Thursday, 28 July 2011

Casino Royale Review

I must admit that I didn't know much about Daniel Craig when I heard them announce that he would be playing James Bond.  I was upset because I absolutely loved the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies.  But then I found out that they were not only changing Bond, they were doing a reboot and starting Bond out from the beginning.  So a replacement was necessary.  I'm not too upset because, for me, all four Brosnan Bond movies have great rewatchability.  And, after this and a few other movies, I have come to be a bit of a Craig fan.  He makes a really good Bond, especially one that is just learning his spy craft.  It hasn't all become "old-hat" for the character and Craig really plays that well.

If a reboot was necessary, they picked a good novel to base it on.  Casino Royale was the first book after all.  The film does a good job keeping some of the elements of the book (the car crash and torture) while updating it for modern times.  They needed to replace the baccarat with poker to remain relevant to today's audience (had it been made 10-15 years ago they would have used Blackjack).  Also, to capitalize on the success of the Bourne movies, they have reinvented Bond into a more character driven franchise.  While they keep some of the elements that made Bond famous (evil villain, hot women, cool cars, exotic locations), they have either pushed them firmly into the background or made them much more believable.  There is no more threat of world domination or a cataclysmic event.  The gadgets are also gone in this one.  While I did miss Q Branch, the actual advances in commercially available technology were starting to make it irrelevant.  I can buy sunglasses that are a camera now so Bond having something like that isn't so special anymore.

Overall, I'd say this is a really good restart to the Bond franchise.  It will be interesting to see the character develop through Daniel Craig for a few movies.  (Yes, I've seen Quantum of Solace but it's been a while.  I will review it here when I see it again soon).  There are just a couple of beefs I have with this one and they are minor.  First, if you're going to reboot, reboot fully.  Lose Judi Dench as M.  She's never been that good at it anyways.  Second, the poker tournament act went on too long and, in turn, made the movie too long.  They could have done a montage style and gotten it all across.  Third, the last twenty minutes seem tacked on and out of place.  But, from my understanding, they are doing a three part story arc on this reboot so it needs to be set up for the next one.  I can live with that.  Fourth, there are a few bits of dialogue that didn't fit into the new Bond.  Some cheesy lines would have felt more at home in the previous twenty movies.  It's almost as if they were afraid to take the change all the way.

All in all, it's a good spy movie.  If you like the Bourne movies, you should like Casino Royale.  I say see it.  But, if you want the more unrealistic fantasy based Bond, there's 20 previous movies you'll enjoy more.  It all depends on your mood.

No comments:

Post a Comment