While Cinecultist would never pretend to be a James Bond fan of the caliber of Anthony Lane, we do appreciate the finesse with which Ian Fleming's creation continues to draw audiences to the theaters. People understand, almost instinctually, what makes for a good Bond movie and 40 plus years on, the formula still works as evidenced by Casino Royale which CC saw last weekend. A rollicking, action-packed, sexy as hell installment, this 007 tale stars a new Bond played by Daniel Craig, and with the new lead actor seems to be an updated way of telling a Bond story.
For some reason, even though we know it's a terrible soap opera cliché, we love a romance where the couple initially hate each others guts. The disdain and then the heat! It's like cinematic candy corn for the Cinecultist. When Craig tells the brittle but lovely Eva Green, "you're not my type. Why? Because I'm smart? No, single" we knew we loved this flick. And of course that's ages after Bond has raced through a construction yard, leaping up scaffolding and hurling himself pell mell through walls. See, we're also a sucker for an elaborate chase scene as well as for barbed, sexually-charged wit.
Fortunately, this 007 also never dissolves into the easy catch-phrases of sub-par action films. Casino Royale is the first story in the Bond catalogue but this film still feels fresh. In the final sequence (which granted comes about 20 minutes later than our short attention span would prefer), as Bond and the bad dudes destroy a palazzo on the Grand Canal, we feared for a quip about Venice sinking. But, it never comes. Bravo Bondies, this jaded but hopeful moviegoer is completely reinvested in your franchise.Posted by karen at November 24, 2006 6:37 PM