From The Darkside
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
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.
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
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
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'
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
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 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
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
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? 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?
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
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...
What's Sun columnist Jane
Moore doing as Le Chiffre's mistress?
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
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
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!!
What about Matthis? We're meant to think he's poisoned Bond's drink. See, you get pictures with my review 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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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 it...my rating would be
4 out of 10. (Seannery
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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"
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
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
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
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,
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
The script is full of the typical kind of Pretentiousness, and
Psychobabble, that made Brosnan’s films-especially GE and
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
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
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
* 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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)
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
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)