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Bond, James Bond?

My family has a long running appreciation for the James Bond series of films. I mean, part of the reason I’m named Sean is because of Sean Connery. I think I’ve seen the most Bond films out of the Cat Fancy crew, but you can never be too sure with that Colin. Anyway, with Quantum of Solace (ugh) out this week, and without the willpower to put together a retrospecticus (plus there are plenty of Bonds I haven’t seen), I thought I’d just run through what I thought about Casino Royale, and what I’d hope to see in the new film.

First of all, I think it’s important to understand where Casino Royale is coming from. It is a reboot of the franchise, a complete reimagining of the character. I certainly went in to the theater that fateful November evening expecting to see a younger version of the superspy, but that simply is not the case. In fact, the new 007 has very little to do with that classic character.

James Bond films, to me, mean high tech gadget and classy kills. Casino Royale had neither, in fact, one of the series staples, Q, was completely absent. Too bad, because John Cleese had just gotten that role a few films earlier. Gone too were the witty little remarks that we all grew to love over the years, when this Bond kills someone, it’s taken very seriously. Indeed, when on the job, this 007 is very rough and tumble, engaging in gritty chases and straightforward gunfights.

Beyond all the questionable character changes, Casino Royale is not a very good movie. I remember leaving the theater disappointed, but confident that this was a competent action flick, but upon a second viewing, it is just not very good. Something about classy, rich people playing Texas hold’em really bothers me. That they interupt the card game several times so characters can go kill people is ridiculous. The love stuff is so hammy it’s painful to watch. And then there’s the stupid emerging from the water scene. Damnit Craig! Didn’t you see Die Another Day? It’s the woman who emerges from the water, you dolt!

Casino Royale did have some touches that hinted towards this Bond becoming a character we better recognize. They were able to work in the classic gunshot opening, at the end of the film he finally says “Bond, James Bond,” they make references to Money Penny and “shaken, not stirred,” and he’s becoming increasingly unable to connect with women. Hopefully with Quantum of Solace, we’ll see the character develop more in this direction.

I’ll probably end up seeing this soon enough, but I don’t want to deal with opening day crowds. I’ll go into it skeptical, but hopeful to see Danile Craig become the character I want him to be. If not, at least I’ll get to see the new Star Trek trailer, now there’s a franchise you can’t mess up by modernizing. Oh wait…


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