Sunday, November 26, 2006

Casino Royale: A Bond for every man (and woman!)

Finally some eye candy for the ladies! Ay-yi-yi!

Funny thing is that blondes are usually not my thang. See handsome photo of my formerly brunette hubster.

Still, aside from Daniel Craig being effin' hot, the movie was the perfect Bond movie. Casino Royale is the story of how Bond came to be a "00." Judy Dench has the right feisty touch which creates the tension of whether or not this blustering Bond will ever get the finesse necessary to be certified by the dame. Craig lends vulnerability to the role which adds interest (read: I want to tame and soothe you, Mr. Bond!). And to show just how far this poor James must claw to the top, we see him enter his first driving scene in, wait for it, a Ford. I did the requisite double take.

When this Bond gets in fights, cuts and scrapes litter his face for a respectable length of time, as though he had actually been in a fight which caused cuts and scrapes. Novel idea! In fact, there are even moments when this Bond is not downright gorgeous... I know! So not Bond! For one frame, I thought his ears looked like William Macy's. (Sorry Daniel.) And yet, there is something essentially sexy about a Bond who is not all champagne and caviar, but has flappy ears and makes mistakes and shows hubris that costs him.

And well, those scenes on the beach... yes, they were too long for Jon, but too short for me.

The movie opens with an unforgettable sequence that pays homage to Parkour (click here for movie clips). Parkour is the French name for "urban gymnastics." Learned all about it from my son who is a part of a Parkour group in Cincinnati. Apparently the opening action/chase mirrors a famous Parkour sequence in the movie Banlieue 13 (District 13) by David Belle, Parkour's most famous innovator.

Every action scene held my attention which is a feat in itself. Usually I get bored after the third car is blown up. This time, the novelty of Parkour, the stairwell fight, the surprising car chases, the bad guy's eye that bleeds... it all held up.

Lastly, I've gotta give props to Eva Green, the first smart, complex Bond girl... ever. One reviewer said she had depth and I agree. And great hair.

If you need an escape from the humdrum life in the 'burbs, go see this movie.

If you have kids to take to the movies, you could do worse than "Happy Feet." It's not perfect by a long shot, but the musical numbers that pay tribute to Stevie Wonder, Queen and Diana Ross are winners.


Anonymous said...

A couple of quotes by Daniel Craig, regarding the Bond movie:

"I wanted to do as much of the action work as I could, so that the audience can see it's me and it's real. I feel like I became a sportsman of sorts, and that meant acquiring injuries and carrying on and bashing through to the next level of pain. Although the stunt team did fantastic work to make sure that everything was as safe as possible, if you don't get bruised playing Bond, you're not doing it properly. I had black eyes, I had cuts, I was bruised, I had muscle strains, and I took a lot of painkillers. But it was part of the job. As much as I was hurt, the stuntmen were in much more pain."

"I was affected by it - of course I was. What bothered me was that I was being criticized before I had done the work. I wasn't going to get into an argument with these people, so my only response was, 'See the movie and then you have the right to criticize, but first see what I am trying to do.' It strengthened my resolve. I was hurt by it, but it just made me try harder. The pressure was there. I know a lot of people feel very passionate about the Bond movies, but so do I, so I just got on with it. What I tried to achieve was just making a movie people will want to go and see, and I think we have made a great movie. One of the things I was criticized for was that I looked like a bad guy, but I was happy with that because I think true good guys have to step into the dark side to do their job. I wanted people to question Bond's morals and his judgment."

I loved, loved, loved the movie! Best Bond, hands down, in my opinion.


julieunplugged said...

Susan, thank you so much for those quotes! You feel as passionately about that movie as I do! I could easily go see it again.

Very cool how Craig took the role so seriously and I loved his comment at the end that there has to be a dark side to play a Bond. In fact, one of the things I kept thinking as I watched this movie is how much more it reminded me of Le Caree's novels rather than Felmming. Le Carre writes those spy novels that rip your guts, heart and soul out and leave you disillusioned with the entire world. This movie wasn't quite that dark, but there was a sense in which the soul was at stake and I really liked that about it.

The conflict between work and romance was also a nice change of pace.

Great flick! Wish you lived nearby. I'd go see it with you again.

Kansas Bob said...

Generally speaking I liked Casino Royale and for the first time ever my wife liked a 007 flick better than I did. Craig played the role as a more pouty-faced beefcaked action hero than all of his predecessors combined ... but I thought that he pulled it off. I gave it 6 (of 007) bullets.

Matt said...

I took my wife to see it Thanksgiving night, and we both really enjoyed it (although I'm sure that Amy's reasons more closely mirrored yours, Julie, it terms of Craig's looks, while mine mirrored your interest in the storyline and the action sequences). I think Craig was a great choice -- this movie already ranks second behind my all-time favorite, "Diamonds Are Forever" (and I won't deny that Jill St. John has a bit to do with that....).

- Matt

preacherruss said...

I saw it yesterday afternoon and really did think it was the best Bond ever. Of course, this came on the heels of a sporadic viewing of OHMSS on Spike the other day, which I first saw as a kid and thought was absolutely awesome. After sitting through bits and pieces of it on Wednesday afternoon, I thought, "What the hell was I thinking?"

Of course, when you're 13, Diana Rigg makes any movie worth seeing.

Anyway, I really liked CR...loved the chase scenes. Of course, I knew Vesper was in trouble the minute 007 told her he loved her...

Dave said...

Speaking of Diana Rigg, I've been watching some of the old Avengers TV videos from 1967. She is such a delight to watch. Not just the looks, but the wit and the charm too...