My name is Ja...ooppsss, I mean Sony. Sony Bond.
Like The Island, Casino Royale (which opens in the UK and Malaysia yesterday) is yet another hard-sell product placement orgy, with the film company's products, Sony, of course. Besides Sony MP3 Walkmans, mobile phones and laptops, you can find commercial orgies of Omega, Heineken, LV (uncredited, me thinks) etc.
Warning: Plot spoilers ahead. And this is going to be a negative review. Please do not read further if you are offended.
As usual, here's the movie's poster:
Ammended: No, it's not a remake. It's the first ever serious adaption of Ian Fleming's first ever Bond novel of the same name. Thanks to film guru, Swifty, for the pointer.
The movie's synopsis from IMDB:
Casino Royale introduces James Bond before he holds his license to kill. But Bond is no less dangerous, and with two professional assassinations in quick succession, he is elevated to '00' status. Bond's first 007 mission takes him to Madagascar where he is to spy on a terrorist, Mollaka. Not everything goes to plan and Bond decides to investigate, independently of MI6, in order to track down the rest of the terrorist cell. Following a lead to the Bahamas, he encounters Dimitrios and his girlfriend, Solange. He learns that Dimitrios is involved with Le Chiffre, banker to the world's terrorist organizations. Secret Service intelligence reveals that Le Chiffre is planning to raise money in a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro at Le Casino Royale. MI6 assigns 007 to play against him, knowing that if Le Chiffre loses, it will destroy his organization. 'M' places Bond under the watchful eye of the beguiling Vesper Lynd. At first skeptical of what value Vesper can provide, Bond's interest in her deepens as they brave danger together and even torture at the hands of Le Chiffre. In Montenegro, Bond allies himself with Mathis MI6's local field agent, and Felix Leiter who is representing the interests of the CIA. The marathon game proceeds with dirty tricks and violence, raising the stakes beyond blood money and reaching a terrifying climax.
And the trailer:
Rotten Tomatoes gave an almost perfect consensus 94% rating and here's a consensus review they gave:
Casino Royale disposes of the silliness and overplayed gadgets that plagued recent James Bond outings, while Daniel Craig delivers what fans and critics have been waiting for: a caustic, haunted, intense reinvention of Bond.
Yes, in this flat world, gadgets in films which make you awe are things of past, aren't they? Want to know location? You have Google Earth, GPRS, M Chips (not to be confused with the now-dead Mahathir Chip). Want to search info? You have Google Search (which was actually used in the film), Wikipedia et al. So what's left for the film besides the obligatory fancy cars, boats, beaches, bikinis and.....girls?
Have a blue-eyed (and a minor S&M) orgy of course!
So, in 4 words, I would describe the film as:
Blue-eyed, Bullet-proof, Bond. Boring.
In this review, I would rather not talk about the controversy surrounding the selection of Daniel Craig as the new Bond and his performance (which you could read from Wikipedia) , but would rather focus on its storyline, without comparing with its original, of course. Apart from running kinda funnily, Daniel gave an overall very impressive and convincing 'Bond' performance, with the classical egoism and (lesser) male chauvinism. The girls, Eva Green and Caterina Murino are fine, except one of them was killed off too prematurely.
Bond and his fine girls. Do they have chemistry? Watch the film to find it out yourself.
Here's some more extra Bond girls dosage for the hot-blooded male in you (also for female Brokeback practioners also):
Eva Green. Blue-eyed. Better than Halle Berry.
Caterina Murino. Not another blue-eyed again!
The film started off by giving us a premature orgasm, with an action-packed chase in Uganda, which finally ended up with Bond blowing up a foreign embassy, sans cartoon controversy, of course.
A surprisingly very acrobatic (even no match for Bond) 'terrorist'.
So, everything pertaining to espionage and intelligence nowadays are to prevent terrorism bombing up buildings and stuff, innit?
It then followed by some typical Bond scenes-the car, the boats/yatches, the beach, posh hotels and......yeah, just admit it, you've been expecting the sex scenes, don't you? Well, here's something for the ladies...
Bond's pecs and speedos...
The obligatory bed sex scene...no breast fon....erhm, shall we get back to the rest of the review?
Bond: "Hun, do you think the logo 'Sony' should be tattooed over my chest?"
Well, as the name of the film suggest, there must be some gambling involved, of course, which is kinda boring. I'd rather stick to Chow Sing-Chi's and Chow Yun-Fatt's gambling series. Oh, nothing very 'Royale' about the casino either. The whole building wasn't too grand either.
Spot the two token Asians-without-dialogue in there.
Nevertheless, the casino scenes make you wonder how money is lost and gained in thin air within a few minutes, which reminds you of how our tax-payers money was spent on a one-off stone-playing space mission, innit?
Dame Judi Dench is as elegant as ever, with the same ol' same ol' furious everytime when Bond's f**k things up.
Bond, no gadgets for you in 2006. Try Google. Or stick to your Sonys.
Well, what is left to review about? Yeah...the obligatory torture of Bond, of course, which is kinda S&M-ish (good news for you ladies and male Brokeback practioners again).
Overall, I would rate the film as 4/10. You want gadgets, action, girls (and shower sex), S&M torture, exotic locations, stick to M:I:3. Or The Italian Job. Or The Bourne Identity. Nevertheless, go watch the film if you want some pop-corn fun, now that Borat is not showing in Malaysia after all.
More from Wikipedia, IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.
Oh, don't bother buying/downloading the OST, since the theme song, "You Know My Name" is not even in it!
Footnote: Was that Richard Branson at the security gates, if you know what I mean. ;-)