Monday, November 20, 2006

That. Was. Awwwwwwwessssssome.

Saw the new 007 movie on Friday night with an opening night crowd that was full of energy and excitement (with even a few attendees dressed in tuxedos). And thankfully, after a couple of Pierce Brosnan duds, the crowd was rewarded with the first satisfying Bond movie since Goldeneye. And as pointed out in this NYTimes op-ed piece from Saturday, it was a course correction that was needed:
“Casino Royale” is a stripped-down, ascetic, close-to-scripture production (at least, relatively so). This has happened several times before in Bond’s life. At the point where the films become simply too bloated and depressing (“You Only Live Twice,” “Moonraker”) there has been a corrective process (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “For Your Eyes Only”) of weaning Bond off his gadgets and massed, doomed phalanxes of jump-suited security guards, in favor of the small scale and mildly realistic. But the result has tended to be somewhat boring films. Still, the last of the Brosnan epics, “Die Another Day,” with its invisible car, ice palace, death ray satellite and useless computer-generated images, certainly cried out for some kind of Reformation.
Yeah, that invisible car bullshit pretty much made me give up on ever going to see another Brosnan Bond. So I was ecstatic when Daniel Craig was selected for the role, especially after having Layer Cake become one of my fave guilty pleasures. Craig was the suave center of the movie and he was a main ingredient in making a rather by-the-book underworld caper film into something a bit more special.

But more than a course correction, I'd go as far as putting Casino Royale up in the top three of Bond movies (there with Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me). The acting between Craig and his female foil Eva Green was quite good, as was the dialogue (helped along by writer Paul Haggis, who wrote and directed Crash) -- possibly the first romantic dialogue in a Bond movie since the Connery days that didn't make me want to cringe. It was a bit drawn out at 2 hours 24 minutes, but I actually really enjoyed the slower pace and longer length. It really helped to give the space needed between Craig and Green to establish more of a relationship. Oh, and the action scenes were top notch, too.

At the end, as the lights went up, there were hoots and hollers of appreciation from the audience. But the best part of the whole experience was looking down the row from me where my compatriot El Jeffe was sitting with the biggest grin I've ever seen on his face. (I asked him, half-jokingly, last night when we were going to see it again, and he told me he already had.)

Don't listen to any naysayers (Drudge is up to his usual stuff in trying to create a controversy about how the film got beat by the penguins this weekend). Go see this movie!


At 9:26 AM, Blogger kat said...

Clearly I made the wrong choice this weekend...I went to see "Borat" instead.

I might be the only one on the planet that doesn't consider this the funniest movie ever made. To be sure, there were some funny moments, but overall? Eh.

I saw the SNL a few weeks ago when Sasha Baron Cohen had a surprise, unannounced intro and found his schtick to be incredibly unfunny. I hoped that the movie would be way better, but no.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Drudge is an idiot ... I agree with your assessment of this Bond ... I just hope Mr. Craig is now taking some well-deserved time out to gloat to all the haters who doubted he could pull this off

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Agen said...

Interesting -- just checked out Reel Fanatic's profile and we share a couple of below-the-radar flicks as faves: Out of Sight (with Clooney) and the vastly under-apprecated Snapper. Love that movie, and it's been ages since I've seen it -- I'm putting it near the top of my Netflix queue today.


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