Cartoon Bond loses his

Cartoon Bond loses his humanity
By Kevin Cowherd
November 26, 2006

Cartoon Bond loses his humanity

As everyone knows, watching a James Bond movie
requires what the poet called "a willing suspension of

Agent 007 eludes dozens of bad guys in an Aston Martin
outfitted with ejector seats, machine guns and
smoke-screen capabilities? Sure, that could happen.

The evil villain launches a mysterious rocket that
gobbles manned space launches from Earth, sowing
suspicion among the world's superpowers and hurtling
them to the brink of war? OK, I can see that, too.

Bond and the requisite hot-looking babe escape from an
exploding island fortress and, with radioactive matter
raining down on them, immediately make love in a
rubber raft in the middle of the ocean? Well, OK. Maybe
that's not the usual response to a terrifying
thermonuclear incident. But, hey, those two kids were
crazy about each other.

In any event, if you thought all the other Bond movies
required reality to be put on hold, wait until you see the
new one, Casino Royale. This one stars Daniel Craig as
the new Bond, a blond-haired, blue-eyed dude who
looks like he should be skiing the giant slalom for
Sweden in the next Winter Olympics.

That's bad enough, if you're a traditional 007 fan like
me. What's worse is that the producers have done the
unthinkable: they've turned James Bond into a virtual
Superman. All he's missing is the blue and red costume
with the big S on the chest.

Casino Royale really is not a bad movie. It's got all the
usual Bond touches: creepy arch-villains (this one
weeps blood), breathtaking locales, fast cars, beautiful
women and a few cool gadgets. But turning 007 into a
secret agent with almost super-human physical powers
really diminishes the film - at least for me.

I hope I'm not spoiling anything here. But in the
opening chase scene alone, Bond survives about three
dozen brushes with death. He jumps 20 metres from a
crane onto a metal platform. He jumps 25 metres off the
platform onto a moving pallet. He gets shot at, burned,
kicked, scalded, karate-chopped in the thorax, whacked
over the head with a pipe. Then he gets away while
surrounded by 200 ticked-off soldiers pointing
automatic weapons at him. (I won't tell you how he
gets away. But it's not the old
ballpoint-pen-turns-into-a-hand-grenade thing again.)

It's all too much. And that's just the first few minutes.
By the end of the movie, Bond has been beaten, shot,
whipped, poisoned, nearly run over by a tanker-truck,
thrown from a speeding car and almost drowned. You
talk about having a bad day.

Did I mention he was tortured, too? I should probably
mention that. And tortured in a very, um, unique way. It
makes the famous dentist scene in Marathon Man look
like they were baking cookies.

But the point is, it's so over-the-top, this physical
abuse, that it becomes cartoonish. Even for a Bond
movie. Bond able to withstand the kind of punishment
no human being - not even a bionic man - could

No, give me the old days, where all Bond had to sweat
was the occasional tarantula dropped on his pillow, or a
powerful laser inching towards his groin, or a nutty
SPECTRE agent who looked like your grandmother with
a stiletto hidden in her boot.

He never took the kind of beating they give him in
Casino Royale. Heck, back then Bond would wipe out 20
vicious martial-arts-trained hitmen and barely get a
scratch on his face. Not a lick of hair was out of place,
either. I liked him a lot better back then.

- Baltimore Sun