Just saw CASINO ROYALE The new James Bond movie was a treat. Panda Bear Isha and I saw it today and found it to be a fun movie even if it seemed to have some problems in the third act of the film. Gone are the heavy reliance on pointlessly cool gadgets and back is the testosterone and grit prowess that makes James Bond THE man. (Surprisingly this same high level of testosterone seems to be in the film to attempt to target a growing female and gay market, with more beefcake than cheesecake and with Daniel Craig himself stripping the most clothes than anyone else in the whole movie!)
But yes, even with less cleavage and relatively no Q, a much more modern, realistic and powerfully compelling Bond is born in this movie. Much like how the Batman franchise was given a powerful dose of rebirth in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, Martin Campell's Casino Royale actually makes James Bond a real person who feels (or struggles to feel) and faces danger with a real understanding of its presence as danger.) Gone are the "immortal confidence" that made James Bond almost laughable in his ability to survive everything. Goodbye to the gadgets that made James Bond almost pointlessly dependent on them. Less classy quips and more smart-cockey wit. But best of all, you got a movie with a really wonderfully subdued touch to product placement.
The usual artistic animated sequence seemed to borrow heavily from Metal Gear Solid. The grungy main song was sort of out of place with the look of the intro, however, and might have been produced separate from each other.
Some negative scores though on storytelling. The way the main bad guy was ditched wasn't quite as satisfying. The sudden telenovela touch in the third act seemed forced, especially with the energy still high in the tortue scene just prior to it. The torture itself, though faithful to the book, seemed strangely comedic in its rendition to some level. The CIA seemed unnecessary and the women lacked more screen time! And my biggest beef with the movie, the whole Casino Royale title seems to become irrelevant by the third act, which seems very strange. Its like calling the first LOTR movie "Bilbo's birthday".
But yes, I would be giving my vote to Daniel Craig to be the James Bond for the new generation of fans to the franchise. His performances in Munich, Road to Perdition, Layer Cake, Infamous and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider have shown his powerful screen presence and acting proficiency. Here's to seeing the next James Bond movie, 22, making an even bigger splash!
Not to mention his upcoming movies seem very interesting as well! I, Lucifer (with Daniel Craig playing Lucifer himself) will be a movie adaptation of Glen Duncan's story about Lucifer being given a second chance. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, on the other hand is more fantastic with a parallel universe and children against an evil corporation!