Thursday, November 30, 2006

29th Nov 06 - Casino Royale

I don’t like Bond. As a franchise it’s dumb. Dumb action films aimed at blokes. They objectify women, have rubbish puns, laughably silly baddies, an impossibly-good-at-everything lead and there’s always a winter chase on weird jet powered skis. It’s paint-by-numbers entertainment for easily pleased (some might say “simple”) minds. Like I said, it’s aimed at blokes.

Insulting people is fun.

Anyway, the new Bond had words like ‘dark’, ‘violent’ and ‘realistic’ attached to it. They’ve changed the franchise, Batman Begins style, and I was curious to see the results. Spurred on by my MI:3 fun, I pushed past the crowds and faced my Bond hatred head-on. And it wasn’t half bad. By that I mean half of it wasn’t bad. This is a grittier, nastier Bond to the fancy pants smarmy-arse of recent times. The grainy opening battle in the close confines of a toilet cubicle sets the tone. Fights are brutal, angry, bloody. They’re also flamboyant in places, but in less of a silly ‘surfing on a car’ way and more like ‘leaping over cranes’ excitement. There are so many different action pieces I can’t actually remember them all. But I never once rolled my eyes at some unbelievable stunt, so that’s a good sign.

And Daniel Craig. My God. There was this big hoo-har about how you can’t have a blonde Bond, Craig’s not handsome enough, it’ll never work. To that I say ‘Bond is fictional, get over it.’ And I’ll now add ‘have you seen him? I mean, like, actually seen him?’ Because if you have, you’ll know. Craig IS Bond. He has the effortless charm, the sly little smile, the CGI-blue eyes (come on, no one’s eyes can be that blue). And he certainly has the right physique. Bond is a trained killer, after all, and Craig looks like he could very easily kill you. With his big biceps. Lovely big biceps. And he gets stabbed a bit in his smooth, hard stomach. And is naked during a torture scene. Quite frankly, I am now in love with Daniel Craig, and anyone who dares say he isn’t handsome enough will face my wrath.

Crazy fans of Bond might throw their hands up in rage. They can’t change Bond like that! It’s an institution! But despite the darker edges, this is still very much a Bond flick. Women are still around as sexual objects or whimpering idiots. The baddy is the most ludicrously evil-looking baddy ever, sporting a Dr. Evil style eye scar and weeping, yes, actually weeping blood. There are fast cars and nice clothes and glamorous locations. It’s still Bond. Just better. This Bond is human. He’s arrogant, makes mistakes, gets hurt and has lovely thighs.

But as I said before, only half of this film is good. Unfortunately it loses its thrilling impact because it goes on for EVER. At 144 mins (still not the 150 mins of Shit Pirates of the Shit-ibbean) the novelty begins to wear thin, especially as the films ends and then has twenty minutes of naff romance. I know exactly why this was (to show why Bond is like he is, bless him) but there was no need to drag it out for that long and in that way. It’s such a shame, because I was really enjoying this film. But rather than leave the cinema with that excited rush, I instead left a bit annoyed and bored.

Bond gets a point for roughing up the franchise and bringing a better, tougher Bond to the screen. It gets another point because I am in love with Daniel Craig. But it loses a point for getting carried away with itself and going on and on and on. So Bond marches in with CF1.

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