Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Overlooked Movies -- Casino Royale

Summertime is rerun time, USA. Here's a review from 2006.

When I saw Layer Cake, I knew Daniel Craig would be just fine as James Bond. And he is. He doesn't look like the Bond of the books, but that doesn't matter. He pulls off the role, and is utterance of the famous introduction ("My name is Bond, etc.") is a high point of the movie.

Which is far too long. I like the idea of the free-running stunts in the long chase near the beginning, but it all goes on too long, as do several scenes. 

The B&W sequence before the main titles is nice, and the titles themselves are great. I don't know who cooked them up, but they really set a tone. The song, on the other hand, pretty much bit the moose.

I liked the harder edge for Bond, and I liked the way the script shows how he's hard but still vulnerable, at least until the final betrayal and its result.

Having read the book more than 45 years ago, I still remember it well. I also recall my favorite line, spoken by Le Chifre in the torture scene: "Kiss it goodbye, Mr. Bond." The line's not in the movie, more's the pity. For that matter, maybe it's not even in the book. After 45 years, I can't be sure. Maybe I just made it up.

When it comes down to it, I'm still a Sean Connery kind of guy, and my favorites Bond movies are still the first three. This one was okay, but not in their league. Check it out, though. It's still worth a look if you're a fan of the series.


Steve Oerkfitz said...

I like Craig a lot as Bond. My favorite since Connery. The first 2 Connerys don't hold up well-Dr No and Thunderball. The best Connery is From Russia With Love followed by Goldfinger.

Jeff Meyerson said...

I've never warmed up to Craig - who, face it, is not a warm guy (on screen; I have no idea about him off-screen) - but he is a decent Bond. I won't be sorry to see someone new in the role. In fact, we still haven't watched SPECTRE yet, though it is coming to HBO in July.

I 100% agree that this - and all recent Bond movies - was way too long.

Mike Stamm said...

I first read CASINO ROYALE in 7th grade, courtesy of my science teacher, and when I finally figured out what was happening, I was beyond appalled. (The line in the book --the last line in chapter 17--is "Say goodbye to it, Bond.") I was impressed that that scene was in the movie but using that weight-on-a-rope, whatever it was, instead of the book's rug-beater struck me as ridiculous for all kinds of reasons.

Craig may be the best Bond of all (heresy, I know--when I see Bond in my mind's eye, I see Sean Connery), and I don't really find the movies--except for the most recent, SPECTRE, which has other problems--too long. At least the producers haven't returned to the gadget-centered nonsense that made the later entries in the earlier cycles (Connery, Moore, Brosnan) so idiotic. (I was OK with one-shot George Lazenby--the movie was quite faithful to the book--and really liked Timothy Dalton, though he only got two films. NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN was, well, meh, and the less said about the first CASINO ROYALE the better.)

Todd Mason said...
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Todd Mason said...
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Todd Mason said...

There are aspects of the first film CASINO ROYALE which have some charm (beyond the opportunity to see young Joanna Pettit, "Jacky" Bisset, not nearly enough of Tracy Reed). Which is more than I can say of several of the Moore films, or the Brosnans after the first.

Don Coffin said...

When I re-read Casino Royale about 5-6 years ago, I was appalled by the level of gratuitous violence in it. Somehow, I managed to miss (or skip over, or something) a lot of things when I first read the books in the 1960s. I find them unreadable now, for the most part. And I found most of the movies unwatchable, mostly because the people rapidly became secondary to the gimmicks.

Todd Mason said...

The trivial stakes in the remake of CASINO, the notion that one recovers so quickly from the torture Bond is put through, and the ridiculous ending as the new film went about it (as bitter and nasty as the novel's ending is, it at least makes more sense with the characters) all kind of put me off. I couldn't get very far with the Fleming Bond novels, either, when I tried reading YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and CASINO (and not all that much of CASINO) in the '70s.

Graham Powell said...

I personally think CASINO ROYALE is the 2nd best bond film, after FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. I used to like GOLDFINGER a lot but now, with all the humor, it almost seems like camp.

Connery is still the best Bond overall.