Friday, November 17, 2006

Film Review: Casino Royale (2006)

Or should i say, 'how does Bond turned from a human into an one dimensional Bond we've already familiar with'.

Let me say this beforehand, i dont like James Bond. Never. The way i see Bond over the last twenty films was that he is a cocky robot with that half-closed eyes, small smile, pensive demure, live large, defy death, emotionally detached when he slept with those 'Bond girls' be it friend or foe, beating some silly bandits whose scheme was as cheesy as world domination, and high-tech weaponry provided by ever-silly Q.

So when Daniel Craig appointed as the next James Bond after Pierce Borsnan, i merely said, 'oh, okay' without any anticipation whatsoever, even as the news begin to produce more rumors and speculations over the net, with of course, most 'purist' said, that Daniel Craig wasn't Bond.

I was neither pro or against at the time. That was until some stupid teenager said that the Casino Royale film will be certain bad, because he doesn't know who this Daniel Craig was. I got snapped at this teenager, and shoved him out of the discussion board by giving him two of Mr.Craig films, Layer Cake and Enduring Love. Both of which showed that Daniel Craig had a stellar acting capability and an already variety in his acting career. Right from that moment then, i'm all for Mr.Craig and i meant to see the film firsthand to prove to the public who against Mr.Craig that they could suck up their own ass. And oh how i really wanted to tell them after i've seen this film, that they should hung up their heads in shame.

I daresay, that this is the best Bond film that i've ever seen. Mr.Craig gave an hard edge to the Bond which we never seen before. He nails the dramatic scene and lending an impressive physicality to the action scenes. He loves to run, anyway, but thank god, he could run without looking like a girl *cough*Brosnan*cough*.

James Bond's character in this Casino Royale was surprisingly, for the first time ever (first time that i've seen anyway), had something akin to a character development. In this film, James Bond just received his 007 status, and thus his license to kill, and just like a teenager who just had his driving license, he had an urge to ... ugh... step on the gas? And through the film, we shall see Mr.Bond loses his temper, that even when he asked for a Vodka Martini in which the bartender replies, 'Shaken or stirred, Sir?', he snapped and gave the man an angry look which NEVER appears on the previous Bond's faces, 'Do i look like i gave a damn?'. That's something.

The action scenes were also a jaw-dropping. That opening scene were Bond chases his target without those stupid gadgets provided by Q (who, thank god, didn't appear in this movie) save for his own two foot, and his environment literally stopped my breath. Physically exhaustive, tremendously catchy, and well executed. I can't even start to imagine how if Roger Moore be on Mr.Craig's shoe, or that sissy Pierce Borsnan. In short, i was most welcomed this change of course from Bond, that instead depending on his gadgets (just like Batman, now that i think of it), he was depending more to his own physical ability.

Halfway through this article, i just realised that this new version Bond was just look like Jason Bourne. In truth, before the film loses his momentum (that extra 25 minutes was a total waste, they should've trimmed it down to 120 minutes instead of 144 minutes), i was thinking that 'hey, i could almost enjoy this film like i enjoyed the Bourne series'. Almost.

There were three things that has been a trademark of James Bond. Girls, Gadgets, and Villains. Let's talk about villains first. Mr.Bond's villain in the Casino Royale was a mathematical genius, chess prodigy, who instead wanted to rule over the world (like all previous Bond's villains ever wanted. Bah. You can't get more cheesy than that), only interested in wealth and personal profits. Nothing more but way more plausible than the previous villains. He's weird (just like every Bond's villains) with the scar over his left eye which constantly bleeding from time to time, but seemed more normal than steel-toothed Jaws (you Bond-freak must know who he is) but no less ruthless. And as with the girls, can't get better than it already has.

We've been talking about gadgets, which has been - to my personal delight - trimmed to minimum-level, so let's go straight to the girls. Mr.Bond's protege for this film was Miss Eva Green, who i knew best since she bares it all in front of the camera lest ruined with her attachment to Kingdom of Heaven. With perpetual French accent on her speech, beautiful close-up shots, she was more a Bond-woman than a Bond-girl. In fact, this is the first time i've seen a Bond-girl and not waiting expectantly for a coitus to happen or enchanting 'strip, strip, strip, strip' inside. Well, it happened anyway, but far from any lust that had been carried with Bond brand over the years. Miss Green (both her character and her merit), was among the best, if not the best, Bond-girl ever. She was not a mere sex object to Bond, for the first time, the Bond-girl has something more than a cleavage and a narrow hips.

Even if i had been praised this film beyond beliefs, considering the figure earnings this film would earned, i had a considerable doubt that the franchise would continue with Mr.Craig as the leading man. Take the last Bond film with Mr.Brosnan, Die Another Day (i watch the film in a big screen) though that it was a mindless numbing experience, the crowd seems to like it considering the six figure sales of the film. I would say that most of the crowd were youngsters where explosions, hot-babes, and fancy cars and gadgets were the main attractions. This film, as you would knew if you spared the time to read this review, had all the fore-mentioned things in a minimum-level. However, whatever you say, this film was the best Bond film that i've ever seen, and Mr.Craig was easily the best Bond since Sean Connery, even -- um, i guess i'm going to stop here.

All in all, except for a moronic, uncivilized youngsters who sits next to me (there were 7 of them) who won't keep their noises down, i'm ablet to come out of the theater in a satisfied manner. Now if you'd excuse me, i will go watch it again.

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reri said...

Wow. I've never really liked Bond's movies, but I think I'll watch CR soon *blink*

Seems an accurate review, eh? :P

Anonymous said...

You rock arya :), gw juga demen banged ama Casino Royale, biarpun awalnya gw tmasuk yang rada2 kuciwa pas liat Bond yang baru. Tapiiiii...abis nonton pilem nya gw sibuk berdoa mudah2an ini bukan pilem terakhir Craig jadi Bond :).
Konon kabarnya di versi novel nya,
karakter Bond ini emang harusnya model2 Daniel Craig di Casino Royale itu :D...