Hey folks, Harry here with our first look at how CASINO ROYALE is coming and the review is extremely positive, thank god. Now - you should look out for spoilers - but if you're a Bond-phile, spoilers probably won't bother you much. Here ya go....
Just got back brother.... Here it is!!!!!
Hey Harry, just got back from the Soho Hotel, London, watching what I think is the first test screening of the new Bond flick "Casino Royal".
My homie called me the other day and asked if I wanted to go to see the flick. No one knew it was the latest Bond instalment. Folks were told it was to see an action film called Alkazan or something, but my friend knew someone there and found out. So if that movie title comes up in a screening anywhere folks, go watch it!
Director Martin Campbell & Barbara Broccoli were both in attendance and they made it clear that the film is a near finished work in progress, the music still temporary and the print still rough. It was an intimate screening of about forty people, and real cool too because there was full breakfast, lunch and champagne served where they grouped everyone off after the showing whilst Martin Campbell and Barbara Broccoli spent a good 25 minutes with every table taking notes and honestly taking feedback as to what to change.
It's safe to say that everyone in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the film. There was a huge round of applause after and believe me folks, this is London, you won't get a huge round of applause if you walked inside a toy shop and purchased a board-game called 'Huge Round Of Applause'. You'd probably get home and it would be a medium sized carnival of boo's.
I think the reason people cheered so hard was because of the general scepticism toward Daniel Craig and whether he is a viable 007. The audience were more than pleased, with not a single one questioning DG's Bondability upon the close of the flick.
As for myself... in short...
It honestly lives up to the trailer AICN posted up yesterday. And for everyone that doesn't want spoilers, know this- Whatever qualms you had about the reinvention of the franchise or the film being good as a whole, you will absolutely love this film as I did. I still have quibbles with the flick but as a whole it is a great new direction to the franchise and opens the door to a whole slew of possibilities. Spoilers are now coming out to play...
I'll start by saying without a doubt that this movie is fantastic, but not perfect, and some decisions the filmmakers make are not going to sit so well with nitpickers... such as myself. But still a fantastic film. Does that make sense? I'm just going to write about the things as i think 'em in no particular order...
The music wasn't completed with other soundtracks thrown in as a temporary guide. Some things work and some things don't. The first thing we gotta talk about is the theme. Someone said afterwards that it was by the band Audioslave, but everyone at my table agreed that... the song is crap. Absolutely unmemorable and just not Double-O-Evoking. Someone made a comment saying they didn't like it because it was sung by a man, but that is not the reason it didn't work at all. One of the best Bond songs is Live And Let Die, Wings anyone? This one is just not good, plain and simple. Martin Campbell really seemed to take that on board when our table told him. I personally kept my mouth shut because it's something you can see they have no intention of changing. The movie comes out in 2 months. I don't know why they didn't just call in Radiohead. I'm telling you Thom Yorke will MURDER a Bond theme, just listen to 'Harrowdown Hill' off his latest album.
One of the things that worked superbly and I told the director and producer afterwards, and dared them to use it (but they won't because Hollywood has no balls) was the 'temporary' instrumental use of the Bond theme by 'Garbage' "The World Is Not Enough". It was absolutely fantastic. It's when Bond is going to a clubhouse and he gets off a boat or something. It reminds everyone that this is a bond theme you are watching but it was used in the same stylish way Tarantino would sample a movie. I urged them to keep it in, but David Arnold's own ego would probably prevent that from happening.
The whole film feels is very retro to the point where someone asked what period it was set in. Even though the technology and cars are clearly modern, you honestly can't tell the period. It's almost like a Pulp Fiction setting. And i mention Tarantino again, because this is exactly what Tarantino once spoke of when asked if he'd do a Bond movie. He spoke of turning the franchise on it's head so to speak, with regards to period, wardrobe, villains etc. it made me WISH for a Tarantino spy flick- because that Bond theme by Garbage WOULD have been used.
Other than that the music is spot on, giving us a real sense of moment and action. I honestly couldn't tell it was incomplete. Just change the theme dammit. Villains.
The main baddy in this flick is a guy called Le Chiffre. Played to absolute perfection by Mads Mikkleson. He really comes into his own in this movie and has what is easily the most sadistic torture scene in any bond movie. BAR NONE! It involves testicles. I won't go into detail, because some things have to be left for surprise, but he brilliant begins the mayhem by stating how much he hates elaborate tortures, which instantly made me know he was going to do something different. The scene honestly leaves you guessing, until he begins, and that is where this bond proves different to any other Bond before. It doesn't pull any punches. QT couldn't have come more harder. Wait till you see it. I would swear this would make the film at least a 15 certificate, but it's 12! Brilliant.
His exchanges with Bond/Craig are excellent and there is hardly any words between them in the whole movie, it is simply just stares. Writing this makes me think that this film is going to be many peoples favourite Bond flick, for this scene alone.
Another baddy is Mollaka, played by Parkour Freerunner, Sebastien Foucan. His role is pivotal in the film, because it's the opening action sequence and sets up the mood for the whole film.
Man, this guy is amazing. It's like watching Tony Jaa with a Hollywood budget. The whole 15 or so minute scene sets the film apart from other Bond movies because in every Bond opening chase, James is always 2 steps ahead of the criminal, whether he's pursued or pursuing. But this guy? Man, he is doing such physically amazing stuff man. And at first Bond is practically mimicking his footsteps, albeit roughly, but then he does one sequence of jumps that you actual see Craig's face think... "FUCK THIS- I'm gonna think this one out". And he does. He chases him to the Ugandan Embassy (I think) and after an all out Jack Bauer assault catches Mollaka, and is promptly forced to give him back up. Then Mollaka spits at Bond... His last spit ever. For absolutely no other reason, Bond puts a vicious bullet in his heart. And man, the bullets and shots in this movie really hit you. Bond Girls.
The first girl 'Solange' i think played by Caterina Murino is beautiful and eats up the screen with her presence. The main woman in this however is a chick called Vespa Lynd, played by Eva Green, and her character is amazing. She is the reason Bond actually quits his job, and you really believe he's has fallen for her. One standout scene is where Bond breaks her whole persona down and tells her she's insecure, an orphan and cursed by her beauty... then she does the exact same to him, and at this point you know she has his number. And you know he's gonna fall for her.
BUT- their interplay is too overemphasised throughout the movie and suffers from being too long at times. They are definitely going to trim it because the film comes in at 2 and a half hours. It could easily be 2:10.
Here's a quibble and bear with me... in films, the girl is supposed to have and immaculate air to her unless she's supposed to be intentionally rough around the edges. But every time you see this woman's feet, they're pitch black. I honestly hope they fix this in post. When Vespa Lynd rolls over one time, she immediately steps out of character and becomes Eva-Dirtyfoot-Green. I'm not playing man, clean up the soles Barbara. I'm meant to fancy this woman.
Oh- let me state that there is no fancy gadget scene in this joint. No Q, no phone-car controller. But you honestly don't even realise they're missing. Martin Campbell does such a brilliant job of re-establishing the character, from the black and white beginning of the film (just like in the trailer) to the time Eva Green hands Bond his tailor made suit. Which is the turning point for the audience. AS SOON as he reluctantly puts that suit on and looks in the mirror, him and us think, sheeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiit neeegrrrro, you Double O Seven out this muthafucker!!!! (I'm black, but if I was white, the words would be unchanged!!!!)
The film runs too long at it's current length and where I absolutely know they are going to trim is the multiple scenes between Bond & Vespa. It's emotional and believable but man is it overstated. When Bond says that he loves her, I was laughing my head off, because we know what that means. Then he gives her the kiss of kisses... and I was just counting the seconds to her demise.
Okay now I'm gonna quickly run through these quips then I'll get to Daniel Craig then you may take your eyes and click outta this mess i call a review.
Okay... THEY HUMANISE BOND TOO MUCH! Although they make this Bond more 'realistic' then the rest, there are certain things that they do with him, that simply don't work, and if you read this Martin Campbell, change it please. I woulda told you but you already looked at me like I was a knowitall. I am actually, and Bond eating crunchy burnt toast does not work. It throws us out of the film and even my girlfriend said after that when she saw him put the toast in his mouth, she thought "How is he going to talk and eat?"/ Low and behold, it looks funny. I'm not saying cut it out, I'm saying trim it and just enter the shot a little later. Bond crunching is not Bond.
Another qualm is that he explains himself too much. Everytime he makes a move on the Casino table (coz this is Casino Royale, and there is a great deal of Casino in it... and Royale, which is great) Vespa complains and then he starts telling her/us what he's doing, and it really isn't Bond-like, considering at the top of the movie he is so arrogant he breaks into M's house unapolagetically and goes through her shit like Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.
Now in the words of Nachhhhhhhhhhooooooooo Liiiiiiibbbbbrrrrrrreeeeeeeee "LET'S GET DOWN TO THE NEEEEEEETY GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTY!"
He is excellent, Simply excellent. Choosing a blonde haired Bond, was a ballsy stroke of genius. Tarantino musta been consulted, because the reason James Bond actors rarely live up to the persona of Bond is not because of Bond (in the books, he didn't read that cool), it's because of Sean Connery. That's why into his 60's we still flock to the cinema to view him. His persona was bigger than 007's and that is what we tirelessly look for, someone that can live up to that persona, which WAS NOT in the books folks.
By having him blonde, I swear guys, you immediately dispell any comparisons at the gate. You simply just accept Daniel Craig as 'some dude on a mission' and you believe in this mission more and more as the film progresses. By the end of it... mission accomplished. Daniel's natural presence carries him and us through this movie and when he doesn't speak, he is as intense as Russell Crowe. I have to admit though he loses this intensity when he goes into long explanations. But IS HE BOND?
My answer is no. But he doesn't have to be, because in this movie, Bond isn't Bond yet, he just gets his 007 Stripes. He's reckless, and careless but even so, it's about his transformational process into the character he will eventually become. And Daniel Craig plays it so bad-ass, we want him to become it and we want to go there with him.
You'll see, this is strange... Everytime someone calls him Bond, I kind of believe it, but when he is referred to as James, I don't buy it. Yet I did with Sean, Pierce and Roger, I didn't with George or Timothy. But unlike those guys, i honestly don't think we're supposed to here. Martin Campbell deliberately strips everything you know of Bond away and at his command... unleashes hell. At the end of the movie you want one thing... MORE!
And that is honestly how I feel after watching this Bond... I want more. More Daniel, More Aston Martin (OH YEAH, they go there), More 'real' stunts... just less dirty fucking feet!
This film is bad and is EXACTLY what's in the trailer and more.
To conclude how bad this film is... there is one scene when James Bond is absolutely pissed off at a loss of cash, and the bartender asks him of his drink; "Shaken or Stirred sir?, and 007 replies "Do I look like I care" The audience erupted with applause, and so did I.
I'm gonna be there opening night folks, and so will you,