20 November 2006 by Published in: General musings 9 comments

Susan and I went to see the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale, on Saturday night. I wondered what this movie would be like for months before it was released.

I liked Pierce Brosnan’s portrayal of Bond. Honestly, it’s a role he was born to play. Brosnan was plagued with a couple of really bad scripts and a couple of completely unbelievable story lines. His last Bond film, Die Another Day, was beyond atrocious, although it wasn’t Brosnan’s fault that it was so bad. The script was absolutely ridiculous, the story line was completely unbelievable, and Halle Berry was so awful in it that it was hard to believe that this same woman won an Oscar. I genuinely feared that the Bond series had reached its end, and that this horrendous movie was the reason.

The initial buzz was that Clive Owen, whose work I really like, would be the next Bond, and I really thought he’d make a great 007. However, that didn’t happen, and the search for a new Bond dragged on for several more years. Finally, the producers announced that they had cast Daniel Craig as Bond. Craig, who has proven himself to be a gifted actor in other films such as Munich, has blonde hair and blue eyes, and looks nothing at all like George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, or Brosnan, all of whom have very dark hair. As a result, there was a firestorm of controversy, with lots of web sites protesting the choice of Craig.

Casino Royale was Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, and it relates the story of how James Bond became a 00 agent, and how he evolved into the suave and debonaire secret agent portrayed in so many movies. It’s been filmed twice before, once in an hour-long version in 1954, and the awful 1967 farce with David Niven playing a retirement-age Bond with Woody Allen and Peter Sellers.

This telling of the story begins with Bond’s promotion to 00 status. M, played by the wonderful Dame Judi Dench, the head of MI-6, describes him as a blunt instrument, a stark contrast to the Connery version. There are no whiz-bang gadgets and no absurd special effects. The only gadgets are things we normal folks carry–cell phones and laptop computers. My only complaint is that the movie, at about 2:40 is too long.

Having said that, Craig was tremendous. His portrayal of Bond is probably the closest to the way that Fleming wrote the character of any yet attempted. He gave a nuanced but powerful performance, and he pulls off some very realistic fight scenes with aplomb. In short, I think that all of the criticism and fears that Craig would not make a good Bond was unfair and not well-considered. This guy, at age 38, could continue to play Bond for years to come. And I hope he will.

Bond is back. With a vengeance.

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  1. Mark Peters
    Tue 21st Nov 2006 at 6:57 am


    He was not at all a popular choice in this country, but has since won over many of his critics. Many are now claiming that he is the best Bond since Connery, showing the harder edge that Fleming had in his books. Personally, my favourite was Roger Moore as he brought a sense of dark humour to the role.

    Glad you enjoyed the film, and awaiting your review of Borat!

    Best wishes,


  2. Tue 21st Nov 2006 at 11:29 am


    We haven’t seen it yet, but I think that Sacha Baron Cohen is a comic genius, and I hear that this film is incredibly funny.

    As for Moore–nodoby did suave and debonaire better. Of that, there can be no doubt. His problem is that he hung on way too long. He was far too old to play the part credibly for the last couple of movies. Having said that, his first–Live and Let Die–remains one of my favorites of the series. I still think that movie contains the greatest chase scene ever filmed.


  3. Jim Epperson
    Tue 21st Nov 2006 at 1:15 pm

    I never liked Roger Moore, mostly because he wasn’t Sean
    Connery, which is hardly his fault. I much prefer the early
    movies — more faithful to the books, in general, less
    obsessed with gadgetry. I did like Diamonds are Forever,
    and I also liked Timothy Dalton. I never understood why he
    got the axe.


  4. Tue 21st Nov 2006 at 1:50 pm


    Dalton didn’t formally get the axe. He had scheduling conflicts, and then when Brosnan–whom they had wanted over Dalton in the first place–came available, they jumped on it.


  5. Jim Epperson
    Tue 21st Nov 2006 at 8:39 pm

    Wanting Brosnan — who was OK IMO — over Dalton was a mistake
    IMO. I still prefer Connery. Maybe I just prefer the women in his movies.
    It is hard to argue with Usula Andress and Honor Blackmon.

  6. Tue 21st Nov 2006 at 10:33 pm

    My favorite is still Moonraker…O.K. I was kidding.

  7. Wed 22nd Nov 2006 at 4:28 pm

    Who doesn’t like Pussy Galore? LOL

  8. Ken Noe
    Sat 25th Nov 2006 at 11:32 am


    We saw it last night, and were very impressed. Craig brings a grittiness to the role I haven’t seen since early Connery, although Dalton showed glimpses of it. I’ll admit the “Bond in love” sequence dragged on too long, but the initial chase scene and the poison sequence more than made up for it. I liked the subtle acknowldgements to earlier films too.


  9. Sat 25th Nov 2006 at 9:30 pm


    I agree. I’m impressed–I have yet to see a negative review of this film.


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