Re-Watch: Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Based on: Ian Fleming‘s James Bond novels
Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach de Bankolé, Jesper Christensen

Plot:
James Bond (Daniel Craig) is a special agent who just recently graduated to 00-status. And in his first mission, he has to take on Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), banker to the upper leagues of terrorism. Le Chiffre is about to play a high-stakes game of poker; and if Bond can beat him and take his money, they will have him cornered. So Bond’s boss M (Judi Dench) sends him and accountant Vesper (Eva Green) to Montenegro to win at poker.

Casino Royale is an extremely satisfying action movie that also holds up to second viewing. Daniel Craig is a cool bond and the whole thing is very entertaining.

[SPOILERS]

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Quantum of Solace (2008)

This weekend brought deadra and me to the movies to watch Quantum of Solace. Actually, we made a double feature of it and watched Casino Royale before that at home. Which might have been a mistake…

Where Casino Royale has everything – the thrill, the charm, the romance and the (half) naked Daniel Craig, Quantum of Solace is sadly lacking.

quantumofsolace_poster_02

I’m not the one to cry after the old Bond movies – I never got them anyway, not really. But I loved Casino Royale – it was exactly the right development of Bond for my taste. Therefore, I had very high expectations regarding QoS. Especially, since Marc Forster was directing it. That is to say, I liked Casino Royale because it worked very well as a movie with a very interesting main character and very solid action and *sigh* beautiful romance. For QoS, unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing. [And this is not about the whole “is it a good Bond movie or not”, it’s about whether this is a good movie or not.] It doesn’t work as a thriller, especially because of the plot holes. Like:

[SPOILERS FOLLOWING]

They didn’t bother to close the whole Vesper story ark – why did she have to kill herself, exactly (other than being fridged, that is)? Why would they have got Bond if she hadn’t? Did she know about the boyfriend being a decoy? And, most importantly, what the fuck happens to Mr. White? Nothing? Is he still in Bregenz, watching the opera? Are they still looking for him?

Unfortunately, these were not the only plot holes. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that there was more hole than plot (I’d say the ratio was about 3:1): Why would somebody build a hotel in the middle of a desert? Especially such a huge and ugly one, filled with hydrogen tanks? Did they plan on Bond blowing it up? Will the Quantum come back again and again to haunt us? What’s with all the people who were said to be a part of it? How could they find Greene in the desert? Did Bond really use Mathis as a human shield, even though he was still alive, or was he just not thinking when he got him out of the car the way he did?

[END SPOILERS]

quantum-of-solace-04

Something else I wondered about – did you get subtitles? I mean, the people talked French, Spanish and German additionally to English and we didn’t get a single subtitle. I mean, I was fine with most of it, I understand French and German, I was able to follow the Spanish, but I’m pretty sure that most people in the audience couldn’t. Wouldn’t subtitles have been nice?

Another thing that bothered me, but it’s admittedly not a single Bond-related occurrence: I want to see what’s going on in the action scenes. I don’t want to get nauseous, I don’t want to feel confused [Who just got the axe into his foot?], I want to follow what’s happening. I want to be able to see it. Yes, I’m sick like that.

Other than that I liked Marc Forster’s directing. Like, right in the first scene, the car chase, he’s got this brief moment were he shows the pursuing cars in the reflection of another car – a beautiful shot. I also liked

[SPOILER]

when Camille is trapped in the hotel and fire blazing about and Bond comes to rescue her, and she kind of buries herself in his arms – thanks to the camera work and the close-ups she really looks like a child again. Wonderfully done. [Even if the whole scene was unnecessary and kind of destroys her image as a grown, independent woman…]

[END SPOILER]

It definitely had some chuckles (especially “I can’t seem to find the stationary”), but give me more of that, will you?

quarktaken from here
While it’s not exactly my opinion about the movie, it’s still funny. :)

Speaking of more: there could have been more M, because Judi Dench Rocks [yes, with a capital R]. And there could have been more naked Daniel Craig, because that’s always good. But most of all, there should have been more plot which makes sense.

Summarising, I got mixed feelings about this one. While it’s definitely not as strong as Casino Royale, it’s not as abysmal as many reviews want to make you think. It does have a lot of problems, some of which could be resolved with Bond 23. But it also has it’s strengths. So, I guess I’ll stay with an undecided “more on the positive side, but just because I’m a nice person” grade for this one.