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!