Casino Royale: Not a Bond Movie

Casino Royale: Not a Bond Movie

Postby 007 » Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:26 pm

http://www.lancereviews.homestead.com/A ... oyale.html


Listen up, folks: this will be, I promise you, the most honest review of Casino Royale you will read. There will be spoilers, but I will try my best to keep it to a minimum whenever possible.

The flat-out honesty part: From the instant I heard Daniel Craig was going to be the new Bond, I was full-out against it. I’d seen his performance in Layer Cake and wasn’t all that impressed. Also, being a fan of Pierce Brosnan’s from way back in the day, I thought it was cold-assed how Barbara Broccoli and crew gave him the heave-ho or—in the Queen’s English Vernacular—had him sacked.

So, the final questions remain: Did I enjoy Casino Royale? Answer: Yes…to a point. Is Daniel Craig the right choice for the new Bond? Answer: No. And yes, I honestly did put my prejudices aside so I could deliver a fair review. Is Casino Royale a good James Bond movie? Answer: It’s a good movie…but it is not a good James Bond movie.

For all of us familiar with the history of James Bond(and those few who are not), these are the required learnings on Mr. Bond’s pedigree: former comman-der in the British Navy, parents died in a climbing accident. Married once, heart broken when his wife was killed, making him cynical and guarded toward all relationships with the opposite sex. Although not born to privilege, he was given enough tutoring courtesy of Her Majesty’s Secret Service to pass as a sophisti-cated playboy when necessary, but able to switch to cold-blooded killer as per the requirements of his job. Likes his cars designed by Aston Martin, carries a Walther PPK(silencer optional) and prefers his martinis shaken, not stirred.

When Sony/EON decided to reboot the 40 plus year old franchise and tell the tale from creator Ian Fleming’s original novel “Casino Royale”, they went about it in an inappropriate manner by firing the man who initially made the suggestion to do such—Pierce Brosnan. Daniel Craig, for as much of a mocked man as he has been this past year in the press, is an okay actor…but he is the definitively wrong choice for James Bond. While the story tells how a figurative rough-hewn lump of coal becomes a hardened, sharp-edged diamond, Craig’s leading-man skills are cripplingly limited. He lacks the screen presence or even basic charisma needed to pull off such a legendary and world-renowned role. He also has a tendency to mumble critical lines of dialogue, as evidenced in several scenes within the film itself. In “Layer Cake”, he was out-acted in every scene he shared with veteran character actor Colm Meaney(“Miles O’Brien” from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to you Trekkers). Even at his current age, Pierce Brosnan would have carried off each scene incomparably—especially the wry interplay between Bond and M (Dame Judi Dench). And as a quick aside on this point, I would like to point out that the claim by fellow critic Jack Matthews from the New York Daily News, that Craig is “The Best Bond Since Connery” is 100% outlandish. Mr. Matthews is old enough to know better. I will assume it wasn’t alcohol talking, but that he was writing a review at two in the morning and thought he wrote something else. Even a bad actor can shine in a good film, if the film is good enough. Keanu Reeves and the first “Matrix” are irrefutable proof of this.

But sorry…on to the movie. Casino Royale opens with a black-and-white prologue which shows Bond earning his 007 stripes by performing the requisite two kills. One is a henchman in a bathroom, the other his hirer, a double agent selling secrets to a foreign power. The dialogue interplay between Craig and the double agent is well-handled, and after the kill the opening credits truly begin, with Bond viewed through the well-known gun barrel. The opening titles are among the most uninspired ever witnessed in a Bond film, and the graphics appear to be just short of the riveting grandeur of Playstation One.

After the titles, we are in Nambutu, where Bond and a fellow agent are track-ing Obanno (Isaach de Bankole), a henchman for terrorists, carrying informa-tion which Bond and his colleague need to procure. Bond’s associate idiotically gives them away, gets himself killed, and the chase is on. A brief word on Mr. Bankole: he is a professional freerunner—an extreme sport wherein people make their living/get their kicks from running up ordinarily unscalable objects, buildings, fitting through all kinds of odd objects at amazing speeds all on foot. Mr. Obanno does a heart-pounding, eye-popping job here, and it is one of the few actual thrills in the movie. Mr. Craig’s stunt-double, Ben Cooke, gets a hell of a workout chasing him. And this is one of the major flaws in the film, due in part to the fact so much—perhaps too much—behind-the-scenes items make their way onto entertainment shows and the internet: when Cooke and other stunt-doubles are on film in place of the actors, it is painfully obvious. Cooke should’ve gotten a co-credit right beside Craig.

Bond chases Obanno through a Nambutu embassy, being sure to beat up plenty of innocent guards just doing their job as he goes. At the end of it all, he manages to acquire what he needs, which leads him to a confrontation with M, who is upset that both he and MI6 have made headlines due to his shenani-gans. Bond appears to go on vacation, but in reality—and at first unbeknownst to M—he is actually tracking down Obanno’s cohorts, apparently(but never explained) to redeem himself.

Here is another flaw in the movie’s storytelling premise: instead of showing us how James became Bond, why not start from a different point in the story—why did he bother to go through the transformation at all. In order to be noticed and considered for the position of a double-oh agent, he must have possessed some qualities which made him stand out from others in his breed. Casino Royale never gives us a hint as to what these qualities might have been. For that matter, why would he even want to be a double-oh when, as Bond himself tells M in one scene, “From what I understand, double-ohs have a very short life expectancy, so your problem should be short-lived.” Possessing this information and still going after such a job speaks volumes about what kind of psyche one would have to have in order to willingly pursue a job like this. Is the man, James, an exemplary patriot or does he have a death-wish? Casino Royale never even attempts to answer this question.

Soon enough, Bond acquires information which leads him to Le Chiffre(Mads Mikkelsen), a banker/information provider of sort for terrorists. Once paid, he acquires whatever information is necessary for terrorists to get their job done. Le Chiffre has a gambling problem though, and part of it is that he tends to gamble with his clients’ money. He’s an odds-player, and when he wins, he wins big…yet this time, he manages to lose more than $1 million of his latest client’s funds by betting on a terrorist incident which Bond manages to prevent. The scene itself, at an airport, is overblown and overdone, with very little actual logic to it. And believe it or not, once you see it, you’ll recognize quite a lot of it is ripped off from the scene in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Indiana Jones is fighting with a Nazi while driving a truck. I was quite surprised that director Martin Campbell, the man who not so very long ago reinvigorated the Bond franchise with “Goldeneye” had stooped so low.

To recoup his losses, Le Chiffre manages to organize a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale hotel. M arranges for Bond to be in the game, and in order to keep the $15 million dollars(strangely, the money is referred to as actual dollars rather than pounds, which would make more sense since these are British agents we’re talking about) safe, banker Vesper Lynd(Eva Green) is sent to accompany him. The two take a sort-of half-hearted liking to each other, in that traditional movie cliché of having two characters deliver not-quite insults and overanalyze each other upon meeting. A quick word on Ms. Green: her acting skills are comparable to Daniel Craig’s, which is to say that her skills don’t exactly set the world on fire. As much of a hit as Craig took for his looks(and yes, I do remember delivering a few body-blows myself in an article not too long ago), a better-looking co-star could have been chosen. For instance Caterina Murino who plays Solange in an earlier scene, a married woman whom Bond easily seduces to attain information. With two impossibly un-dynamic leads, it’s no wonder that once the love story is introduced two-thirds into the movie, that the audience has a hard time believing it, and the movie comes to a screeching halt. Honestly, Casino Royale actually is a fairly enjoyable film for the first hour, hour-and-a-half. But as soon as the love story starts, the ride stops.

Anyway…the high-stakes poker game seems as if it will have an unfavorable outcome when Bond loses the $15 million at first. But then U.S. agent Felix Leiter(the always enjoyable Jeffrey Wright) bails him out by offering the cash for Bond to deal himself back in(“America—f**k yeah!”). It's very tell-ing of the generational gap which exists between the first Bond film “Dr. No” and today, that there wasn’t a stir or thrill coursing through the theater when Leiter —easily one of the more well-known secondary Bond characters—introduces himself. Of course, given that Leiter doesn’t have much to do except offer Bond a quick loan, it’s almost forgivable.

Bond wins the game of course, and is immediately kidnapped and tortured by Le Chiffre, who naturally wants his money back(I’d kidnap and torture some-one too, if they had taken that much of my money. Don’t look at me like that—you know you’d do it, too). Bond is stripped naked and his family jewels are whacked with knotted rope. There’s been a lot of hype in the press about how brutal this scene is, and let me tell you now, it isn’t. It’s actually one of the tamest torture scenes in the history of film, there are intentional laughs in it, and you’d find more reasons to squirm in your seat if you were forced to sit through one viewing of a “Barney the Dinosaur” video.

A strange thing happens at the end of this torture scene which I won’t reveal to you, just in case you choose to see this movie. It starts a major tilting of the plot, helps to set the love story in motion and begins a downward spiral of the movie’s entire internal logic. Trust me, nearly everything which happens due to the way the torture scene ends will leave you scratching your head about certain suddenly illogical plot points as you leave the theater. There are also several loose threads at the end, which is a cardinal rule no-no in a 007 film. Bond gets the bad guys, gets the girl in the end, case closed.

I know the new trend in films(especially intended or established series) is to leave the ending wide open so you’ll know a sequel is coming…it’s the Pavlovian way of training audiences to set aside money for down the road, so that like good little Borg drones, we’ll all march to the theater 2-3 years hence and dutifully turn over our hard-earned bucks to Big Brother studios. But this is one drone who’s slipped a digital track, ripped out his implants and refuses to conform to the collective consciousness that infests and infects the hive mind. Yes, Casino Royale was a decent movie...but it simply was not, on any level except within referencing the character’s name, a James Bond movie. And while I was able to set aside my misgivings in order to view Daniel Craig in a fair and balanced light, ultimately I find him to be sadly miscast. As long as he is Bond(and if Barbara Broccoli remains at the reins, he will be), I honestly do not see myself ever going to the theater to watch a James Bond movie again.
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Postby English Agent » Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:53 pm

What a very silly report............the comments made could be applied to any one of the Bond films.

Who was the 'deranged baboon' who wrote this report?

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby carl stromberg » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:21 pm

Who was the 'deranged baboon' who wrote this report?


Someone on "Lance Reviews", Mr Agent.
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Postby Kristatos » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:48 pm

Arthur Brain wrote:What a very silly report............the comments made could be applied to any one of the Bond films.

Who was the 'deranged baboon' who wrote this report?

:lol: :lol: :lol:


No they couldn't. The criticisms were all very specific to CR.
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Postby Kristatos » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:53 pm

Another vanguardist bravely saying now what all the critics will be saying in a few years time. Personally, I think that we should have an archive of the most embarrasingly bottom-kissing reviews of Craig and CR (equivalent to Private Eye's OBN Awards perhaps) so that when the backlash begins and the critics are all trying to pretend that they have always felt about Craig the way we and the lancereviewer do now, we can tap them on the shoulder and say "excuse me, meester".
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Postby English Agent » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:14 am

Kristatos wrote:
Arthur Brain wrote:What a very silly report............the comments made could be applied to any one of the Bond films.

Who was the 'deranged baboon' who wrote this report?

:lol: :lol: :lol:


No they couldn't. The criticisms were all very specific to CR.


Basically.........what i meant was that anyone could construct a review
such as that to attack any film they wanted.
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Postby Red Grant » Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:30 am

Kristatos wrote:Another vanguardist bravely saying now what all the critics will be saying in a few years time. Personally, I think that we should have an archive of the most embarrasingly bottom-kissing reviews of Craig and CR (equivalent to Private Eye's OBN Awards perhaps) so that when the backlash begins and the critics are all trying to pretend that they have always felt about Craig the way we and the lancereviewer do now, we can tap them on the shoulder and say "excuse me, meester".


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Postby The Sweeney » Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:42 am

Kristatos wrote:Another vanguardist bravely saying now what all the critics will be saying in a few years time. .


And what makes you so sure with this.....?

The reviewer had his own prejudices and agenda layed out at the very beginning, before even seeing the film.
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Postby Count_Lippe » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:34 am

Kill Bond now!

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Postby James » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:49 pm

The real backlash agaisnt Craig will come if the next Bond actor is tall, suave and handsome. The new boy will be bumped up and hyped in the traditional manner and Craig may take a few brickbats in the process. Assuming of course Broccoli doesn't cast another blonde plumber, which wouldn't suprise me.
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Postby Kristatos » Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:50 pm

The Sweeney wrote:
Kristatos wrote:Another vanguardist bravely saying now what all the critics will be saying in a few years time. .


And what makes you so sure with this.....?


Knowledge of the "build them up to knock them down" mentality that exists among a lot of critics. They did it to Dalton and Brosnan, so what makes you think Craig will escape?
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Postby The Sweeney » Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:25 pm

Kristatos wrote:
The Sweeney wrote:
Kristatos wrote:Another vanguardist bravely saying now what all the critics will be saying in a few years time. .


And what makes you so sure with this.....?


Knowledge of the "build them up to knock them down" mentality that exists among a lot of critics. They did it to Dalton and Brosnan, so what makes you think Craig will escape?


Craig's already had a hammering from the critics remember.....way back months before CR even started filming. Since then, many of them have had to be embarassed and eat lots of freshly baked humble pie!

He's already gone through his negative spell, making him the other way round to most other actors.
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Postby English Agent » Wed Aug 15, 2007 4:49 pm

The Sweeney wrote:
Kristatos wrote:
The Sweeney wrote:
Kristatos wrote:Another vanguardist bravely saying now what all the critics will be saying in a few years time. .


And what makes you so sure with this.....?


Knowledge of the "build them up to knock them down" mentality that exists among a lot of critics. They did it to Dalton and Brosnan, so what makes you think Craig will escape?


Craig's already had a hammering from the critics remember.....way back months before CR even started filming. Since then, many of them have had to be embarassed and eat lots of freshly baked humble pie!

He's already gone through his negative spell, making him the other way round to most other actors.


Exactly!!

Craig shouldn't have anymore problems with the media unless its of his own doing, or if a future film turns out to be very poor.
Unlike previous Bond actors, the negative attitude to him was blown out
to monstous proportions by people using the advances in todays media technology to voice their views...............wonder what reaction say
Lazenby and Dalton would of received if the Internet was around in those days or when Moore was coming to the end of his Bond tenure.

It doesn't matter what actor follows Craig, if Craigs films are good, he
will be remembered as a very good Bond, regardless if he has Blond,
Black or Green hair.

He may even be a good plumber!!

Seriously though, i'am not a Craig fanboy, i just like to see very good actors make very good films, and that is what i thought CR was.

Having seen TWINE and DAD on TV latelty, i thought it was a huge
dissapointment that Brosnan was not given better scripts and character
developments for his last 2 Bonds.

I actually switched over channels last night when the CGI surfing scene
came on. How embarrassing!!

In my opinion, i think EON have made a very good choice with the change
in the franchise, though i know it upsets the fans who like space satellites
and lasers in every Bond film and a dark haired man who looks like a model to play Bond.

Bye

Arthur Brain :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby 007 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:01 pm

It's oddly poignant that the great MI6 invasion when this forum was launched has been washed away and reduced to English Agent with a few multiple identities.
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Postby English Agent » Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:41 pm

007 wrote:It's oddly poignant that the great MI6 invasion when this forum was launched has been washed away and reduced to English Agent with a few multiple identities.


Well done '007', are you a detective??

You aint no 'Columbo' more like a 'Clouseau'. :D :D :D

Yes i'am EA

No i had to take out a new name as i was having problems logging
on with my original name....for some unexplained reason?????????
Is there something no ones told me eh??? Mr Stromberg

Incidently, has anyone else had problems with this site in regards
accessing the forums. I have found that the button to the'DCnB forum'
button does not work, on either my home computer using IE or my work
computer using OPERA. Never mind though as i can access these pages
by another route.

Dont be so hostile '007' i'am here because its fun!!! Better than being on a
site where everyone agrees.....and anyways just lending a bit of support
to the 'Sweeney' and 'Captain Nash'

Regards: AB
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Postby Goldeneye » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:03 pm

Arthur Brain wrote:
007 wrote:It's oddly poignant that the great MI6 invasion when this forum was launched has been washed away and reduced to English Agent with a few multiple identities.


Well done '007', are you a detective??

You aint no 'Columbo' more like a 'Clouseau'. :D :D :D

Yes i'am EA

No i had to take out a new name as i was having problems logging
on with my original name....for some unexplained reason?????????

Is there something no ones told me eh??? Mr Stromberg
Regards: AB


There is and was no problem at our end with your former account. If you lost your password or understandably confused it with one of your other accounts, all you had to do was ask us.
Other than that you have internet connection or browser problems.

Edit: There is a limited # of allowed login attempts. Once the number of allowed board login attempts is exceeded there is a lock out period.
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Postby English Agent » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:10 pm

Goldeneye wrote:
Arthur Brain wrote:
007 wrote:It's oddly poignant that the great MI6 invasion when this forum was launched has been washed away and reduced to English Agent with a few multiple identities.


Well done '007', are you a detective??

You aint no 'Columbo' more like a 'Clouseau'. :D :D :D

Yes i'am EA

No i had to take out a new name as i was having problems logging
on with my original name....for some unexplained reason?????????

Is there something no ones told me eh??? Mr Stromberg
Regards: AB


There is and was no problem at our end with your former account. If you lost your password or understandably confused it with one of your other accounts, all you had to do was ask us.
Other than that you have internet connection or browser problems.


Thanks for your prompt response 'Goldeneye'.

For reference my previous username still does not work even though the
password comes up automatically. I tried manually putting in the password
but it still does not work.
Anyway you can delete my old username.
I'll stick with the current one.

Regards
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Postby Goldeneye » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:13 pm

try it now, your new password is "password" without the quotes ;). Don't worry I will turn off that account after you test it.
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Postby agent english » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:19 pm

Goldeneye wrote:try it now, your new password is "password" without the quotes ;). Don't worry I will turn off that account after you test it.


Yes, that worked thanks.

Yes please remove 'English_Agent'

Better let everyone get back to the subject in hand.

Thanks
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Postby Goldeneye » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:27 pm

No problem. English, um, err, Arthur. English Agent has been deactivated.

I hate to be the one to say this but it looks like someone was having some fun with you. Either they guessed your old password or someone used your computers auto login to change it.

I'll get out of the way now.
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