Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Bit of Frivolity

I do like this movie! I've been a fan of Bond since I was in elementary school, but in college I read Ian Fleming's original novels and instantly preferred the tougher, more human literary Bond to his almost unbelievable cinematic counterpart. So imagine my delight when the movie franchise decides to re-start with a bond movie that actually remains faithful to its original source material!

The movie works too. The screenwriters were deftly able to update the story from the Cold War Era to the War on Terror Era while retaining the integrity of the story. We see a Bond that is vulnerable. After being tortured by Le Chiffre, we see Bond in a wheelchair during a recuperative session of a type that occasionally appeared in the books but was absent from the movies. The evil plot was not an outlandish Dr. Evil style super plot, and did not require the suspension of disbelief that had become so common in the franchise.

Let us not forget the obvious, however: Daniel Craig. I'll admit I had been pulling for Clive Owen, and when the announcement came out I was gave the same "huh?" that everyone else did. I am pleased with the choice now. Craig ably balanced the look (despite being blond!), the toughness, the coldness, the vulnerability, the arrogance. Plus, any scene where Craig is shirtless and you can see those sculpted shoulders is pretty hot.

I hope the franchise can keep this new direction for the next few movies. Much of the plot from Fleming's You Only Live Twice was discarded by the film bearing the same title. I'd like to see that one done well. Even if the next Bond movies have entirely original plots, so long as they retain the feel of Casino Royale, I will be at the theaters on opening day.

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