two thumbs way, way up!

So hubby and I went to see the new Bond movie (for those with their heads in the sand, that's Casino Royale). I had heard mixed reviews, so I wasn't really sure if it would be good, but it seemed like a "must see". Some of the complaints I heard were the lack of style of the bond character, you know, that 00- tuxes and martinis and witty banter with the antagonists, a lack of opulence and style in general of the surroundings and other characters, and a lack of gadgets... I mean a 007 without nifto gadgetry? Huh?? Dear god, without all of that where's the Bond?? I was worried they might have even gotten rid of the Bond girls! (on a quasi-feminist note, I see nothing wrong with Bond girls, they are generally sexy, smart, witty, know what they're doing and use it all to their advantage... Bond enjoys it, and everyone has a good time. I like them, and they usually add style and a bit of action relief.)

Well, in general I didn't feel these critisims were warranted. There was a distinct lack of the traditional gadgets, what there was instead was a great deal of use of those kind of gadgets we all seem to have these days: laptops, cell phones, I mean, even lots of people have GPS in cars now! I found the use of these slightly souped-up "everyday" objects very good (for those of you familiar with Alias, think similar to this, a little modification here and there, to make a super-spy-cell-phone, etc). To come up with original "gadgets" is getting tricky without going to the ridiculous like invisible cars a la "Die Another Day". Honestly, I find that too comic-book-like, and I'm not a fan. Also there were no far-out plots to take over/destroy the world, just plain old-fashioned terrorist/warlord bad-guy bankrollers. It feels like a spy-movie, not a super-hero movie, and I think that's how it should be.

As for style, I saw no lack of style. Ok, Bond was a bit rougher around the edges than the recent movies, but I was beginning to feel those were too polished anyway. This one adds in a bit of grit, a few good old-fashioned fist-fights, people get dirty, bloody, sweaty, it's more real. Bond still wears a tux though, still drinks martinis, and still carries on charming, witty banter with the other characters. Oh, and I'm not going to complain about a really, really ripped Bond... sorry boys, but you get the Bond girls for eye candy, we should get something too! ;) That aside, the surroundings are most certainly opulent, the women well dressed, well primped, and dripping in jewelry, the cars are fast and fancy, and well, I'm just not feeling a lack of style here.

Along the same lines as style, I also really loved the cinamatography. The black and white, grainy opener was fantastic and really set the mood for the whole film. The rest of the movie was in a hue that wasn't so much duller as usual, but it really looked like older film. Compared to the recent very "shiny" looking Bond flicks I felt like I was watching one of the old Bond movies (which I always preferred anyway).

As for the acting, I'm not much a critic in this area unless it's really good or really bad... but I'd definitely say that Daniel Craig as the new Bond works (I was skeptical... though not a huge Brosnan fan, I don't like change), and Eva Green as the Bond girl in this film was fantastic, though I did detect an French accent coming through her British character occasionally. The on-screen chemistry was great all the way from "prickly" to very, very warm. As for the villain, I can't tell if I liked the character or the acting or both... probably both.

The plot, based on the first Bond novel by Ian Flemming was great and held me through to the end despite the long-ish-ness of the film. I especially liked the twist at the end (no, I hadn't read the book) where I was sure I knew what was coming... but was surprised with an ending which was much more interesting. ;) I will say no more about that as I will not be a spoiler!

Needless to say, I highly recommend, even if you haven't enjoyed the last few Bond movies. ;) I feel like this is an excellent re-set to the Bond franchise, and I really, really look forward to seeing more!

Now, if I could just get the Bond theme song out of my head... dundedundendedundundedundendun....

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