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Monday, December 11, 2006

The Name Is Not Enough

Over the past few weeks, the Star Movies channel had been airing James Bond movies. It started with the earliest ones starring Sean Connery, moving on to those starring George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and, finally, Pierce Brosnan as the fictional super-spy. The latest one, in which Daniel Craig has played the role of Bond, is still running in theatres and, obviously, can not be expected to appear on television until much later.

I was able to watch most of these, apart from a few that I missed on account of power cuts at my place or that of the local cable television service operator's.

On thursday, my brother and I watched the latest Bond flick i.e. Casino Royale, as well, at a local theatre.

Out of all these movies, three i.e. the two that had Timothy Dalton as Bond and the latest one that has Daniel Craig as the leading man, stand out in particular, in my opinion. While watching the two starring Dalton i.e. The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, I was rankled slightly by the fact that Dalton's personality was not quite impressive enough, somehow, to live up to the legacy left behind by Connery and Moore, in what otherwise were rather well-made Bond movies.

Casino Royale is one I would have enjoyed watching quite a bit, had it not been a part of the James Bond marquee. Not only does Daniel Craig not appear 'suave' enough to play Bond, but he also does not seem to have the 'finesse' (that I would expect from James Bond) to carry off some of the wittier lines that the dialogue writers have given him (and it is not that he has been given too many such lines, in any case). He has plenty of 'beef-cake' in the form of muscle, but appears to be too 'working class' to play Bond. I suppose he would have to have a lot more of 'charm', to successfully essay the role. I do wish that Pierce Brosnan had been retained as 007.

Also, Bond is sloppily dressed in many parts of the movie, as compared to all the earlier ones, and especially so in the opening sequence.

Two of the major reasons for which I like to watch Bond movies, are the cars that the secret agent gets to drive and the gadgets that he gets to use in these films. This movie disappointed me partially on the first count and almost completely on the second. Bond does get to drive the Aston Martin DB5 and the new DBS (which reportedly has a 6 litre, V12 engine) in the movie, but not only are these cars not a part of any exciting chase sequences, these also do not have any interesting inbuilt gadgets except something as unexciting as a defibrillator in the glove box of the DBS. Apart from that, there is almost nothing in the movie in the name of gadgets, in addition to something as drab as a microchip implant transmitter that is injected into Bond's arm and transmits Bond's location as well as information related to Bond's medical condition to MI6 headquarters.

In fact, Bond should not have been driving the DBS at all, had this movie been produced as a prequel to all other Bond movies, considering that it is based on the first novel that Ian Fleming wrote in the series. However, this film seeks to establish a new timeline and narrative framework. That is also the reason for which Bond uses the Walther P99 as his personal weapon in the motion picture, instead of the Beretta 418 that he was supposed to use, as per the novel (Bond continued to use the Beretta, until it was replaced with the Walther PPK in 'Dr. No'). Producing a prequel would also have meant dispensing with Dame Judi Dench as 'M' and hiring a male actor for the job. These, however, are just interesting asides and I can not say whether I would have liked the movie any more than I do now, had it been produced as a prequel with the cast, crew, director and script-writer remaining the same.

One does tend to have a lot of expectations from a James Bond film.

The only aspect of the movie that does not disappoint, is the selection of the Bond-girls and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd and Caterina Murino as Solange are as gorgeous as they come!


Sidhusaaheb said...

Have to see this. But where are you?
shirazi | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 10:14 am | #


Still have to see this movie. When the movie came out BBC gave some glowing reports. Thanks for restoring a balance. I have to check the movie out.
Mridula | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 11:34 am | #


hey, i was also planning to do a Casino Royale post but I will scratch that now, i think.
I agree with you on Eva Green.
sabizak | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 11:37 am | #


@Shirazi Sa’ab: I’ve just slipped into ‘lazy mode’ once again, I guess!

@Mridula: Looking forward to hearing from you once you’ve had a chance to watch the movie…The BBC just got too impressed by the Bond-girls perhaps… :D

@Sabizak: Eva Green looks absolutely smashing!
I’d say do that post, by all means. The more the merrier!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 4:16 pm | #


Oh I havent seen the movie yet but somehow after Pierce Brosnan … this guy does not looks like a true Bond … Let’s see … so u say its OK apart from eva who’s more than Ok :p
Asma | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 8:21 pm | #


I can kinda agree with you that this Bond wasn’t as suave as the rest, but I think that was kind of the point … He’s supposed to be just starting out as 007, and by the end of the movie, he had me convinced that he will be more smooth as the franchise continues and he plays Bond at least five more times .. and Eva Green is just a fox!
Keith Demko | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 8:51 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

@Asma: It’s ok, but not as a Bond movie and Craig fails to match up to the legacy of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. As for Eva, she’s the quintessential Bond-girl.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 8:57 pm | #


@Keith: I suspect Bond became 007 because he was suave, rather than the other way round.

Also, Ian Fleming envisaged Bond looking like: Ima…7impression.jpg

I think Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and, to a certain extent, even George Lazenby were closer to this image, while playing Bond, than Daniel Craig.

And, what more can I say about Eva Green…
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.11.06 – 9:25 pm | #


Sir, good to read your review on the latest flick. However, I particularly liked this Bond over the others.

One, I have watched Craig’s other movies as well, so I had a benchmark to compare to. The guy may not be as suave as Brosnan, but he is definitely rugged, and does justice to this particular movie (if you saw the original Casino Royale). Also, we see a more “human” side of the Bond, as is the norm these days. (Take Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Xmen, and quite a few new age comic books).

So, in that sense, I think this was the best bond movie till date. True, the gadgetry was not up to the usual Bond standards, and the ending could have been slightly better, but I think it really didn’t matter.

Oh, and Eva Green. If you really want to see the “glory”, rent a movie called “The Dreamers”. Enough said
shubir | 12.12.06 – 7:19 am | #


Welcome back Sa’ar!

I quote myself:

“Casino Royale is one (movie) I would have enjoyed watching quite a bit, had it not been a part of the James Bond marquee.”

They could have called the main character something else…John Band, James Baker, Ronald Ross, whatever…and I would have only good things to say about the movie.

Let me see it I can get my hands on a CD/DVD of ‘The Dreamers’. Schlurrp! :D
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.12.06 – 10:57 am | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

Come out of this mode…
shirazi | Homepage | 12.12.06 – 11:51 am | #


Hi. First time visitor (to your blog) and long time reviewer of your comments on other blogs. Bugger me for waiting this long to check out your blog. A pleasure perusing your blog posts.

As for Bond, i’ve realized over the years that the persona of bond is based everyone’s own subjective opinion. Doesn’t really matter what the Ian Fleming books say.

I saw Casino Royale. I didn’t think it was bad but I can understand your opinion about D. Craig and the reasons why he doesn’t fit the Bond ‘type’ but I think the producers picked him for precisely the same reason – to turn the franchise on its head and start anew. It seems the ploy worked as the critics and majority of the audience praised the Craig and the movie to the skies.

I think you’re spot on about the bond girls, whole-heartedly agree there.
Olive Ream | Homepage | 12.12.06 – 4:20 pm | #


Here’s extending a warm welcome!

Since the first Bond film was made, those who don’t fit the Bond type have typically lasted for only one or two movies. Let’s see how Craig fares.

In any case, my preferences are clear.

Hope they continue to select Bond girls as well as they’ve always done!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.12.06 – 5:07 pm | #


Sean is all times favorite. He is a class apart actor and everyone knows he has done loads of (successful) movies even after retiring as Bond… Steven Spielberg said, “There are seven genuine movie stars in the world today, and Sean is one of them”.

# 2 is Pierce Brosnan… I used to watch his series “Remington Steele” in which he was an Private Detective… and he did a lots of movies before he was singed up as Bond… Too bad he decide to quit being typecasted in one role… I have heard that he gave up the Bond role to do theater… His latest movie “Seraphim Falls” (on American Civil War) will be released in Jan 2007. “Butterfly On A Wheel” and “Marriage” are two other movies that he did that are due for release in 2007…
Sifar | Homepage | 12.14.06 – 1:28 pm | #


Yup! I’ve also liked some of Connery’s post-Bond performances, which have indeed been brilliant.

I guess Brosnan was good for another 2-3 Bond movies. Too bad he decided to quit! I hear he was supposed to act as Bond even earlier, but couldn’t, on account of his contract with the makers of Remington Steele. Good series, I suppose…though I haven’t had the opportunity to see any of it yet…Should be good to catch the new movies of his…

I agree with your rating of Connery as Bond number one and Brosnan as number two. I would place Roger Moore at number three.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.14.06 – 2:20 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

There you go. I left the 3rd spot for you to decide… Thank you for choosing Moore…. hahaha…
Sifar | Homepage | 12.14.06 – 10:12 pm | #


Pierce Brosnan is my favourite Bond. Have’nt seen Casino Royale cause I feel that Daniel Craig looks more like a russian/german agent than the ultra suave 007 !
Cyberkitty | Homepage | 12.16.06 – 3:03 pm | #


I agree that with the kind of facial features that he has, Craig could easily pass off as a Russian.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.16.06 – 8:08 pm | #


haa I loved Brosnan’s Remington steele tooo … though I was just 12 or 13 when it was being re-telecasted on star and no updations for long?
Asma | Homepage | 12.16.06 – 10:18 pm | #


I guess I’ll have to catch Remington Steele somehow, now that the show comes so highly recommended!

I am one of the laziest specimens around, perhaps…Shall try to post something soon…
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 12.17.06 – 9:26 am | #


I was saddened by the replacement of the pistol!



Ra | Homepage | 01.04.07 – 7:47 pm | #