig as Bond.

The plot was typical of most bond movies - a few action sequences loosely interconnected to a general world threat that was overcome by a single British Secret Agent, some double crosses.

When the title sequence started I got really excited (pretty childish, I know). The movie started with the activities that led to James Bond getting 'promoted' to double-0 status. This led me to think that with a new Bond actor, they are trying to restart the franchise, similar to the success of 'Batman Begins'.

I thought Daniel Craig played Bond exactly as he should be played. Cocky, self-aware, rough, but not overly suave/sophisticated (my biggest complaints about Dalton and Brosnan). Similar to On Her Majesty's Secret Service they showed how a true relationship with a woman affected Bond's personality going forward and provided an explanation for how he can treat peope's lives (men and women) with such indifference.

In a departure from previous Bond movies, where Bond played a card game at a casino it was Texas Hold-Em instead of Chemin De Fer (or Baccarat). This probably makes sense with the current poker craze and the general understanding of the rules of that game as opposed to the former. This is especially true considering how integral to the script the gambling scenes were.

Other than Daniel Craig himself, the only actors I recognized were Dame Judi Dench (as M again), and Jeffrey Wright (from Ali and Syriana), who played Felix Leiter. This is something I appreciate about the classic Bond movies - they use actors that are not Hollywood 'names'. It is something they got away from in the later Bond movies that led to them being more like typical Hollywood action fare (think Vin Diesel) rather than the separate (better) class of movies. The actress that played Vesper (the Bond Girl) was pretty good, although Kelly complained that she always had "the same stupid expression". She actually reminded me of Tammy a little bit - especially her eyes.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Quite the compliment, assuming it's not because of her "stupid expressions". I liked it, I thought Craig was excellent but they could have gone a bit deeper (ala Batman Begins). But then, that's not really what Bond is about. The opening chase scene was awesome.