OK, the remake of Casino Royale is not as cool as dancing penguins. Still, the flick is on the road to being the highest grossing Bond ever, thanks to serious overseas BO. Director Martin Campbell has taken the slam-bam action of films like The Bourne Supremacy and Mission Impossible III and melded it with the cell phone intrigue that played such a big role in The Departed. Daniel Craig makes a serviceable Bond, supposedly “more human.”* Writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis have come up with clever dialogue that allows Eva Green (as “Vesper Lynd”) to be just as cool as James. Like all thrillers these days, there are about ten double-crosses in the last ten minutes, so many that I stopped counting, but nothing’s perfect.
So why not do the whole series over again? Casino Royale is getting a lot of praise for being more gritty, less glitzy, like the book. So remake all the Bond flicks according to the book! And when they do Dr. No, pay particular attention to this episode, when Jim is whipped into shape by his Jamaican island buddy/cook/trainer/masseuse, Quarrel. Under Quarrel’s conscientious eye, Jim’s routine is as follows:
“Up at seven, swim a quarter of a mile, breakfast, an hour’s sunbathing, run a mile, swim again, lunch, sleep, sunbathe, swim a mile, hot bath and massage, dinner and asleep by nine.”
It does sound cozy, doesn’t it? All that sunbathing and massaging? Maybe a little too cozy. A black man and white man together in a “bungalow,” just the two of them? Where are we, anyway? Brokeback Beach? Where is Leslie Fiedler when we need him?**
Out of respect for the refined sensibilities of BLAD readers, I will not offer rankings of my favorite Bond film/villain/girl/gadget/car/line.
* This is the studio’s line. I don’t know why the critics are buying it, unless they’re hoping for a set of autographed cufflinks.
** In “Come back to the raft, Huck, honey,” cited by Pauline Kael in her brilliantly snarky review of Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie, Fiedler explored classic American odd couples such as Ishmael and Queeg-Queeg and Huck and Jim.