Photo: Casino Royale (2006)
Bond, James Bond
When I was younger, I admit I was never much of a James Bond fan. I always thought the movies were over hyped, and didn’t understand why people found them interesting. It started when I watched one of the earlier ones with Sean Connery. I could only watch halfway through it, before I switched it off as I found it a tad dull. One minute he was in one country, you blink and he would be somewhere else. I always waited for something to happen, but nothing rarely did. I guess for that time, the movies were pretty amazing, but I could never get into them. That was until 2006 when I went to the cinema with my gran to see Casino Royale. At first I was wary as I remembered my earlier experiences with one of Connery’s films, but from the moment it started, I could tell it was going to be much different. From the opening credits, to the action, and the heartache, at the end I came out and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
A few days after that, I re-watched all the older movies from Connery all the way through to Brosnan and found myself enjoying the movies that much more than what I did when I was eleven. I also read as many Bond novels that I could over the holidays. I guess I had a better understanding at the age of sixteen of the themes in each of the movies. I thoroughly enjoyed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and all of the Brosnan ones with the exception of Die Another Day. I now only watch the Judi scenes in that movie, but overall my perception of the Bond franchise changed. Desmond Llewelyn will always be my favourite Q. The interactions between him and Bond were simply amazing. I also loved Bernard Lee’s portrayal as M, but I love Judi’s portrayal that bit more. I guess it was nice to see a woman take charge for a change, rather than it being a man’s world.
I would never have became a fan of James Bond, if it hadn’t been for my gran dragging me to see Casino Royale. I guess it’s why it has become my ultimate favourite Bond movie with Skyfall coming second, simply due to the way it was executed and the fact that the script was amazing.
Casino Royale also allowed Judi’s M more screen time, something which we didn’t get to see much of in the Brosnan movies, but was implemented more in Quantum Of Solace and especially in Skyfall. Similarly the movie shows us another side to Bond, something which the previous movies I feel robbed us of. This may be in part due to Craig’s portrayal of the character, which I feel is much like the Bond we see in Fleming’s novels.
The action itself is fast paced, which makes the movie that more interesting to that of its predecessors. But what I think makes the movie is the fact that they decided to keep Judi on as M. The audience seemed to be familiar with her character having played M in the previous four Brosnan movies. So, I think it was a wise decision to keep Judi on as M when rebooting the franchise in order to attract older fans as well as new ones such as myself.
Also the fact that they gave Judi a whole new wardrobe for Casino Royale was a bonus, especially the outfit we see her wear in the Bahamas when she goes to debrief Bond. The casting of the other characters such as Vesper Lynd played by Eva Green and Felix Leiter played by Jeffrey White was also interesting to watch.
Overall I think the script and the cast in Casino Royale helped rejuvenate the Bond franchise for both old and new fans alike.