Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Casino Royale

Much has already been written and spoken about Casino Royale, so I’ll not add too much. (Check out Jett Loe and Gareth Higgins’ Film Talk podcast #3.)
  • Personally, it felt a lot better quality than the last few Bond films. Right from the black and white start, the shots were brilliantly framed, the editing was slick, the mood and atmosphere was consistently reinforced. It felt like the entire story had been written in advance, in contrast to some of the recent Bond films which were reported to have started filming stunts before the screenplay was signed off.
  • Like dealers betting on the stock market, the film makers correctly intersected two big trends: parkour (free running) and poker.
  • Daniel Craig plays a much more realistic Bond. (Bit of a tautology given the farcical and fantastic nature of the Bond franchise.) He was more bloodied and sustained more cuts and bruises than normal. Though they seemed to heal quickly, nearly as quickly as his white formal shirts got laundered.
  • The much talked-about torture scene included several moments when the huge cinema audience burst out laughing alongside a laughing Bond. No doubt carefully edited to reduce the tension and downgrade from a 15 certificate to 12A.
  • Eva Green plays a strong leading lady rather than an old-style Bond girl. Oddles of attitude, plenty of style. The gadgets were still there in the background, but sometimes more subtly woven into the plot than before.
  • Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode will be happy to hear that there was a bit of a titter when the Omega watch was mentioned, though not too many in the audience went “Tching Tching!” as requested!

My only real criticisms would be about the opening music, the overall length and the ending(s).

  • As I walked out of the cinema, I’d no idea what the theme music had been in the impressive opening sequence. It wasn’t hummable.
  • While I know the film’s title is Casino Royale, but the poker scenes were too protracted and needed a good fifteen minutes to fall onto the cutting room floor.
  • The film felt like it was nearly over, and then it had an encore in Venice and nearly ended again, before a couple of actors came on stage after another costume change to have a final shoot out. Probably one encore too many.


John Self said...

Going to see this tonight.

John Self said...

I gave it three (out of five, not ten). Entertaining but a lot of it seemed unconnected, like the two long action sequences (building site and airport) in the first hour, and the plot as a whole felt cobbled together from disparate sources (which I suppose it was, as apparently it only bears a slight resemblance to Fleming's novel). Actually I enjoyed the poker scenes best, and though they could have been longer to build the tension instead of always cutting to the last moments in each game. Agree that the opening music was poor - surprising as it was co-written by David Arnold - and the title sequence was just comically bad.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

You're harder to please!!! Was it better than the last couple of offerings from the Bond franchise?

John Self said...

I've no idea, the only other Bond I've seen is Goldeneye (which coincidentally had the same director). I'd put it more or less on a par with that: Craig is a much better actor than Brosnan, but Goldeneye had a more unified plot (so far as I can recall).

I think in truth action films just don't do it all that much for me. I can't think of any I've seen that I would give more than three stars: meaning, enjoyable, but not particularly notable. For comparison my film of the year so far has been The Squid and the Whale, a short and bitter black comedy about divorce and custody. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

After watching the Quantom Of Solace i am sure now that definetly Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever.

Anonymous said...

Casino Royale introduces James Bond before he holds his license to kill. But Bond is no less dangerous, and with two professional assassinations in quick..