Bond flick leaves viewer shaken,
not stirred.

The Exponent Online

Bond flick leaves viewer shaken, not stirred

By Tim O'Connor

Beyond a new lead actor, this "Bond" is different, and
that mostly isn't good.

"Casino Royale" is a prequel to the other 21 "Bond"
films. The story follows Bond (Daniel Craig) on his first
007 agent mission. His mission: beat a banker in poker.
Talk about your thrilling plot lines. Granted, the banker
is using the money to fund terrorists, but this definitely
is not one of the more exciting movies in the series.

That doesn't mean there isn't any action. Right from the
beginning, we're treated to a stylistic black and white
flashback of Bond earning his promotion. This opening
is so cool you'll wish the entire movie were filmed this
way. After that, there's a thrilling chase scene with
Bond and his target running across a construction site.
Then, for the next hour, nothing.

"Bond" movies are all about explosions, hot women and
one-liners. This movie has very little in the way of any
of those. The action is spaced too far apart to keep our
interest and the one-liners aren't especially clever or
memorable. If nothing else, we should at least be able
to rely on Bond's womanizing ways, but even here the
origin story affects the film negatively. Did anyone
really care about why Bond's always distrusted women?
Doubtful. Yet the movie still hits us with a tacky love
story that's more Fabio than Bond.

Another change for the series is its tone. "Casino
Royale" has a more somber tone than any previous
Bond flick. "Die Another Day" had a brief torture scene
at the beginning, but it was quick to return to a campy,
fun atmosphere. This time, the torture scene is longer
and more disturbing. There's an attempt at lightening
the scene with a few jokes, but they come off as stupid.
A guy getting knocked in the nuts with a rope is not
going to be a wiseass.

At least the ending is all right, and the movie truly does
go a long way to explain Bond's psyche. So those
interested in his backstory have something to look
forward to. We get to know Bond more so than any
previous film. The guy even has a few tender moments,
like when he's comforting the beautiful Vesper (Eva
Green) as she cries in the shower.

As a new agent, he's cocky but lacks the calm and suave
of the Bond we know. Does he take his drink shaken or
stirred? Well, this Bond doesn't care either way. "Casino
Royale" certainly lacks the campyness other Bond
movies have had. There are no wonky gadgets here.
Yes, it is a little bit classier. But it's just not as much fun
as previous films.

One interesting question the movie brings up is how
does Bond deal with all the killing? How can one cleanse
his soul after taking another life? Unfortunately, that
question is never really answered and the dilemma
resolves itself by removing the inspiration for our hero's
internal struggle. This is evidence that the "Bond"
franchise should let other films deal with such serious
questions, and you should just deal with another Bond