Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Casino Royale


Like Dennis Cozzalio, who discusses it in his post James Bond 007: Version 6.0, I've been waiting with some interest for the word on Casino Royale. I love the early Bond movies, and adapting the novel Casino Royale, the first of Ian Fleming's novels, presents a great opportunity to tell a back-to-basics kind of Bond story, eliminating the '90s action movie stylings of recent effort.

For whatever it's worth, I've traditionally said On Her Majesty's Secret Service was the best screenplay ever made into a James Bond movie, if only it had Sean Connery in the lead...

Well, having watched it again recently, I amend that. I now think On Her Majesty's Secret Service is unreservedly the best James Bond movie.

That's where I'm coming from.

Like many others, I watched Layer Cake when I heard Daniel Craig was the new Bond. I was duly unimpressed. He didn't have anything like the presence and the movie was... well, I remember being vaguely disappointed, but don't actually remember anything specific. I do remember that I picked it up at the video store two weeks later and thought, "I'm supposed to rent this, aren't I? Oh! That's right. I did. What was it about again?"

Anyway, I was reading the Seattle Weekly review and finding it quite encouraging. Then it comes to this, "there's the bullet-gray Aston Martin, the high-stakes card game (in this case, Texas Hold 'Em, to appeal to the dorm-room audience)..."

Stop right there!

Texas Hold 'Em?!

Ok, now, I get that most people don't know the rules of Baccarat. Ian Fleming knew that as well and dedicates a fair number of words to explain in the novel. I can see the filmmakers wanting to avoid that pitfall, but the logical alternative was Blackjack, which has a very similar play style and is believable for Bond and Le Chiffre to play.

But Texas fuckin' Hold 'Em?!

This pretty much erases all the points it got for including the genital torture from the book... and a few extra.

After this, I'd better start hearing some more absolutely glowing reviews if they want my $10, I'll tell you that.

Texas Hold 'Em! Feh!

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