Casino Royale

This latest Bond film makes a few long-needed changes to the formula.Historically I think the Bond franchise has been successful because, like McDonald’s, it delivers a fairly standard product which is “good enough”. The typical Bond film involves an action-packed opening sequence, silly dialog, pretty women with ridiculous names, gadgetry, and a bad-guy blood bath. Furthermore they tend to be stylish without being cutting edge — they have a sort of “last year’s runway” conservatism.

The latest Bond film dispenses with the gadgetry — and thank goodness, I’m still reeling from the invisible car. It mildly mocks other Bond standbyes, such as the infamous shaken martini, or the absurd names for the women characters. However, it does keep to Bond’s essential filmmaking conservatism, being fashionably gritty and soulless but not as outrageously so as Miami Vice or Crank. Likewise it incorporates some cool parkour moves (and again mildly mocks parkour via the Bond character), without wholly giving in — the cutting in this section de-emphasized the coolness of the chase, making it a bit hard to fully follow.

Overall I thought this was the best Bond flick in a number of years, thought it wouldn’t play as well without the background of other Bond movies (for one thing it attempts to be the “first” Bond movie, explaining various things about the man — retroactive character development). I enjoyed it and only had to close my eyes a couple of times (I have a deep fear of drowning… ugh).

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