Trolling #22: Casino Royale SUCKS!
Ah James Bond. Everyone loves James Bond. Every man wants to be James Bond and every woman wants to sleep with James Bond. Also, every man wants to sleep with James Bond, and every woman wants to be James Bond. And while there is pleasure to be taken from every James Bond movie, there is some debate as to which one of the 23 is the best. Often Goldfinger tops the list, with many citing it as the first Bond flick to codify 007’s now-well-catalogued habits and widgets. I am very fond of GoldenEye, myself, as I think Pierce Brosnan is the best of the Bonds (that’s not trolling; I genuinely love him as Bond), and GoldenEye is the best of his era.
But the one Bond film that has received the most publicity in recent years, and the one that is the most adored by the most recent generation of James Bond fans is easily Martin Campbell’s 2006 film Casino Royale, the first film to feature Daniel Craig as Bond, and the film to sort-of “soft reboot” the Bond franchise (a “reboot” that is still chugging along). Casino Royale differed from the previous bond films in many important ways. It was less quippy and lightweight, featuring a new Bond who was tougher, stronger, more brutish, less likely to smile. The punches landed harder, there was more blood, and Bond had his testicles repeatedly beaten by the bad guy. This was not your father’s James Bond. No more deranged billionaires with death rays here. This new version of the Bond universe was grittier and more realistic, capturing and pleasing a new generation of Bond fans who had become fond of “dark” reboot stories and grittier violence in their escapist entertainment.
But was this a good thing? Did they actually fall in love with a good movie, or were they duped by a bad one? Indeed, when looked at in the right light, one could say that Casino Royale – while kind-of reviving the Bond franchise – ruined everything for the 50-year-old iconic British spy franchise. Not only did it ruin the franchise, but – and it’s time for Trolling to just come out and say it – Casino Royale SUCKS. Read on, and discover why the beloved new Bond is the worst Bond yet.
Casino Royale does have the best screenplay of any James Bond movie, and the dialogue crackles with wit. I also like the central card game in the movie, and Daniel Craig is most certainly the sexiest of the James Bonds. But this beloved and novel take on an age-old movie character feels, in many salient ways, like a betrayal of the James Bond traditions. I’m all for keeping a series fresh, but there’s a way to do that and maintain the series’ traditions of fun, wit, and cosmopolitan globe-trekking fantasy fulfillment. Casino Royale didn’t do that.
Until next week, let the hate mail flow.
Witney Seibold is a featured contributor on the CraveOnline Film Channel, and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. You can read his weekly articles Trolling, Free Film School and The Series Project, and follow him on “Twitter” at @WitneySeibold, where he is slowly losing his mind.