Tales From The Darkside

Our contributor Luke Quantrill was so umoved by Casino Royale that he'd started to question his own sanity in light of the reviews. To assuage his fears we've cobbled together some fanboy quotes from the big three Bond sites in best 'mirror universe' spin mode. He wasn't completely alone......

Ok, here's my take... 

Having followed the making of the film like most of us, I arrived at Casino Royale with certain preconceptions.  I had a bit of a speech lined up beforehand actually (slips into Richard Burton voice in final scene of The Wild Geese). You'd have liked it. All about how the good the Brosnan films should have been.  That moment he checks into the Manhattan suite, Brosnan's Ivy League looks nicely complimenting his surroundings. The dawn safe break in the pre-credits, where Bond escapes across the rooftops, the full panorama of Hong Kong opening up, the sun rising and glinting on the skyscrapers, the Oriental gangsters in full pursuit. The gritty car chase around Moscow and the concurrent photoshoot with Bond at Red Square, St Basil's in the background. The menacing, larger-than-life villains. The terrific songs, on a par with Live And Let Die and Nobody Does It Better. The pop-art posters adorning your wall. 

 Instead we got a load of muddy, mediocre, better-luck-next-time blockbusters. No wonder Craig's debut doesn't have to try that hard.

Then I was going to talk about the reboot idea - in Casino Royale Bond gets ticked off by Judi Dench's M, then beaten, brokenhearted and betrayed. He faces a boyish nemesis. Not too different from the Brosnan era, then, surely.

Finally, they were gonna revitalise the franchise using a 50-year-old novel. Which features a poker game. "You're the best player in the service," M tells him. Best player? Only player more like. Or are we to believe that Bond and MI6 take on Spooks every Tuesday evening? Maybe there's a Ryder Cup where every two years Bond takes on his friends across the Atlantic, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer... 

All this speech proves invalid when I see the film...

Two words make it invalid: Martin Campbell.

The film opens splendidly. Black and white atmospheric shots. It's almost as good as GoldenEye's opening, with the shots of the dam. You relax, knowing your in safe hands. Cheers

Bond meets the double agent. Hmm, can't hear the dialogue too well. It's a bit muffled. The flashbacks of Bond killing the contact are terrific, grainy, superb. It's a bit squirm inducing, watching this double agent patronise Bond for not being a double o, only gradually realising that he will be the one to make that right, but dramatically very satisfying.

Bond gets his two kills, but falls victim to Martin Campbell's tin ear for dialogue. Example (I paraphrase): "I know all about you Bond..." He pulls the trigger. The chamber is empty. Bond: "I know where you keep your gun."

This is a one-liner of sorts. It has symmetry: You know this, but I know THAT. But Craig is allowed to deliver this like it's totally unrelated to the previous line. I had to piece together the writers' intentions.

Same with the last word, where Bond answers how much easier the second kill is: "Considerably". This should have a dismissive, devastating finality to it, crashing down like a tennis ace smashing an opponent's volley. But Craig's inflection goes upwards, leaving the word hanging as the scene ends. He misdelivers it.

Into the credits then, and I must say I quite enjoyed the much-maligned theme, not too bad at all. A bit incrongrous against the Flemingesque Fifties visuals, but interesting. A big shot of Craig's mug at the end... Not sure he's got the Milk Tray man looks for that sort of thing. The Bond sillohette was surely a Moore era thing too, what gives?

Onto the film proper. A City of God style, that's good. Villains meet up and do business. Hmm, a bit like the DAD pre-credits isn't it? Still can't hear the dialogue too well, and this is Odeon Leicester Square. Like hearing a neighbour's noisy party start up at 10.30pm on a weekday, a wave of weary annoyance sweeps over me. How long is this going on for? Or is it a director's trick, to toy with the audience, like a softly-spoken public speaker getting you to lean forward on the edge of your seat? The same happened with Die Another Day, and this year's Dead Man's Chest. I know I'm not deaf, other films are fine eg The Departed...

The main chase on the cranes. Credit to Campbell, he knows his action. Terrific stuff.  The leap Bond makes in pursuit of the bomber is a heart-in-mouth moment. We haven't had any great action directors since Campbell in Goldeneye, EON do seem to struggle with directors. Whereas the Bourne producers hit it out the park both times.

Still, I had my misgivings. It was like watching a hot and bothered Wayne Rooney chase after a young Pele. We can't help but admire Foucan's grace and atheleticism, it's not faked. Craig's Bond, we admire because he can push a button and work a winch and shoot up several stories and catch up. It's like seeing your team equalise by tricking the ref into giving you a penalty. 

Watching Craig somehow catch up reminded me of Ali on the Parkinson show talking about George Foreman as The Mummy... 

As written, the scene is about Bond matching his athleticism to his opponent, and getting carried away by physical exhuberance. But Craig's Bond doesn't have any physical exhuberance. He doesn't have that Errol Flynn daring-do. Henry Cavill might have. Brozzer did in GE, check out the similar final scene with Sean Bean. Craig's Bond looks like he'd cynically and patiently wait for the bomber to come down off that crane, then shoot him in the back - a stunt Connery did on pickpocket Wayne Sleep in The First Great Train Robbery. (Shock film fact: bearded, middle-aged Connery was younger in that film than Craig is as beginner Bond...  )

Anyway, Bond pushing levers to go sky-high? Isn't that a Brosnan trick, like when he and Christmas Jones escape the underground missile site before it blows, or escapes Alec's gun in the satellite dish by dropping down on the ladder?

Nasty tell tale reminders of Die Another Day hang over Casino Royale, despite the revamp. The brazen product placement. The car advert, made more obvious by the fact that the camera is lingering over a crumby Ford.  Bond meets a boorish fellow and gets petty revenge by smashing his car - it's like the loudmouth in Cuba Brosnan decks and puts in a wheelchair. The casual promiscous sex which seems less libertine and rather distasteful... Bond sees a couple's tiff and moves in to take advantage and shag the missus. The awful, Jinx-style love talk: "Ooh you're so good when you're BAD!"  

Judi Dench is not so bad this time, but she doesn't seem such a great actress. She still does that thing where she gabbles a long sentence as if she's worried she'll forget the words, then ends it out of breath.

I'm afraid I hold Martin Campbell responsible for all this, I just don't like him as a director. Action, he's great, if a bit slick. But he just cannot do a bread-and-butter scene. Everything is unconvincing imo. He can't set up a one-liner, he has no feel for dialogue, no taste or intelligence at all.

Now, Craig's Bond. Having enjoyed him in Layer Cake, I have to say he far exceeds my expectations. He's far, far worse than I ever imagined. It's like he's fallen off the ugly tree - a Redwood, no less - and hit every branch on the way down. His face isn't so much lived-in, as made squatters' residence by a horde of crack addicts. He's aged shockingly since Layer Cake. His face has dropped. Something similiar happened to Richard Burton from 1962 - 1968 when he went from young blade to speccy, paunchy henpecked professor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Not since a thick-set Roger Moore and toupeed Sean Connery wandered through the celluloid knacker's yard of Octopussy and Never Say Never Again have I seen so many young women planted to stop and gaze at the leading man admiringly. Yes, we get it. He's good-looking. Hmmm... You could sell lessons in spin to Fox News.

Women have drooled over Craig's magnificent body. To which I have to say, are you frickin' kidding me?  As he emerges from the sea he looks like an albino stuffed sausage. He looks freakish, obscene. Like he's done steroids. He's like the sort the Soviets send to fight our hero, be it Rocky or Connery's Bond, the sort who gets outwitted because he's dulled his brain down the gym.

I kept waiting for Craig to become Ian Fleming's Bond like they say he does. For me, it didn't happen. Even Craig's lithe, taut body as seen in The Mother and Layer Cake, which was very much Fleming's Bond, is now distorted and grotesque. He looks like a bloke who worries he's short and balding and heads to the gym to overcompensate.

As for his character, he just seeems like a thug. I know he smashed the boorish guy's car to get access into the club and snoop around (for reasons I couldn't quite fathom, it's all rather baffling, much like GoldenEye), but you get the impression Craig's Bond would do that anyway, mission or not. He's a bore just like the guy he's deckin'. Being of the same generation as Craig, he just seems like a cocky bloke who wears steel soles on his shoes to announce his presence around the office.

BTW, I've got the paperback Pan books of the 50s, and Bond never looks like Daniel Craig on the cover. He's the spit of Connery on one, though. (FRWL 1958 if you must know).

Moving on. The action scene at the airport is terrific stuff. Credit where it's due. This could be the most exciting action scene of the entire series. I was a bit grudging, cos the film lost me from hello, and we're conned into thinking that lives are at risk, when it turns out to be a prototype plane, but it's gripping stuff. The way the truck careers around as Bond tries to hop on, you feel real danger.

Nitpicking though... Could Craig's real-life Bond be thrown off a 50mph truck onto concrete and just pick up and carry on?

And the final pay-off, where the terrorist only succeeds in blowing himself up as Craig watches on (sorry, I can't call him Bond). Hang on, it's still an explosion, near to the plane. With all that fuel around, wouldn't it all blow up anyway? Better to have Craig make eyecontact with the creepy villain from 200 yards away on a lone strech of runway, about to detonate, then a close up of realisation, then from a distance the boom! and smoke.

Was the guy a suicide bomber or not? Confused Was he trying to drive the truck into the plane? So if Bond attaches the detonator to the villain, how is he to know that he'll be out of the truck? Surely better to just throw the bomb out onto the runway, not hand it to the villain? Who might win the fight and then just carry on? Confused

Bond and Vesper. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Craig makes a silly Moore/Brosnan comment: Every penny of it! Craig's Bond wouldn't do that. He's a romantic vulture, picking over couple's dead relationships. These characters know they lose by default. They don't make jokes that rely on their quest having a sense of humour, or obligation to laugh.

Bond's smooth insight into Vesper's character is ripped off the film Wolf, where Jack Nicolson takes Michelle Pfeiffer's little rich girl down a peg or two. Except Jack does it far better. The mutal insight into each other's backgrouind is rubbish, contrived, far-fetched. But none of it convinced me, their relationship. It's like they fall in love because they're both orphans, and get to dress each other. And the drink. It's all overwritten and clumsy, except where Bond comforts V, both fully clothed, in the shower, that's a lovely, affecting moment.

Now, the casino part in Montenegro. I really, really hated these scenes (plus ca change, I hear you say).
Why? Well Lee Tamorhi vetoed a casino scene in DAD because it slows things down. OK, Tamorhari is a bete nor for fans, not least myself. But he has a point. You want to sell me a casino scene today, I need smoke, decadence, a touch of Hotel Costes. I want hookers living it up and happy, cocaine, gilt but not guilt. I want it like Rik's place in Casablanca...

The casino interior looks like someone's converted front room. There's Matthis, a creepy bloke with traitor stamped on his forehead, there's Bond trotting over to tell him and Vesper his strategy within earhot of Le Chiffre, there's Matthis in his stage whisper explaining to Vesper what Bond is going to do next. D'oh! There's Bond telling Vesper to kiss him to make the others jealous? Yeah, I bet they're all gonna be phased by that. They all say how good looking Vesper is. Translation: she's a dog. Like Bush and the Republicans though, say the opposite and they'll believe you... Roll Eyes

Confused What's Sun columnist Jane Moore doing as Le Chiffre's mistress? Laugh Out Loud

Well, you know how this is going. Campbell is cack-handed with his exposition. He couldn't deliver you a one-liner if If Mr Witty pulled up in an ice-cream van with 'One-liners stop me and buy one' on the side.

The scene with the fillibrator was very good.

The confrontation with Le Chiffre is ripped off True Romance and that between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, a much better scene. Mads even looks like Walken in that scene. Overall, there was never much sense of personal rivalry much between them, much of a relationship. Craig does good acting here, though.

Not much more. The finale is exciting, the Venice homage to Don't Look Back very good as it puts a spin on it, the action great, the death scene very moving and affecting. Except, we're not sure what kind of traitor Vesper is at that point. And I never felt it was a real relationship unfolding. It was like we got the edited highlights because it had been trimmed down for time. What idiot does a Bond film and has to cut it racically to get it to 2 hrs 20 mins. Didn't they have stopwatch?

And hang on... if Bond had held back from his shootout and maybe contacted M... that lovely Venetian building, a few million worth, would still be standing. Vesper, the love of his life, would still be alive... They'd be able to round up the villains and question them. Has this Bond learned anything? And didn't Vesper anyway leave a contact number on her phone for Bond to follow up anyway, which he does? (Mr White) Frank Drebbin is Bond!! Laugh Out Loud

What about Matthis? We're meant to think he's poisoned Bond's drink. Vodka Martini, Shaken Not Stirred See, you get pictures with my review Laugh Out Loud Presumably it isn't... Bond doesn't care, sweat him out. It could be a double bluff. He's learning our hero, except he got the wrong traitor, and takes Le Chiffre's word as gospel.

It's bad, cos Matthis was a great character in Fleming's novel, and the defining moment where a weak and deluded Bond outlines the difference between good and evil had real resonance with the mishandled war on terror today, and the difference between Saddam's violence and Bush's actions which as led to 100s of thousands dead. In the book Matthis shoots Bond's thesis down, as he could in the film, pointing out how Muslims are bombing fellow Muslims. But what a moment that would have made...

I would have made Vesper a brainwashed suicide bomber, who takes advantage of Bond's defences being down, and Matthis indulgence to infiltrate and MI6 stronghold and blow it and M to hell....! That would justify the payoff line, The bitch is dead!

Of course, EON don't want to get Al Quaida's attention. But you see, Fleming's Bond was up against real foes, the KGB, who as we have sadly seen this week have not gone away...  Craig's Bond aims to be in the Fleming mould, but is up against not real foes but generic terrorists. Who we never really see blow anyone up ever.

Good things? Arnold should never write another song, but his score is wonderful and lovely. Beautiful cinematography. A classic look, could be the 1950s much of the time. Sweeping panoramic shots of Venice are terrific. And often Campbell did have a freshness to his style, though he lacks and taste or intelligence.

Bad stuff? See above! Plus Craig trying on his dinner jacket, looking like any berk pretending to be Bond. And like Connery's chameleon toupee in NSNA, Craig's skin goes from fake tan to albino throughout the film.

I'm neary done. Campbell is a canny operator. His GoldenEye is credited with reviving the series. Yet with its themes of the end of the Cold War, it was more a valediction in truth. It was left to his hapless successor to think up new enemies and angles for Bond, and we got mincing media mogul Elliot Carver...
Likewise, Casino Royale has rave reviews. But it's a coming-of-age film. Be it Footloose, Dirty Dancing or Risky Business, these films are hard to mess up. They're also equally hard to draft a sequel for. The character arc is complete, where do you take it?

Dave Arnold talked about how he tried to put the Bond theme in more, but it didn't work as you know Bond would win when you heard it start up.

In the final scene, we see Craig shoot Mr White, hos Bond back to his sociopathic ways... He delivers the line, Bond, James Bond. The theme starts up, and it sounds all wrong. It has that cocky, expansive swagger and humour that Craig is not really about. He's the Steve McQueen type, the silent type who you find out years later shagged your girlfriend. 

Campbell's work is done, and his film is being raved about, just as GoldenEye was. I don't envy his successor, do you?
(Nap. P AJB)

In trying to reinvent Bond the producers still couldn't bring themselves to go for a really violent 15 or 18 rating, it still seems no one in the film can shoot straight except Bond and the product placement is still going strong (Ford alone paid $30 million). I had no real opinion of Craig since the only things I've seen him in (that I remember) are the excellent Our Friends In The North and the above average Layer Cake) and he'd be the only choice if some producer had the brains to bring back Callan but he's just unsuited to Bond, nothing as trivial as hair colour its just that certain actors don't fit certain parts, almost like casting Whoopi Goldberg in the part of an inconspicuous white, male burglar (too late they've done that in the dreadful film Burglar). Craig has a haircut done with a strimmer and an accent that sounds very strange at times and while his stand-ins handle the fights well he's not so good in the acting scenes. He may have the brutality but he utterly lacks the charm and suaveness that's an equal part of Bond. Less "shaken, not stirred" and more "did you spill my pint?". The material is good and the film is decent but it could have been so much better with Christian Bale (or Clive Owen) as Bond and Brian Cox as Le Chiffre instead of the hammy turn from Mikkelson where I kept expecting his little finger to go to the corner of his mouth and Mr Bigglesworth to appear. A more "realistic" Bond does highlight the absurdity of the plot and the paper thin charcters (and caricatures) around him. Its also way too long and the torture scene had the wife (and others in the audience) giggling. She's never been that fond of the Bond films but she rated this as dull principally because of the length and Craig's charmlessness, which I think is the word that sums up his performance. After the hype has died down I think this one will divide fans. (Phibes MI6)

The positive reviews this film has received are bewildering at first thought. But I guess people forget about other Bond films and latch onto the one that's new and novel and "an event."

First off, let's get rid of the nonsense. Craig's Bond is not Fleming's Bond. I think if Fleming were alive he'd be fairly appalled by Craig's Bond, though he may admire the fact that the torture scene he wrote has finally come to cinematic light (I'm sure Fleming never thought that film would be able to show this scene).

How old is Bond supposed to be in this film? 21? How can you have a substantial character arc with a guy heading into his 40s?

Craig is the Energizer Bond, sprinting with fury in every action scene as if has a keg of lifetime batteries up his you-know-what. The two action sequences in the first part of the film are predictably loud and, in a counterpoint to the realistic film CR pretends to be, ridiculous. After seeing several short clips of experts in "free running," I thought the free running in this film underused the flashier elements of the style and was a disappointment because of that.

The black-and-white PTS was quick and flat and led to an unimpressive credit sequence, with the "You Know My Name" song sounding tinny and unmemorable.

Apologies to the man, but Daniel Craig in several shots looked ugly, reminding me of Eric Roberts on a bad day. Sometimes I would sit there, astounded at how unhandsome he looked. Even in that by-now notorious rising out of the water scene, he looks goofy on the huge screen, with his bunched-up, knotted shoulder and arm muscles and his big ears standing out more pronounced because his hair is matted down wet. In his good shots, however, Craig has that kind of rugged attractiveness of a Steve McQueen. He definitely has an interesting face, and it's one I like--but not for Bond.

You'll find more excitement in watching CELEBRITY POKER than you will watching the important card game in CR. The only noteworthy moments at the card table occur with the killer-cold stares that Bond and Le Chiffre give each other.

Bond bleeds in this film, and just to get the point across, he bleeds again and again. And the point is gritty "realism." But when you've got Bond doing superhuman and impossible feats in action sequences, you soon realize that the blood is just a cheap way to keep your mind off the implausability of the action that causes the blood.

All in all, a mess of a film, rather unstable, laudatory in a few scenes but hampered by the sell-out to please the target audiences that buy most of the film tickets these days. (Charles Vine MI6)

In the flush of a new Bond, I fear a lot critics and fanboys have ALMOST criminally overrated Casino Royale. I hear a lot of--best Bond film ever, best Bond actor hands down, not just a great Bond film but great film period, best Bond in decades, supremely touching, finally a real Bond, a Bond with true depth and so on. SORRY, I DON'T SEE IT.

The film is schizophrenic and works against itself--it aims to be a down and dirty realistic spy adventure while also trying to be a high octane popcorn action juggernaut. The film didn't mix these elements well.

Also the much vaunted work by Haggis often falls flat. The first meeting between Bond and Vesper is weak with their dueling analysis--heavyhanded forced and flat. The connection between Daniel and Eva never takes flight. Eva disappointed me also. Diana Rigg as the other essential Bond woman was way superior. Even Sophie Marceau more recently was much more effective emotionally.

So the romance doesn't work well which deflates the emotional heft while the second half of the film bogs down at times with the card game and blah romance. The overall narrative lacks thrust--it only works in fits and starts. The main story lacks intensity and importance--and the romance fizzling doesn't help.

So I give it a 6 out of 10--if Craig wasn't in rating would be 4 out of 10. (Seannery Cbn)

Action sequences felt gratuitous and fell flat. Especially the Airport sequence. Free running was fun but the crane stuff bordered on the ridiculous. Bond shooting the air-vent/steam-pipes and avoiding a million bullets in the Embassy is the sort of stuff they were suppposed to be eschewing for a 'gritty' approach.

'No gadgets' they said. Bond seems to have a Sony mobile-phone superglued to his hand for half the film. He uses it the way Dr Who uses the sonic screwdriver to solve everything. If Bond had made a piece of toast with it I wouldn't have been suprised.

Craig is a bit long in the tooth to be a 'rookie' agent and a bit too much of a generic, musclebound action man for my tastes. We all have our personal conception of what James Bond should be like and Craig misses a few boxes for me.

Overall I didn't think this was anything like the masterpiece some have claimed it to be. Over the next few years it will be doubtless picked over on the forums. The reviews for GoldenEye were excellent in 95 and I left the cinema after that film wondering what all the fuss was about. I sort of did the same here. (Jake Speed Cbn)


THE BOND BEGINS IDEA IS A LOAD OF GARBAGE: let's misinterpret Fleming's intention with CR in which Bond is clealy not a novice and has had a fairly rough time of it through WW2 and his MI6 career. Let's then cast a 38 year old who has the qualities... and make him a novice. This is just unnecessary. EON seem to have been obsessed with CR being the first novel and Batman begins. I found the pre-credits far too brief and trite (Craig just doesn't look like a novice even in B&W) and then why was it necessary for M to re-emphasis the fact that Bond is new to the 00 section, that she has just promoted him? (Without them, CR could easily be chronologically Bond 21, if you like). Take these references very easily out and you have a far better film. Craig looks far more wordly than, say, Connery in DN, Laz, even Brozza in GE, doesn't seem to develop as claimed as a person from start to finish (and why should he?) - WHY THE HELL DOES HE HAVE TO BE A BLOOD NOVICE THEN? And because of that you have to drop the "Strong Sensations/Nature of Evil" exchange with Mathis.

THIS FILM COULD EASILY HAVE STARRED BROSNAN: I'm with Loomis: remove the PTS, the M references to new promotion (which are unnecessary) and Brozza could have done CR. I'm sorry everyone, this is not a "it had to be Craig or nothing" movie. Just amend the Madagascar and MIA scenes because:

THE ACTION SET PIECES ARE JUST TOO LONG: of course, Brozza would have looked stupid doing these scenes (and I hope EON wouldn't have been tempted) and Craig gives them renewed energy but the still go on far too long! We get the point that Craig Bond is resourceful and extremely determined. And why the need both in these pieces and the finale for lots to be going on around Bond: the best fights in the series, say in FRWL and OHMSS, are Bond in a one to one situation. The best action here, close to that principal, is the stairwell fight and the PTS.
CRAIG: now here's a funny thing. This guy isn't very goodlooking and he isn't very big (everyone in every crowd scene seems taller and just bigger: surely not every extra is 6' plus and 14 stone?). Try and sell it all you want, but this guy hasn't got the attention grabbing appeal of ANY of his predecessors. And putting the "my name's Bond" bit at the end is a HUGE mistake however much it may make the fanboys cheer. (We need convincing he is Bond a bit earlier). (David Schoefield Cbn)

Craig just isn't Bond for me, he just doesn't have the look or the style of the character. He's a great actor but he ain't Bond. Looking at the early reviews here & elsewhere I gather I'm in the minority but I'm just of the opinion that I want outlandish Bond, not all this darn realism. Get enough of that in the real world.

Re the film I think it was pretty stupid of the film to allow Bond to suffer a cardiac arrest (realism) but then to be straight back in the game within 30 minutes of that (un-realism) Either be realistic or don't, not as & when.

I've always gone to see a Bond film at least twice at the cinema, for this one I'll wait until the DVD is out. (Johnny Bravo Cbn)

To : M
Fr : Commander Hammond Egorunamuck


It is with singular regret to tender my resignation from Her Majesty's Secret Service, pursuant to the following (kind note, unlike the resignation of my good colleague and even better friend, Commander James Bond, this document is irrevocable and even final) :

Advisory. The latest screen incarnation of Cmdr. Bond, codename "Casino Royale" drops far below par from BOTH James' excellent biographies and the screen romanticisms.

A. The Literary James Bond
* "Saturnine sense of humour" -- a description used by Cmdr. Fleming. Although it is a popular myth that James is a cold flounder without a trace of humour, it is diamond clear that he evinces a wonderful, trenchant sense of cheerfulness (one of his favourite words, I believe)from the second book onwards. A few examples :
* In "Live and Let Die" James and Felix are nearly a comedic team, playing off one another. James' sense of life is keenly felt in his raised-eyebrowed descriptions of American culture. When Fleming was writing the sequence of naked Solitaire and James tied like newsprint(lucky fish indeed), she says, "I didn't want it to be like this." Noel Coward read it, asking, "You're not going to leave it like this!" Fleming, with tears of laughter, said, "Yes!!!"
* In the Blofeld trilogy, James' wit builds with each operation, from TB > OHMSS > YOLT. OHMSS has plenty of "splitting sides" (another James favourite)scenes. Note his resignation letter, "Neat that. Perhaps too neat!" or "Hm. Irma not so la douce!" or Griffin Orr : "Hm. Hm. Hm. Three balls!" No doubt James was rolling in his flat that evening recalling that.
* In YOLT, even the half-broken Bond in the beginning still retains his irony -- "Where do bees corpses go when they die?" James with Tiger, like with Felix, is a classic team, their repartee building to a firm friendship. Until James realises that Dr Shatterhand is Blofeld, their banter is continuous; Tiger is shocked in the change of his darkly cheerful friend to the cold avenger. The first chapter with the Geishas is hilarious. Dikko Henderson escalates the fun.
* Let us not forget operation Thunderball, as we laugh at James' agonies at Shrublands (at least we did at HQ), his meeting with Domino ("Bitch!")and again with Felix, who remarks, "I'm strictly a chocolate sailor."

B. The Screen 007
* As we can net from even a blink to the books, Commander Bond's humour did not originate with the films. James retains his cheek throughout his career, (a book observes that he is just "a simple peasant" looking forward to his chicken farm when he's put to pasture). Through four decades the screen James is simply a big boy, albeit a very tough, smart and lucky boy. He does not live in a world of blood and spilt guts. If even a simple punch-up were depicted 'realistically' James' face would be mishapen for a month! If the CR 'realistic' violence continues to the next mission, James will be dead midway through the story.

Two Lines of Demarcation
1. When James is asked, "Shaken or stirred?" One camp cheers, the other groans. Die Mister Bond! No more bespoke suits for you! Nor broken sommeliers. Instead of mock elegance, we'll get our Double Os at the gym's steroid section.
2. "Who will cry for a Commander?" One might well ask. Finally, James has been stripped of his RNVR status, a penultimate insult. Instead he is a Rambo-Terminator, a machine Jason Bourne -- so much so that the two JBs are interchangeable. But instead of protests from Double Os at this most horrific of slaps, we get "Here! Here!" Not a biggie, as the Americans say.

James Bond has not been re-born, he has been re-killed -- You only die twice, Mr Bond -- by the Antibond, in the sense of 1. against and 2. Instead of. (One of the Pope's official titles is Vicarius Filii Dei, "Instead of the Son of God.") The Antibond has slipped into the shoes of the real Bond, and has been accepted by many as the one, true Commander James Bond, RNVR, CMG. Like the Antichrist, "even the very elect shall be deceived." But it is no longer the authentic Bond of the books or screen, but a counterfeit.

In light of the above, Sir, I beg you to accept this resignation forthwith and endit.

Your obedient servant,

Once Commander Eggy, 0077  (AJB)


I'll just say that while I admire the many risks it takes, overall I was as disappointed in the execution as I was with GE. Martin Campbell's direction is just not my style I guess. He flattens everything out, and he doesn't play up the wit. He cuts away from people when they're talking and some great lines get lost. He just isn't good at dialogue. I don't know, I can't explain it - the film got better as it went, but it just didn't hit me the way it should. The script was so much better.

Eva Green was a letdown for me - you never really believe she has fallen for him. She looks weird, speaks weird (talk about your strange British accent, always on the verge of laryngitis it seems). She just doesn't register like I thought she would. Not like Tracy in OHMSS. Her fate is still pretty stunning though, again because it feels so out of the Bond realm.

Finally...Craig. Welp, now I've seen him. And guess what? He's still not really my style. He does fine, but VERY MUCH in the Dalton mode if you ask me - pretty much what I had predicted. For some, they like that. Not me. The physical side is perfect and the brutality kind of refreshing, but he's just not my idea of what Bond should be. I can't believe people are talking "Best Bond Ever" and all that. They must be really caught up in the moment. Make no mistake, he is as much using his own personality as Brosnan did. All this talk is just ridiculous IMO. Way over the top and exaggerated. That bad press was probably the best thing that ever happened to him because now everyone's gone too far the other direction. Anyway, I respect him, and I don't hate the idea of seeing him in the next film. Especially since I imagine he'll loosen up some, smooth the edges. But is he MY Bond? No, I'll just have to wait for the geological shift down the road. (benskelly AJB)

Martin Campbell should get a job as a 2nd Unit Director, as he understands action, but is hopeless filming any other type of scenes.

The film is as uneven, and as flat, as: AVTAK, TLD, and the Brosnan -Era films.

The script is full of the typical kind of Pretentiousness, and Psychobabble, that made Brosnan’s films-especially GE and TWINE pretty leaden.

Gritty, is a one-trick-pony!,
just being given dour, and dark, plots and stories, will be pretty tiresome, very quickly.

Real-Life plots are hideously limiting - ask Dalton!,
it gives very little chance of any grand, or ingenious, villainous schemes,
all we’ll be left with, are just mundane Villain -types like: Money-Launderers, Gun-Runners etc. etc. - YAWN!.

Bond himself, now seems to be lacking a certain Chic about him,
he used to seem like Old-Money,
now he comes across like a working-class lottery-winner! i.e.: all the money to buy the finer things in life, but none of the Class to go with it!,
I hate the fact that Bond seems all too Blue Collar now, it’s almost like EON are ashamed of the fact that Bond had some Class, and Style, and Heirs and Graces about him.

There was a few shots, where Craig didn't look like a Bond at all - like during his pursuit of the bomber, at Miami Airport,
and a few unappealing camera angles of him, during the card games.
And finally - most important of all! - CR doesn't feel much like a Bond-Film.  (Mitch AJB)

* Daniel Craig. I didn't buy Craig as Bond at all. He is called 'James' once or twice in the film and it doesn't ring true. Paul Morley summed up my feeling. He said that you feel that Craig's 'character' might have met James Bond once very fleetingly, perhaps in a corridor or something, but you never believe he is the real thing. He has one chance to overact and boy does he take it. There is a moment (after Bond has asked the swiss bloke if he brought any chocolate) when Craig mugs for a second to get a laugh. It's painful. On the whole he is restrained and ok but he's in the wrong film. He's too ordinary to be James Bond. He looks small in some of the fight scenes and doesn't command the screen. If they want me to believe this is Fleming's Bond they might have cast someone who looks like him. I thought Craig looked terrible in the PTS and last shot of the titles. There are moments in this film when he looks like a waxwork dummy. He looked like a diminutive nightclub bouncer crammed into a ill-fitting suit in the last scene. He also looks too old to be a rookie agent and comes off as slightly stupid.

* Overall, the least fun I have ever had at a James Bond film. Craig is not my cup of tea at all. Call me shallow but I've never got over the way he looks. I left the cinema feeling bored and flat.

* I don't know if this is an eccentric opinion but now that I've seen the film I honestly think young Cavill might have worked in this (arthur pringle AJB)

I have finished watching it for the third time in vain hope to find what I was looking for: James Bond. And I didn't find him.

And I love romantic movies, but the romance and love story here were contrived and cheesy.

I really, really wanted to enjoy this movie as an action movie at least, given I don't see Craig as Bond at all (and the movie made my perception even worse). But I did not. I was bored by most of it, and annoyed by the fact that the action scenes remained totally unrealistic but without the only thing which partially justified the unrealistic part, and made them fun: the gadgets. And I'm not talking about over the top gadgets, but the basic toys that every secret agent has, and Bond always had. Jumping from places like Spiderman and managing to reach vehicles running like Flash Gordon is just too much to take for me when I am watching Bond. (Not that other Bond movies didn't have this. But at least it wasn't the main trait of action scenes).

I refuse to make a detailed comment on the opening credits and song: atrocious doesn't really cover it.

Just one more thing: the motivations behind Le Chiffre's actions are way too weak. We never understand why he does what he does, what his motivations are. Why funding terrorism when there are a lot of other illegal things to do which would make you gain a lot more money and with much less danger? What is he doing with the terrorists? The movie in this part is extremely weak to me. Le Chiffre isn't at all the guy Bond fights in the book. And the modernisation of that part of the plot didn't work well at all IMO.

Anyway, I am glad that some of us liked it and some of us didn't. That means that there are a lot of different perceptions, and that Bond fans are far from being a stereotyped audience. And I can only rejoice about that.  (Alessandra AJB)

Granted, Craig brings a physicality to the role that other actors have not....however, there may have been a reason for that. BoxOfficeMojo's comment about this Bond being 'all muscle and no brain' will ring true for some people, as I felt, at times, as though I'd just been through the meat tenderizing process with Craig. Lots of punching, kicking, drowning, stabbing, choking, burning, but very little finesse. I mean, yes, it's nice to have a man's man as Bond, and not a 57-year old English gentleman that allows teenage girls to kung-fu his opponents into submission, but every once in a while a "He got the boot" wouldn't hurt either. Casino Royale is a very punishing, bruising film with not much variation. At first I enjoyed Craig's intensity in the free-running sequence, but soon it just gets to be tiresome, with him turning into a one-man army, running into the embassy and assaulting people, dodging bullets and blowing stuff up

As a stand alone film, taken on its own merits, I've given it 3 stars out of 5, but in context with the rest of the series, I just find the film wanting in so many key categories that I'd give it 1.5 stars (out of five).

Clearly this film is not for me. Fair enough. I've been spoiled: I've had a good run of 3 Bonds in a row that I saw in the theater and liked (Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan), but now I know how others felt when Lazenby or Moore came along, and then spent the Moore era sitting it out at home rather than going to the theater. With that in mind, I doubt I'll see anything else with Craig in it (including the dvd), and will wait for the next actor or set of owners to come in and shake things up. (GS Cbn)

 I didn't enjoy the action scenes that much - standard action film fare. One critic said (I paraphrase) with the action sequences you actually think people are in danger. I disagree. Craig was a little dull in these rather daft Under Siegesque sequences, looking like a cross between Jean Claude Van Damme and John Rambo (I'd advise him to lay off the weightlifting if he makes another!). He was almost in "superhero" mode, diving off speeding oil tankers. They could have cut these action scenes down a bit; I presume they put some mindless action scenes in to keep those with low attention spans entertained. I love stupid "enjoyable nonsense" action films such as Under Siege, because, Steven Seagal is a bit of a cult character who is funny to watch. But if Daniel Craig played the Seagal character in Under Siege, it would be boring. That's the problem I have with Craig the action hero. That’s why I didn't care for his performance in Tomb Raider. Who would you rather see play John McClane: Craig or Willis?

I didn't enjoy the rather brusque pre-credit sequence (Bond begins my arse). I found it surprising that they jettisoned all the other bits of the Bond framework (gunbarrel, Q, Moneypenny), yet still kept the Binderesque title sequence (which was awful - like an online java game). They should have had something new.

The film felt like a cross between Bourne and Jack Ryan. Like Jack Ryan, Casino Royale was a little bland; I didn't think Casino Royale was as intriguing or as fresh as Bourne, probably because of the Bond film tradition. Casino Royale sees the invention of a new type of Bond, and - unlike Bourne - there are 40 odd years of Bond to compare it with. Memories of Moore, Lazenby et al were with me when watching Casino Roylale. Daniel Craig was right in that Casino Royale only works if you forget about all the other Bonds - but it's hard! Normally my favourite Bond is the one I'm watching at the time. But watching CR, I wished Craig was someone else (i.e someone tall, dark young and handsome, how shallow of me!!).

I didn't enjoy the new Bond characterisation. The problem I have is that this Bond is supposed to be a young, out of control Bond who is a little immature and "lost". I can't accept that Daniel Craig is this young Bond. It's stupider than 70 year old Roger Moore wandering around in A View to A Kill. It just looks silly. I know some people will argue that the other Bonds were a little childish ("grow up 007" as that old fellow Q used to say), and that the this Bond's immaturity is simply another spin on that; but I just found it unrealistic and it made this Bond look like a bit of a weirdo. Maybe there is more of the confused, troubled Bond of the early Fleming books in this film than in many of the other Eon films. But I think they got it wrong. Maybe they had to do this because this Bond is supposed to be an arrogant, brainless, oafish "young bond", and Craig's 40 year old Bond will be a little bit more believable and realistic (i.e acting Craig's age) in any future films.

They should have got an actor in his early twenties to play this Bond. Martin Campbell was right! Karl Urban, Henry Cavill, take your pick.

Craig was ok in the role. He wasn’t unwatchable; he wasn’t captivating. I didn't really think of him as Bond, as many critics who liked him have said. Predictably, I felt he looked wrong. The problem I have with Daniel Craig is that I just find him a bit dull. Like watching Richard Gere in a by the numbers thriller or Harrison Ford in Jack Ryan, I just don't find him that entertaining. Many will have found his lack of smarmyness refreshing. But imagine that scene with the blonde receptionist in the Bahamas hotel. Craig just stands there looking gormless - imagine the humour that Moore or Connery would have generated just by their facial expressions. Strangely enough, wooden-model-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder-in-real-life at the time George Lazenby was much more romantic and humane in On Her Majesty's Secret Service than "best actor of his generation" Daniel Craig was in CR. Is that because OHMSS was made over 30 odd years ago and I have loved it for years? Probably.

Mads was OK. He looked suitably crackers when he kicked Bond over in in torture scene. His role would have been a good one for Craig. Eva was pleasant enough, although her soapy part didn't require the skills of a great actress did it? I like Bond when they do these quiet romantic bits, and enjoyed these bits in Casino Royale; but I didn't enjoy this as much as Bond and Tracy or Bond and Kara. Eva would have been great in Dawson's Creek with her mawkish psychobabble!

Casino Royale predictably had lots of Bourne/Bauer style mobile phone action. I thought it was a bit daft for Bond to have a field hospital in his car. And M seems to run MI6 from her flat with a batcave style computer in her toilet!

It's an interesting addition to the Bond universe, but it doesn't have the cult value (for me) of the other Bonds. I like The Tempest, but a Marxist puppet version set in modern day Norwich probably wouldn't interest me. This reading of Bond leaves me a bit cold. Eon have a monopoly on filmed Bond, so those bored of the formula will be grateful for something new. It's terribly rude to say, but Casino Royale seems to be liked by those who don't like Bond films! I don't think I like the idea of a Casino Royale II following on Rocky style from Casino Royale. I can’t seem to get to grips with this strange Bond incarnation....  (CA MI6)

Casino Royale starts off great - with the black and white flashbacks to 007's first two kills and the title sequance is great, very retro. But straight after the credits have rolled it becomes a Bourne/ Die Hard hybrid and not in any way a James Bond film. In fact the original Casino Royale, as rubbish as it was, paid more respect to the Fleming than this pile of tosh.
From the off the biggest problem is the miscasting of Daniel Craig - he just doesn't have the presence to carry it off and whilst an actor of great quality with a brilliant technique, he is just not a leading man and more a supporting actor.
Another problem is that when 007 breaks into M's he is immediately given another mission, rather than being arrested and treated as a loose canon. This Bond could be dangerous to British security. Judy Dench is also wasted in a plot with more holes than the Labour party manifesto.
Bond rose to the rank of Commander in the Navy before joining the secret service so he should always be a veteran. And the smoothness and charm of the previous films (not to mention the books) and when you subtract this from the character you change him. Thus no matter what anyone says this James Bond is a shallow version of the character we know and love. Is this film trying to say that this is Bond's origins and this mission turned him into the suave, snobbish character we know and love? Yeah, right!
Casino Royale is a mess - the worse of all the Bond films. Apparently Casino Royale cost half the price of Die Another Day to make which is all very fitting because Daniel Craig is a cut price Bond (AW MI6)


c 2006 Alternative 007