So, one the gifts I got for Christmas was a gift card to Borders. Now, as regular readers of the blatherings know I have purchased an ebook reader in 2009 and so I have transitioned to e-books for my pleasure reading.
Sunday I was at Borders with my sweetie-wife and I used the gift card to upgrade my DVD of Casino Royale to a blu-ray collectors edition of Casino Royale. I got a much better picture and sound quality and additional bonus feature. Which is like crack to me.
I really liked this reboot of the James Bond Franchise. Frankly the Bond films had slipped into fantasy and as such were not very satisfying. Now, don’t get me wrong, Bond in the books is not about realism. Bond is a larger than life character. He’s a tough man who can win any fight and knows what to do to survive and to win. As a character he is interesting because of what he went through in the story Casino Royale. These are the events that armored Bond, that until the story of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service rendered him cold to women. If you want gritty complex spy novels with a heavy dose of realism you should read the works of John Le Carre. There’s nothing wrong about either approach. James Bond is what we would like to have out there on our side and John Le Carre’s characters are what we fear are out there on our side.
This film is actually a fairly good adaptation of the novel. Now, the front half of the movie is all made up for the film. However once Bonds reaches Casino Royale the story is very much the same story that Ian Flemming conceived back in the early fifties. Bond must play card to force a bad guy — in the original a soviet agent, in the film a terrorist financier — into losing all his funds and opening him up to being turned by Bond’s people. Bond has a number of allies, but in the end discovers that there really is no one he can trust. The book’s final words are ‘The bitch is dead.” That is when Bond becomes the man he is for the rest of the series.
The chase, the crash, the capture, the torture, the betrayal, and the suicide are elements from Flemming’s original story. I know I have friends who do not like this film the way I do, but I was very happy with it and very pleased to pick it up on Blu-ray.