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Casino Royale: Almost Perfect - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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November 27th, 2006

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02:16 am - Casino Royale: Almost Perfect
Of course, the key is in the almost, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First off, you need to buy in – this is a James Bond film, it's a very good James Bond film, but if you aren't willing to accept the violence and sexism (which is better than in earlier films, but that's also not saying very much) of the genre walk away now. If you are cool with that, then the first ¾ of the film is a gem. The people who made it know the genre perfectly and they absolutely nail it. Cinematic violence, fast, beautiful cars, exotic locations, fancy hotels, and perfect clothing, the entire fantasy that is James Bond.

Unfortunately, it doesn't last – after the torture scene (which given that James Bond is supposedly an ultimate male fantasy is both fascinating and well done), it all falls apart. The last ¼ of the film is muddy, the pacing is off, and it didn't work for me, teaotter, or Matt, and I doubt it will work for you. That said, it's an absolutely flawless gem compared to the overdone wretchednesses that were all four Pierce Brosnan films. Unlike those films, Casino Royale was over-the-top (as it should be), but not ludicrously so. It's also fascinating to see how Parkour is currently changing US action films, much as how the influence of Hong Kong actions films (especially wrt combat) changed US action films 10-15 years ago. The chase scene at the beginning is not as exquisite as David Belle's masterful movements in District B-13, but it was very well done and also in-keeping with the James Bond feel (I loved how Bond used the various devices and machinery around him to his advantage, which fits the genre perfectly).

I still think that Vin Diesel's xXx is the best modern James Bond film ever made (despite not being a James Bond film), but this comes in a close second. There are moments in the middle when it is absolutely perfect (assuming you like James Bond films) and the ending isn't terrible, but it also doesn't work. Next on my list to see are
Fearless and The Fountain.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 27th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC)
I absolutely adored GoldenEye - which is the only Bond film I feel that way about. Other than that the Brosnan movies didn't do it for me (particularly the godawful mess that was the last one).

I'm off to see Casino Royale on Tuesday, so I'll look forward to seeing how well I match up with your views.
[User Picture]
Date:November 27th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC)
I hadn't heard of Parkour before (though I'd seen Free Running before.)

Wow! It's.... yeah.
[User Picture]
Date:November 27th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC)


Nice to see I'm not the only one who noticed le parkour in the new bond flick. I was also patting myself on the back for realizing that the fella doing the parkour as the other inventor, Sebastian Foucan. Since seeing Banliou 13, I've been joking about taking up the sport and have been doing a lot of pull-ups and pushups in preparation. :) I doubt that will ever be a reality, but how cool is it that it is possible to scale the sides of buildings using nothing but barehands, strength and momentum? I so want to be able to do that. It is like being a superhero!

And I thought I was the only one that thought xXx rocked. I really enjoyed that movie. So much fun.
[User Picture]
Date:November 27th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to hear what you think of the Fountain. When we were walking out of it, I told Victoria, "you know, I think that's a radically anti-John Snead movie."

(not that the movie advocates for the extermination of John Sneads or anything, but my take on its theme is that it's totally opposed to some of the things you've talked about here.)
[User Picture]
Date:November 27th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Hmm, so is it all about how mortality and death is a good thing, it gives life meaning, and similar sorts of nonsense?
[User Picture]
Date:November 28th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
Without saying too much, uh, yeah, exactly.

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