Thursday, January 01, 2009

Casino Royale

One of Ian's workmates gave him some free tickets for Sky City Cinemas which had to be used by Dec 31st. The best of the films on offer seemed to be Quantum of Solace but as everyone knows this is a sequel and we hadn't seen the original yet. So the best thing to do seemed to be to watch a DVD of Casino Royale on Monday and go to Quantum of Solace at Lower Hutt on Tuesday.

In case you're the only person on the planet who didn't know, Casino Royale is a James Bond film with Daniel Craig starring as Bond for the first time. I found the plot a little hard to follow but Wikipedia has a thorough description here.

There are classic Bond-Story elements like gorgeous women, fast cars, shootouts and exotic locations. There are departures from Classic Bond - there is no Q, no gadgets and Bond sometimes uses strangling rather shooting as his method of killing his enemies. (I didn't feel this last was a good thing - some have described it as gritty and adding a dose of realism but for me Bond films are all about escapism and I don't like to be made to dwell on his victims' suffering). Another departure is Bond falling in love (he even says "I love you" before she does) and wanting to leave the service although I suspect this is an aberration allowed because this film takes place so early in his career.

Casino Royale is good entertainment and the stunts are superb. I loved the early stunt sequence on a building site in Madagascar which involved two cranes and had Bond and his target running along steel girders and leaping improbably from crane to crane employing pulleys and swinging on loads of building materials for extra excitement. The second major sequence at Miami Airport was enormous fun, particularly because of the vehicles used - whizzing around in petrol tankers and plane pushers isn't everyday movie material.The palazzo crumbling into the canal in Venice was also impressive but too recognisably CGI for my liking......I like things to look real even if I know they aren't. I enjoyed the scenery and the casino sequences in Montenegro, and of course the moment where Daniel Craig pops out of the sea in the Bahamas clad only in his swimming trunks. Judi Dench as M was good fun....she is very good at telling people off and she had plenty of opportunity in this film with her newest and most inexperienced agent.

Casino Royale is slightly too hard to follow, slightly too disjointed and slightly too gruesome to be my ideal escapist movie but its worth a trip.

Anne's rating 3.5/5
Ian's rating 3/5

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