Casino Royale, Still My Favourite

Casino Royale title design 
I finally went to see Spectre yesterday. I went by myself, my favourite way of watching a film at the cinema. Top that off with the fact that I am a James Bond movie fan and that the theater was almost empty. So I was bound to enjoy the experience, no matter what. And I did. But that doesn’t make Spectre better than Skyfall, and it certainly does not make it even come close to Casino Royale.

The opening scene, a beautiful tracking shot following 007 in Mexico City, through a street parade, into a hotel, three floors up, into a hotel room, then out the window – at which point he leaves his masked costume behind and shows up in his signature, superbly worn, fitted suit, gun in hand – and on the rooftops, was so promising that it got me all geared up, forgetting to remind myself not to expect too much. Daniel Craig is his usual sharp, cold and complex James Bond, even more mature and anchored in reality, the locations just as escapism-worthy as you would expect, especially Rome – the golden hues show the city in the most beautiful light, which didn’t help my having a soft spot for Rome. There is also Q, a great comic role given by Ben Whishaw. And a story that, although rather thin, is still entertaining – it’s a Bond film after all. Only if the plot was a little less predictable, if Christoph Waltz didn’t have an underwritten character, playing the Bond movie villain we are much too used to, if Léa Seydoux had a better chemistry with Craig. The ifs and cliches that didn’t exist in Casino Royale – it remains my all-time favourite movie from the franchise. Take the fantastic title design and opening credits alone. That, and all the other reasons I already stated here.

title sequence credit: Daniel Kleinman

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