I went to see this new Bond film, Casino Royale(2006), the other day. It definitely is supposed to be the beginning of the Bond films. But how can you make a prequel that takes place after the other movies took place? The film is inacronistic. Either Bond must begin back in the sixties, making it a vintage film, or the series must merely hit the reset button after having run for fifty years. No matter how good the film is it will still encounter this fundamental problem. Batman Begins(2005) had to deal with the same problem but it isn’t as noticeable. Batman only changes as the technology changes. Plus it takes place in a nonexistent city. James Bond is almost always tied to current events: You Only Live Twice(1967) was in the middle of the space race. GoldenEye(1995) deals with a fragmented Russia after the cold war ended. Die Another Day(2002) revolves around the North Korean conflict. Although Bond never really gets older in any of these films, having a sudden new beginning was difficult to digest.
As for this new Bond player, Daniel Craig, he actually plays the role very well. Some viewers complain that he doesn’t feel very “Bond” because he is blond-haired and blue-eyed. I couldn’t see any of that. The man actually reminds me a little of Sean Connery, the original Bond.
His character was quite different from what Bond has become over the years. The character is colder; he seems less humorous. Some of the quips in the film were funny because they seemed uncharactistic of Bond. In one scene, Bond is with a beautiful woman when he finds that he must immediately leave. He orders a bottle of wine and caviar “for one” then takes off. Connery’s Bond had said he had to leave “almost immediately” in the same situation. This new Bond is all business.
The action in the film is awesome. There is a foot chase scene in the beginning that is unequalled. There is a lot of that hand-to-hand combat style from Bourne Identity(2002). There was even some of the shaky camera business from Bourne Supremacy(2004).
There are a lot of departures from Bond tradition in this film. There are so many that it makes me wonder whether they meant to make this film more closely resemble Ian Fleming’s book Casino Royale than resemble the other Bond films. Many previous Bond films were based only on the Bond character instead of Fleming’s works. I suppose that getting back to the basics would require a clean break: new Bond, new character, new action style, less super-gadgets, etc. There is definitely a new and different feel about the whole movie.
Now the plot…. oy, the plot. They made a big boo-boo with this film. There is a huge, honkin’ plothole in the end. DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FILM.
Okay, so there comes a point when you have no idea what side Vesper Lynd is on. That’s okay, but that difficulty is never fully cleared up. My friends and I had to put in some serious thought to reason out what happened in the end of the film. The convenient, explanatory call from M only raises more questions. She tells Bond that Vesper’s boyfriend was being randsomed. So what happened to him? M says that she must have made a deal to save Bond. When? Was Bond part of the original deal? She didn’t even know him then.
There must have been two deals. Vesper’s boyfriend is kidnapped, so Vesper makes a deal that will spare his life. That deal goes sour when Bond wins the Poker tournament, and they could have killed the boyfriend. But why would she go out to be kidnapped? Was Mathis in on it after all? Anyway, after Bond and Lynd are captured and tortured, she would have made a second deal to spare Bond’s life. Right?