And every other Bond other sans Sean Connery.
CASINO ROYALE was terrific. A little long but great action sequences (that didn’t depend on gadgets) and a Bond girl you could actually believe is smart (unlike the time we were asked to buy that Denise Richards was a nuclear scientist, the single greatest conceit in motion picture history). Eva Green was radiant, and more important, nude in most of Bertolucci’s 2003 release, THE DREAMERS – just ordered from Amazon.
How refreshing that the stakes in CASINO ROYALE were real. There was no madman plot for world domination, no giant secret compound/fortress/Norad that served as the super villain’s lair. (I always wondered how such mega complexes could be constructed and thousands of gun toting guards could be hired without anyone knowing about it. I mean, how did they get the building permits approved?) The Magoffin was $150,000,000 – which is not pocket change but still less than it cost to make the movie.
But the revelation was Craig.
I never bought Roger Moore. I’m sorry, James Bond does not have liver spots. Moore probably needed a stunt double to do his walking scenes. Timothy Dalton never lived up to his potential from THE ROCKETEER. And Pierce Brosnan was good but a little too slick and pretty. Like the Fox television version of 007. If Brosnan wasn’t available they’d insist on Rob Lowe.
Craig however, was real, he was gritty, and I mean this as a genuine compliment -- an asshole sometimes. You really saw how that job takes its toll on you, both physically and psychically. Although I understand it’s still an easier job than being a staff writer on CYBILL.
With CASINO ROYALE I feel the producers saved the franchise. And just in the nick of time. Because in 2006, James Bond’s biggest rival isn’t Goldfinger, or Ernst Blowfeld, or Dr. No. It’s Jack Bauer.
I'm in a movie reviewing mood. Tomorrow -- DREAMGIRLS.