Let’s start by saying my three star rating of this film is an act of generosity on my part, considering it isn’t a bad action film, has some exciting sequences and thrilling moments. But though Bond has been synonymous with action for over forty years, the Bond movies have always been about more than that, namely… fun. This film was almost completely devoid of any fun whatsoever, leaving me with the feeling if you can’t get a little fun from a Bond film any more, what the hell kinda world are we living in?! I wasn’t as sceptical of Daniel Craig as lots of people seemed to be, knowing he is a fine actor, but his total lack of charisma, humour and charm left me hating his guts. Now people will claim “but this is the closest to Ian Flemings original version of Bond that we’ve yet seen, and that makes him a good Bond, maybe even the best.” But it’s always been a clear and obvious fact that the Bond films have never had much in common with Flemming’s novels except for the titles, yet it has still become one of the most beloved film franchises of all time; Obviously not beloved enough to stop them taking over forty years of tradition and mythology (the one liners, the gadgets, the over-the-top villains and their over-the-top deaths)and flushing it all down the friggin’ toilet! Yes, Die Another Day was a step too far in making things over the top – an invisible car being just one example – but that’s no reason to just scrap the whole franchise in terms of what it represents.
Like I said, Bond films SHOULD be about having fun, not leaving the cinema feeling horribly depressed and miserable. A James Bond who stares questioningly at himself in the mirror after killing a bad guy, in a “what am I turning into” kinda way?! Screw that! Bond should kill a guy, make a glib joke, then look for the next scumbag that needs killin’. A Bond who falls in love then cries his eyes out when she dies? Even George Lazenby took the same thing with a little subtle dignity, and they’d just got married! And please, consider this – can you imagine Roger Moore, Connery, or even Dalton, strapped to a chair naked, getting their balls smashed to pieces, screaming their head off like a lunatic? No, because that… is… NOT… FUN!!!
There was a brief glimmer of hope when Craig returns from the near death poisoning experience to the poker table and says “sorry about that, that last hand nearly killed me.” I thought, “hooray, James Bond actually made a joke! Only took him a f***ing HOUR!!!!” By the time the end credits start to roll and the Monty Norman theme finally starts to play, it almost seems like a cruel joke of some kind, so far removed is the preceding 140 minutes from what the world has come to recognise as true Bond. Yet, everyone seems to love it, people the world over lapping Casino Royale up like cream from a spy’s battered testicles. I guess fun is officially dead, along with the Bond we all grew up with. I certainly shall miss him.