Betting On Bond

Casino Royale gambles with Daniel Craig

Like Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever) and John Glen (For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy) before him, Campbell is an ideal director for Bond because he doesn't try to impose a personal style on the proceedings. (He may not even have one, but that's another matter.) After all, new casting and updated gadgetry aside, Bond remains the most unrepentantly old-fashioned of Hollywood movie franchises, in large part due to the storied unwillingness of Broccoli and Wilson to tinker with their proven formula, despite the expressed desires of Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino to try their hand at the series. But Broccoli and Wilson have dug in their heels and, following a brief fallow period in the early 1990s, time has proven them right. As of the last episode, Die Another Day, Bond was as popular and profitable as ever, and I suspect Casino Royalewill continue the trend. For what's appealing about Bond is precisely its un-hip classicism—its promise of clean, crisp excitement delivered without the interference of whiplash-inducing camera pyrotechnics, attention-deficient editing patterns, gratuitous color tinting and/or ear-splitting rock ballads. To be sure, the series has occasionally spun out into the stratosphere (quite literally in the case of 1979's Moonraker) and needed to be reset. But Casino Royaledoes that ably, and when it's all over, you can take renewed pleasure in that famous end-credits guarantee: "James Bond Will Return."

CASINO ROYALE WAS DIRECTED BY MARTIN CAMPBELL; WRITTEN BY NEAL PURVIS, ROBERT WADE AND PAUL HAGGIS, BASED ON THE NOVEL BY IAN FLEMING; PRODUCED BY MICHAEL G. WILSON AND BARBARA BROCCOLI. COUNTYWIDE.

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