November 20, 2006
Saw Casino Royale Sunday evening. As you may have heard, this new Daniel Craig guy does indeed manage to execute an effective refresh of Ian Flemming's superfly secret agent (version 6.0).
The Royale Bond hasn't yet churned through the countless missions for Queen and Country that produce the suave Connery/Brosnan lady charmer of past films. No, the lamination on Mr. Craig's License to Kill is still warm, and while he does exude a sort of cruel charisma, there is an enjoyable unpolished austere to his job performance. Different, but not too different.
The first fifteen minutes of the movie feature a chase scene with hair-raising stunts in such rapid-fire succession that I actually stopped breathing and four out of five senses shut down to give my brain the additional cycles needed to process all the action. Totally awesome.
Fun to see Bond putter around in a Ford (!) and then earn the Aston Martin.
The Bad Guy's sinister plans, and in turn the scope of the plot, are far more modest than the world-dominating agendas of yore. Since it really doesn't matter why Mr. Villian is on Bond's bad side, may as well keep it within the realm of possibility (death lasers and killer satellites, while plenty fun, aren't actually required).
Act Two and Three don't quite live up to the pace, dialogue, and story delivered in Act One.
The soundtrack is only serviceable and didn't feature more than a mild flavor of the classic James Bond theme.
At 144 minutes, it runs a bit long. Could've done without some of that romancin'...
Mr. Villian sports the most proposterous poker "tell" since John Malkovich's oreo gorging habit in Rounders.
No Q? No Moneypenny? Really?
The explanation, for the sake of non-gamblers, as to what's going on during said poker game is ridiculously heavy handed.