Last night I went with my family to see the twenty-first James Bond movie. The title sequence was impressive—it took the designs from playing cards and animated them, but stylized and with bolder colors, and of course with Bond running around shooting people in the middle of it. Hard to describe, but lovely to watch. If you don’t have time for the whole thing, just stay for the first five minutes—totally worth the seven bucks.
Everything after the title sequence . . . was pretty good, I guess, if you’re into movies, which quite a few people seem to be, so I’ll let the rest of the world judge the quality of the actual film.
That said, I’ll share my reactions. No real spoilers here, but if you don’t want to hear ANYTHING about the movie . . . well, you probably stopped reading at the title.
I suppose I’m required first to opine on Daniel Craig as the new Bond. I wasn’t thrilled with the notion of a blond Bond, but my opinion has since improved to a solid ‘meh.’ He’s younger and scrappier than Pierce Brosnan. My mom rather liked the shot of him striding all muscle-y and dripping out of the ocean.
I didn’t much care for Craig’s Bond, personally, but then I’m not a fan of the Bond character in general. He’s arrogant, violent, and womanizing—what’s there to like? His ego was, if anything, even more ridiculous in this movie than in others I’ve seen. I realize he’s a caricature, but that’s not the sort of hero I can get behind. Take, for example, the following bit of dialogue.
Vesper: I’m afraid I’m a complicated woman.
James: Well, that’s certainly something to be afraid of.
See, at this point I would’ve slapped him, but Vesper, of course, goes in for another smooch. Whatever. No one’s arguing that the Bond films are great victories for feminism.
While we’re discussing the characters/actors, I must of course pay homage to the world of awesome Judi Dench brings to the movie. I can’t imagine anyone playing M better. Dame Judi is near the top of my List of People About Whom it is Difficult to Say Anything Bad. How would you even begin to make fun of her? She’s Judi effing Dench. I mean seriously.
By the way, Eva Green? In the magenta dress? Wow. Stunning. Also the green dress. And the second red dress. Oh, and her accent was remarkably good. Maybe actual British-English speakers would be better judges of this than I, but I would’ve never guessed it was her second language (after French).
I won’t say much about the plot, except that it kept going, and going, and going. Just when you thought everything was about to be tied up, Bond would do something arrogant and stupid, or someone else would betray him, and off we’d go again. I was never all that bored, but after the movie I started thinking back to some of the things from the first hour and was like what? Those happened in the same movie?
One scene was filmed at the BodyWorlds exhibit, which I’ve seen, so that was nifty. It’s the horse! And the soccer guy! And the poker players!
There was one scene that threw me—the shower scene? What was that? I felt like I’d wandered into another theater, perhaps one playing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Maybe they were trying to give the characters some “depth,” but it seemed out of place. I kept expecting the wall to explode or bullets to come flying in.
Okay, so there’s my bits-and-pieces review. Like I said, I’m not a movie person and am relatively unqualified to pass judgment on this one, but I think if you like Bond films, Casino Royale won’t bother you. There’s running and kicking and betrayal and pretty girls and things exploding, blah-di-blah.
Today’s link: Jess is a graduate student in Linguistics at the University of North Carolina. She’s the only native English speaker I’ve known who does not have Dutch parents, yet speaks the language fluently. Check out her Life List—wow. I wish I had half the determination and self-discipline she does.