Sunday, November 19, 2006
"Casino Royale" is the film Bond enthusiasts have been waiting for. It isn't Bond as he's evolved over the years; Daniel Craig's spy isn't the unflappable superhero that a younger generation has come to know and videogame. Craig is flesh, blood, and bone. He's a sex god and a man's man. He's brutal. In a fight, his opponents die slow, and the agony of their death registers on his face. And when he's through, he leans over a sink to wash the blood from his face, sickened by what he has just done. "Does killing bother you, Mr. Bond?" "I wouldn't be very good at my job if it did." But it does bother him. In the novel by Fleming, Bond is disillusioned and somewhat sickened by the unfeeling killing machine that he is afraid he is becoming. In Casino Royale, both movie and novel, it's about the character development. The action sequences, though thrilling (the chase in the beginning the most exciting thing I've seen on film in some time) take a backseat to the story and the relationships therein. This isn't a reboot of Bond, as some people have taken to calling it. It is instead a return. This is the gritty symbol of what politics (cold war or otherwise) have brought us to, depersonalizing us in the face of too much media exposure to violence and international catastrophe. While it is easy to see this as a reimagining of Bond, especially when watching the segment where he tries on the tuxedo for the first time. One is easily reminded of Batman first donning the cowl, Superman first ripping open his shirt to expose the red "S", and Spiderman first swinging over Manhattan, but I prefer to think of it instead as a reacknowledgement, a sense of "that's how it should be". If you want throw away lines and flippancy, rent "Live and Let Die". If you want Bond...James Bond..the genuine article, then "Casino Royale" is the place to begin. In honor of this release, I will now post for you something inspired by Mr. Sidney Williams, a Bond Trivia game. From HQ: 1. What was the name of the actor who first played the role of James Bond? 2. What was the first Bond film not named for a Bond novel or short story? 3. What was unique about Gerte Frobe and his performance as Goldfinger? 4. How many different actors, including the most recent, have now portrayed CIA operative Felix Leiter? 5. Including the first "Casino Royale", how many actors have played a character called James Bond? 6. In which films has Bond resigned from MI6? 7. What is Q's real name? 8. How many different actors have played the role of M? 9. What were the first words uttered by James Bond in the first of the United Artists' films, "Dr. No."? 10.Bond once had a secretary, she even appeared with him in one of the films. Her name?