Casino Royale

Well, anyone who didn't think that Daniel Craig could pull off Bond will be eating those words right about now. No, he wasn't dark-haired and constantly polished, but I thought he was excellent (even in the scenes where he wasn't dishily walking out of water in his swimming trunks). It's a grittier Bond, one who gets blood on his crisp shirts -- he's darker and fit for a "grim" present (as the NY Times article pointed out) which could have been a tricky card to play seeing as this film shows us the origins of Bond. The dark qualities and cynicism (he says that married women are simpler and when he tells Eva Green she's not his type, he clarifies that it's because she's single) are equated with a certain rough-around-the-edges quality that shows he's learning the double-0 ropes as M is furious with him in practically every scene. In Casino Royale, you will not find the suave and sleek Bond that we know so well, but rather, it's "the Bond who bleeds," a Bond who gets hurt physically and emotionally. A Bond that must have turned to a certain amount of stone after this and then becomes the debonair 007 that is never too ruffled to care if his martinis are shaken or stirred.
My big criticism is that there wasn't the same amount of bantering humor as in other Bond films (that was something Pierce did well), but the interplay between Craig and Eva Green was rather good so I let it slide. Eva Green is not supposed to be a token Bond girl (the scene where she's supposed to be breath-taking saw her in a rather horrid dress, I think) and I think she succeeds in placing herself apart from the rest. (It didn't hurt that I was somewhat inclined towards her character because her name was Vesper, a name that has been on my baby name list since I read Lloyd Alexander's Vesper Holly books as a child.)
This is not to say that I think Craig is the best Bond, but I certainly think he gave all the nay-sayers something to bite their tongues over.

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