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Friday, November 17, 2006


The debut of James Bond, first edition, 1953.

I arrived early at the barbecue joint today so I could eat my lunch and watch PASSIONS in peace before we open at 3PM, and while stuffing my face with an excellent eggplant parmesean sandwich I happened upon a PBS rerun of last night's Charlie Rose show. Rose was interviewing Daniel Craig, the latest actor to take on the James Bond mantle - he's the sixth one on the big screen, for those who are counting - so I decided to listen to what the 007 newbie had to say. After five minutes and a couple of clips, I was utterly sold.

Let's get one thing straight: I love me some James Bond, namely the Fleming novels, and about half of the movies, so I have anticipated the new CASINO ROYALE with great interest and trepidation. The current film is attempting a reboot of the franchise, minus the baggage of forty-four years of cinematic history, and presenting what is essentially the origin of James Bond and how he earned his double-o classification. What interests me most about all of this is that the filmmakers are doing an adaptation of the first Bond novel, and from all accounts it's going to be a pretty straight, violent, and bloody affair, returning the character to his dark and violent roots as basically a government-sanctioned assassin rather than the super-hero he has become over the years. The Bond of the books is a complex creation, a man of deep psychological issues and sometimes creepy, edgy behavior, in short, a mess. A mess with a gun and a sadistic streak. That's a character I find very intriguing, especially as the hero of a series, and I'm dying to see if that interpretation makes it to the big screen.

I was intending to see CASINO ROYALE during its first matinee showing this morning, but I had a lot on my mind and didn't want to see it in a distracted state, so I'll wait until Monday and see it with a friend who's in town from the UK. After that, I'll be back with an in-depth review.

The current paperback edition. Gotta love that retro/pulp design!


Anonymous said...

I'm skeptical only because this is the third time over the years that I've heard the movie makers claim to make Bond "more like he was in the books". It, of course, just turns out to be hype because the movies are always all about the stunts and, yawn, "action".

John Bligh said...

I just saw it and I think it was the best Bond ever. Well worth $10. See it and decide.

Walter said...

Saw it last night, and I still am not sure what I think of it. I am a longtime and knowledgeable Bond fan but cant get my head around it. It IS close to the book, or certainly closer than they've been in ages and very violent. I actually thought the torture scene was borderline "R" instead of PG-13. Craig is a real departure, but I think a welcome one. More intense, realistic, romantic, existential, gritty etc., but something is holding me back. Some of the action sequences werent' handled skillfully, while others were. The pacing is often disjointed. Eva Green, who is a beautiful woman was done a disservice by the makeup and costume people. Actually made her look unattractive. The villain comes alive only in the torture sequence. I could go on about what is good and bad, but don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it yet. Probably need to see it again, as it was - to a serious Bond fan - a lot to process.

Phil Brucato said...

I'm seeing it tonight, and have heard nothing but good stuff about the film. The trailers and excerpts I've seen thus far make it look 1000% better than any Bond film since the Connery days. Gods help me, I'm actually kinda excited about this one. Curious to see what you think of it.

PS: Hey, Steve - it's Phil. I just suggested you to a friend of mine in New York who's hosting a convention next year. I referred him to you, he referred me to your blog. Long time, no chat. :)