Bond, James Bond (Daniel Craig in Casino Royale)

(No spoilers)

Let me first start by saying I read all of Fleming’s Bond books some years ago, and was dismayed at what Bond had become. This is not to say I didn’t think Brosnan wasn’t a great Bond, he was. However, the Bond they wrote for him did not have the true spirit of Fleming’s Bond. Doctor No had it closest — a good adaptation coupled with the incomparable Sean Connery. Everyone agrees Connery wins the Bond sweepstakes and that won’t change with this new Bond.

However, that being said, I was very surprised to find that Daniel Craig is a very believable Bond (if not visually). I was one of the detractors and this performance has quelled any objections I may have to his title as Mr. Bond. Royale made an effort to keep near the book (changing Baccarat for Poker to make it more timely, I suppose — no other reason can be found).

There are very few absurdities in this film unlike the recent predecessors. Yes, there is the standard Bond fare but no invisible cars, jumping from the edge the Hoover Dam, and other absurd moments. If you watch Bond you have to expect some stretch, but not to the absurd.

There is a scene in the Miami Airport. It was not filmed in Miami as anyone in Miami will attest, not to mention the random license plates which weren’t from Florida. Reasonable copies of our Police cars and uniforms though. I believe the airport was a Czech airport or possibly a remote UK airport. I tried to figure it out based on signage and aircraft but had little luck.

Anyway, the Bond beauty was hot. Yay. Bond was well acted and well written. You believed in him. And even though you know how Bond ends up being Bond it’s nice to see the story. And it’s much harder to present a good film when the audience knows the ending in advance as we all do. (I won’t spoil it in case you’re clueless here.)

The sole recognizable face is Judi Dench as “M” — which also provides the one odd time-continuity gaffe. She was “M” at the start and end so how did the “M”s in the middle happen? I think she’s a fantastic “M”, but they needed someone else for this one film. I really thought so.

There aren’t many fancy gadgets but there are some damn fine cars. I won’t bore you with the details, but the cars were almost as sexy as the women.

I liked the psychological aspect of this film and that’s a great thing because it’s more towards the original spy thriller. I also liked the fact that at 2-1/2 hours this film moves along quickly until it’s ending. Only the film isn’t really ending, but rather lulling you into a false sense of complacency for the real ending. And the real ending is fantastic.

Welcome, Mr. Craig. You’re a welcome Bond. Another one like this and you’ll pass Brosnan and be right there under Connery. You’re already past Moore, Lazenby, and Dalton.

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