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Hard to Objectively Review When You're This Happy

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#1 MattofSteel



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Posted 18 November 2006 - 03:49 PM

When I saw Superman earlier this year, I got something I ultimately came to love, but at first was apprehensive of because it was quite different than I was expecting.

With Casino Royale, this was not the case. It was exactly what I wanted, it delivered in every way, and there is little I can find to complain about at this point.

I'm not going to re-hash what everyone else has already, in exhausting fashion, said. Every "pro" of the film that has been pointed out was spot on.
Some of the cons, I could argue, and might just by the end of the review. My effort is to make this a different read than the ones before.

The best pre-titles we've had in years. Absolutely reeks of classicism, nostalgia, and everything that I love about Bond. Fleming's pages are on the screen, and Daniel Craig owns everything.

Daniel Craig. Owns everything. The "best Bond" argument (debate?) will continue forever, but I personally have a new favourite. Daniel just does it for me. Everything I think Bond should be, he is. He plays this role with, contrary to all his predecessors, a confidence and professionalism that has NEVER, NEVER been present in another Bond actor's first film. In some previous cases, I consider certain actor's first films (while the films may be good) to be their weakest. If Casino Royale is Daniel Craig's weakest, he will bring an Oscar down for a future one.

I had a hilarious discussion with a mate not all that long ago about how half the people up for "best actor" oscars nowadays are playing someone else who lived. Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Truman Capote, whoever David Strathairn played, etc. My friend said "These guys aren't acting, they're just really good at imitating."

While this point does ring true on some level, it begs the question: What, in my opinion, makes Daniel Craig undeserving of recognition at the award level for this portrayal of Bond? His portrayal is as much a perfect imitation of Fleming's Bond as Phillip Seymour Hoffman portrayed a living, breathing, Truman Capote. Daniel owns this film. Every effort by the haters seems to have backfired. I am done, DONE talking about those people. They have no argument anymore. Simply none.

Daniel. Craig. Owns. This. Entire. Thing.

Eva Green is phenomenal, and in my opinion, trumps everything before her. For all the "concern" about the late Bond girl casting and the passing over by "big stars", it came up with a Royal flush. That woman is jaw droppingly beautiful, and a brilliantly talented actress. I fell in love with her, just as easily as Bond did. I understood why he wanted to run away with her. She brought the book version of Vesper to life, and made us CONNECT with a Bond girl in a way that no one else, except maybe Diana Rigg, has managed.

As beautiful and wonderful as Caterino Murino is (and of all the Bond eye-candy stock parts, she may also be the best), she's got nothing on Eva.

Which is a statement, I suppose, that suggests this film contains the best roster of Bond girls we've ever seen, in terms of beauty, characterization, and overall enjoyment.

Tough statement. But it's true.

David Arnold. Lock this man up, and don't let him go anywhere. I don't care what some say, this is one subject I fiercely hold my own opinion on. No one else can score the modern Bond film quite like he can. Yes, this score is different than what he's done. Yes, he's evoking John Barry much more this time around. Yes, there is probably a lack of "memorable" moments compared to his previous scores.

But by God, it's perfect. Every frame, every note, just matches. He scores this film perfectly based on the NATURE of the film. That makes the tiny, memorable moments stand out even more. "I'm the Money", (the shot over the train), "Aston Montenegro," the part of African rundown up on the crane, the Blunt Instrument (wow...just, wow) fast section, they all do it for me. Could not have been scored better, or more perfectly. YKMN instrumental is as strong as any previous Bond theme.

And Dinner Jackets.....oh, my Dinner Jackets. Has there been a sublimely more perfect quiet Bond moment in recent, nay, all time history? Well done, David.

There seems to be a discussion of pacing problems, related to a "protruded" 4th act, or that the romance between Bond and Vesper felt rushed. Well, here's my 2 cents on those 2 points:
A) Yes, structurally this is different. But there isn't one iota of unnecessary frames in the entire reel of this film, especially in the 4th act, and had they cut anything further, the film would be desperately lacking.
:P The romance only felt rushed because it's a feature film, and romances pretty much need to feel rushed. Especially when it comes to Bond, because so much else is happening.

Here it is, my one criticism, the one moment in the movie where I went "Hmmmm", and it is related to that last point: There was one element of the Bond/Vesper thing that DID feel....well not rushed, but incomplete. She essentially turns him down after their 4AM dinner, then she's captured, then the next time we really see them together, she's all over him and they're deeply in love. Granted, they were both concealing feelings before. But I could have used just ONE MORE SCENE pre-capture to acknowledge the tension between them, or to at least "warm up" to the physical action before the actual declarations of love after. Minor quibble.

The ending scene is the best ending scene in the history of the James Bond movies. By that point I was so deliriously happy that the Line (perfect. Just perfect) and the swelling up of the Bond Theme were like two solid punches to the face that tasted like icing. On a cake:).

If this ENTIRE creative team comes back for the next film I will not be disappointed. Here is my one fear, it is screenplay related. And it is based on the fact that


Nay, let me rephrase and specify, because structurally some things are in question.


The movie is simply a joy to listen to. The lines rolling out are perfect. I read all these other reviews saying "gone is the famous Bond humour", and that this is a more serious film.

This, to me, was the funniest Bond film pretty much ever. This style of writing, this style of dialogue, this style of wit, perfectly fits everything in the franchise and should be clung to relentlessly. I suspect a large dose of this is Mr. Paul Haqggis, a man who, despite his penchant for writing depressing movies, I am PROUD to share a hometown with.

Hats off, to you, sir.

My fear, as mentioned above, is that P & W will be back to their usual ways of F!!!-ing things up. Everyone else on the creative team made this film like they had something to prove. And everyone proved it, successfully.

P & W have more to prove than anyone else. I can't actually tell what parts of the screenplay are theirs and what parts are Haggis, so I don't know if they've proven it or not.

I am speaking strictly in terms of dialogue, I remind you. They are talented writers. I think the World is Not Enough was a supreme effort at its time, the best in years (yes, P & W, I'm talking about you) that suffered from poor execution. But in terms of dialogue, if they can maintain the same level of snappy prose and witty dialogue in CR (which is ummatched so far in the series, IMO), they will have proven themselves.

Until I see them do it for a second time, they remain on slightly less thin-than-normal ice.:)


A job well done to EVERYONE involved. This is how FILM should be made, and this is what you should leave the theatre with, every time. An emotionally straining journey that makes you laugh with the crowd, cry to yourself, grin with fanboy-ism at the slightest little perfect references, recall the glory days of old while being excited at the new direction of things, and ultimately leave the theatre with an enormous grin on your face.

In my face my hands were covering my mouth, in shock. At how amazing the film was. It will be scrutinized to death, I'm sure, in the coming times.

Here is the one point in my review where I will shamelessly say what others already have:

Creative team, Mike and Babs, Daniel - take a good holiday and enjoy it. You've earned it. But get your [censored] back to the production office as soon as you can and give me Bond 22. Judging by the packed theatre I was in at 4pm on a Friday in Canada, I'm not the only one in the world who desperately wants it.

Cheers to all.

#2 sharpshooter



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Posted 18 November 2006 - 03:55 PM

Outstanding review MattofSteel.

I found reading your review a joy. My wait for the film just ampted uo another notch amazingly.

#3 sorking



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Posted 18 November 2006 - 07:14 PM


Splendid review in general, but I wanted to quote this one line in particular.

Yes, with wit coming from character rather than bolted on (as Brosnan so often requested), with exposition coming sharply and with clarity (thereby passing by a few who needed it explained) and with emotions forever clear and heartfelt without ever being mawkish or melodramatic...well, I agree completely.

The dialogue has never been better.

#4 Publius



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Posted 18 November 2006 - 07:27 PM

Superb review. :) And I agree wholeheartedly when you say "This, to me, was the funniest Bond film pretty much ever." I've never laughed so much during a Bond film, and NEVER so much with Bond rather than at him. Crazily enough, I think Craig best nailed the humor of all things.

#5 MattofSteel



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Posted 18 November 2006 - 08:42 PM

Just got back from a second showing mates.

Movie just gets better with age. And I noticed little things too, like the old Asian lady from YOLT and whatnot.

God, I love this film. I might see it again tomorrow.

#6 Bucky


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Posted 18 November 2006 - 09:04 PM

i agree with everything you said. the dialogue made this film greater then the other bond films for me. i cannot wait to see it again although that probably wont be until next weekend.

#7 MattofSteel



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Posted 18 November 2006 - 09:46 PM

Continuing to add things:

1) THE POKER: Was that 45 minutes???? No one mentioned that the 45 minutes included A WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER STUFF. There is NOT too much card playing in this movie, if anything I was expecting more. There are relaly only 3 major showdown pots in the CR.

And the hand combinations on the final one are ludicrously impossible, but I was grinning the entire time:).

2) I did not find this the dramatic 'reinvention' that people are calling it. This is still a James Bond movie, through and through. People are throwing 'big words' around, and while this IS Ian Fleming's James Bond, it felt like Bond the entire time to me, as I know him.

Maybe that's because I've always known the REAL Bond, and just finally saw him.

3) Mr. White is perfectly cast. For some reason, that is now one of my favourite castings in any movie in history (except Daniel, of course;) And Brandon Routh). The man just looks like a slimy member of SPECTRE, or something SPECTRE-like.

4) "The Organization" - I LOVED this every time there was a reference. Felt like Dr. No or FRWL all over again. I CANNOT WAIT TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON HERE.

I really feel like we've re-entered an era of Bond that is going to be as profitable, famous, and (for the fans) ENJOYABLE as Connery's famed run in the 60s, of DR NO to YOLT, before the series became somewhat more, IMO, generic.

5) Be prepared to look at the old films in a different light. You'll still love them as much, but what you used to think was amazing will now be classified as "sort of amazing":). Still wonderful, all of them, but Casino Royale truly is in a league of its own.

6) THE FADE CUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Campbell ripped them RIGHT out of Dr. No I believe, or at least the earlier Connery films. They haven't been seen since then, they're just fades instead of cuts, most noticeable at the poker tables. It's hard to explain ---

....you know them when you see them.

I almost leapt out of my seat the first time I saw them, I leaned over to the friend on my left and just went "That cut is RIGHT out of the 60s!!!!!!" and she just looked at me. Then I grinned. More.

#8 MattofSteel



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Posted 30 October 2008 - 05:44 PM

Just read this again for the first time in awhile. My opinion of the film has not changed one iota. Makes me sad that QoS likely won't be the same, literally cinematically revolutionary experience for me - but this just made me remember why, so far, the Craig era has been decidedly awesome.