Bond, The New Bond

I took my wife to see Casino Royal, the newest edition in the James Bond franchise. We found this theater that is kind of buried behind a layer of retail standards. It was once a really nice theater and now it is past its prime. That means, in the case, that the price was reasonable, attendance slight, the theater was nice and clean and it had the best popcorn I’ve had at a theater in a long time. But what of Bond? Well, James Bond has been reimagined, contemporized. For me, the last James Bond was Sean Connery but the new Bond, Daniel Craig is very good also. All he lacks is that touch of humor that Connery was so good at.

What is so markedly different in this outing is that Bond is more human. Sure, he does some impossible stunts but that is no more than any other action movie out today. What was lacking in this Bond was the bigger than life. No Goldfinger, no Dr. No, the villain in this movie is fairly normal. He is evil, but believable. He even comments, “I never understood why some people use elaborate torture techniques.” I thought it was an obvious comment on past Bond villains. Also, James falls in love. He exposes himself and throws Queen and Country aside for the love of a woman. Temporarily, but we knew that going in didn’t we?

In this Bond adventure, we’ve departed from the Bond we knew and instead we got Jason Bourne. Notice that even their initials are the same. The same superspy, the same reformed killer. Essentially, the same basic film. The violence was strong and pervasive, the woman was strong and worth leaving it all for, the danger lingered. We went to see James Bond and instead saw Jason Bourne. Or Ethan Hunt in MI:III I suppose. They all seem to be the same man. As a matter of fact, Bond and Hunt both require a defribulator to revive them, both operated by the love interest. Go figure.

Have Hollywood action movies all melted down into one archetype? I’m not sure, but there does seem to be some repeat business. Maybe it would have been nice to have Bond the way we knew him. Up against a maniacal, larger than life type. There were gadgets but not the over the top gadgets of past Bond films. Maybe it would have been nice to have those back too, huh? Overall, not a bad film, just not a Bond film.

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