Went to the cinema to see James Bond with the explorers. I did put in the email that the explorers should tell their parents what they were about to see, even though it was rated 12A. Lesley spent half the film hiding behind a Christmas card, having not enjoyed the explorers previous choice of film on a hostel trip in Newcastle.
So on to the film. I think Casino Royale was Flemming’s first bond novel, so Eon productions have taken the chance to start over. The film depicts Bond as an established agent at the begining of his career as a 00. Many, but not all, of the conventions of Bond films which were beginning to weigh the franchise down have been discarded in order to start afresh, but this is still very definately an Eon film from the makers of all the others. As well as learning from their own legacy they have also brought in elements from the books previously glossed over. Yet this film is definately part of the same legacy of the others, and even learns from other makers of the spy genre.
Daniel Craigs bond for all his violence and detachment is a more human and realistic than previous bonds, while the script still keeps the film within the realms of fantasy. Whereas the Connery bond would tell jokes about his victims Craig only jokes about his own escape from death. It has also been a criticsm of previous films that if Bond was as smarmy and good looking as all that he would stand out too much to be a good spy. Daniel Craig’s facial features make him a more realistic Bond, while I’m told his physique still gives the girls something to look at.
While I thought the violence was a little too much, I did approve of the slightly less comic book approach. This bond does nothing without a struggle, no quick dispatching of the bad guys and walking away with just a crooked tie to straighten. The violence is shown to hurt, and killing is shown to be horrible, not some jolly fantasy to aspire to. The Bond girl is traumatised by James’ actions, even though they were in self defence against villains. While it made for a less pleasant film, it also made for a better and more moral one.
This interpretation of James Bond is as much rooted in the early 21st century as Brosnans was in the 90s and Connery’s was for the 60s. It dragged toward the end, but was still very good.
And we still have “Bond, James Bond” and the cumquat song.