Paul and I watched Casino Royale last night. It just came out on DVD. (I’ve minimized spoilers in my comments below.)
The plot made more sense to me this time, although I still think some more hint about the French Algerian was needed. (Since he wasn’t ever seen, he still doesn’t feel real to me.)
I love Daniel Craig as James Bond. However, I’m most in love with the portrayal of James Bond as internally conflicted: the sharp rationality and intense emotional control versus the bloody physical brutality of his killings. Both are required of him by his job — and required simply to remain alive from moment to moment. Yet the conflict threatens his very person, i.e. his soul. That’s new for Bond — and it’s very compelling to me.
However, I think the movie goes astray starting with the hospital scene. The introduction of the emotional pull of the romance muddies that sharply-drawn physical/rational/emotional conflict. It’s not wholly unrelated, of course, but it’s still a tangent. (It’s as if the writers didn’t quite know how to use that conflict for a dramatic climax, so they opted for the more predictable romantic betrayal.) The attraction in the romance also isn’t well-justified: it’s not clear me to why Bond would choose that woman over any other lovely smart woman, let alone so completely and unreservedly. (While the scene in the train shows her to be his equal, that’s not enough for love.)
All in all though, I liked the movie even more than I did in the theater. And I’m excited about the new direction for the franchise.