Just watched Casino Royale after having not seen it in years and once again was convinced that this was the best Bond film (and the best Bond) by miles. And though it would be easy to dismiss most of that genre as simply bad, I think that even if that had not been true, this is one of the best action films ever made. But as remarkable as the action scenes are (the opening parkour scene, the car tumble, the machete fight on the stairs) what really separates this film out from the other Bond films is that it is a film for grownups. (Quantum of Solace might be one too but is was such a mess by any measure that the less said about it the better).
Part of the grownup aspect is not only that this action film is actually thoughtful and has a plot that while interesting is still relatively straight forward (none of those fashionable triple trick endings) and characters that have weight.
If anything distinguishes the new Daniel Craig-Bond, it is that he is a sexual adult. Though Pierce Brosnan was not bad (and I would have to actually watch those bad films again to pass judgement on George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton – don’t remember the films well enough other than they were not worth re-watching just to write a blog post) Craig is even better and miles beyond Roger Moore and even the beloved Sean Connery.
I have liked Connery in other films but as Bond (and I think he is physically believable -the fight scene in the train with Robert Shaw in Dr. No) he is absurd as a human being. His sexuality veers between leering ala Benny King, sad double entendres and quasi-rape. He is a character conceived by someone who is horny but has never had sex and doesn’t want to betray his ignorance so he depends on cliches. He is also someone who from the very first was already as far from hip as you could get (that might actually be likely for the profession he is in). He disdains anything that smacks of modernism.
Craig plays a Bond who actually likes women, knows his way around a bed and who treats them as peers.
And apropos of nothing much I really like the fact that Bond has his balls smashed by Mads Mikkelsen not for any deep reason but that if the future has any respect for continuity in the Bond genre at all there can be no pitch for Bond and son, some horrible spin that accommodates the recent trend toward having children invade scenarios that have been doing very well without them (though I do enjoy the Shogun Assassin series so who knows).
But another no small reason that I rate this film so highly is that it ended up being the followup to watching Push, a pea brained, sad excuse to spend a million or whatever dollars, and now using up some neurons in my brain that could have been put to better use but more about that and other cinematters next time.