Casino Royale

So, I’ve wanted to do this for a while now. My office took me to watch this movie – my entire team actually; it was our team offsite this quarter. Yeah that’s right…feel jealous! Anyway, for me, it was just about ok. “Why?” you ask. Well, for one, I’m not that much of a movie buff. I seldom get curious about movies, and this wasn’t one of those movies I got curious about. This is linked to my second reason: that I’m not a big fan of Bond movies. So if you are one, I would recommend that you stop reading. I essentially think of myself as a nice person, and I don’t unnecessarily want to offend you.

I think we all know by now that this movie is supposed to be a precursor to all Bond stories. It’s supposed to tell you why Bond is the way he is now. Making of Bond and blah and blah and blah. And to a great extent the movie tries to do justice to that. When the titles are happening in the beginning, for instance, one finds that the usual silhouettes of skinny women are conspicuously absent. For the most part, the animation shows a lone man fighting or killing, and other men bleeding to death. One of the reviews I read for Casino Royale called it a downsized Bond movie. I’ll say! No handy gadgets, no fast cars (I absolutely refuse to consider the Ford), save for the Aston Martin which was introduced only halfway thru the movie and then only to be destroyed a few minutes later (I swear my heart broke), no sleeping around with 10 different women, and omg, he falls in love! Even the humor was considerably better in this one – don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about that last bit, or for that matter, any of the things i just mentioned.

The difference primarily I suppose is that in this movie Bond is not shown as someone who has a distinct advantage over his enemy. In fact, most of the time, it’s his resourcefulness that gets him out of situations. For example, in the first chase sequence its fairly apparent that the terrorist guy was better in a lot of ways, faster, more nimble, n all that (apparently French “free running” champions like Sébastien Foucan are like that)…but Bond manages to keep pace with him cuz he is resourceful enough to use the stuff around him. Of course it helps that he is fit. Bond is not a sophisticated smug ass in this movie, but a brute that is barely managing to keep his coarseness under cover, and for the most part, can kill a person with his bare hands (who needs guns n all).

And I loved the Bond girl, Eva Green. I can imagine men dreaming of women who look like her coming up to them saying “I’m the money.”(Sheesh, close your mouth.) She was fascinating because she wasn’t waiting to fall into bed with him and also, she was an intelligent person as opposed to someone who was there primarily to look pretty (which function also she manages fairly well). It’s not that much of a surprise then that Bond falls in love with her. Which might have been ok, but the sight of Bond being all mushy was a bit traumatic for me personally.

The plot apparently had escaped the downsizing exercise. I mean seriously, what was with all those plot twists. The villains kept changing and after a while, my brain was like, “oh for crying out loud! Please! Make up your mind!!” business minded, fake-eyed, blood weeping mathematical geniuses to morally upright beautiful lover turned reluctant betrayer to last minute but actually right from the beginning villains, they were all there, torturing our dear old James in their own special way (don’t we all remember the torture scene. Man…I was cringing. But the guys in the audience were probably more uncomfortable than me is my guess. Thankfully though, it was short.) And then of course the girl had to die. Betray your lover first and then drown yourself in guilt (or the Grand Canal, whatever seems convenient to you at the time). So she dies and we see Bond struggling with his emotions (ouch!). The part where he’s trying to make light of it by saying, “who cares, the bitch is dead,” – that…now that just made laugh. Cuz right after that he had to semi-eat his words. Lol! Oh the unnecessary effort of making yourself say something you neither believe nor want to say!

Anyway, so what of the overall effect? How did it all come together? I think Daniel Craig did a fairly decent job. He’ll survive. The locations and the shots were fantastic, and so was the girl. BUT…the plot twists the mush and the fighting with emotions, the ugly humor…and the Ford!!! Oh good God! What was that all about??

Rating: 2/5. It might have got a nearly perfect score if I were comparing it with the other Bond movies, but since I’m not, it stays at 2.

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