Male Bonding: The New Casino Royale

I resisted watching the new Bond movie Casino Royale for a very long time, because I felt that the whole Bond enterprise was a stupid exercise. I was greatly disappointed when I saw my first Bond movie and subsequent Bond flicks did nothing to change that impression. The whole concept seemed to be a silly male fantasy - exotic locations, fancy cars, sexy girls, and simply awesome gadgets. The stories are generally terrible and have no sensible thread and the action scenes are rather pathetic. I always thought that Sean Connery did a much better job playing roles other than Bond. However, meta-analysis suggested than when most reviews called Casino Royale the best Bond movie ever, I had to at least give the new Bond a chance. Also, my iron resolve was considerably weakened by the powers of female persuasion.

I was not only impressed, but also entranced by Casino Royale. Casting a blonde Bond (Daniel Craig) was not the only rule that was rewritten. Compared to the old Bond who seemed more at ease sipping his martinis in a black tuxedos and seducing women, this Bond preferred real action - gleefully smashing and blowing up all kinds of objects: glass, humans, cars, heavy machinery, buildings, and whatever else. For more than half of the time, Craig is simply running, running with the frenetic energy of man being chased by hellhounds, or a person who has had too much of Red Bull. In terms of muscle and energy compared to his previous avataars, Craig stands alone; it is hard to imagine Connery, Moore, or Brosnan being able to look credible in the Le Chiffre testicle torture scene. The blonde bombshells of yore with nothing going on upstairs have been suitably replaced with the independent and incredibly sassy - Vesper Lynn (Eva Green). A girl who is capable of telling Bond, 'Back off!'.

James Bond is a remarkably adaptive beast. I was wrong. Male fantasies have not changed, only slightly modified. The basic ingredients are still the same, only packaged and served to appeal to modern tastes, like my metrosexual-macho self. Replace guns with knuckles. Keep the fancy cars and gadgets. Replace Ursula Andress arising like Venus from the sea with a chick who knows how to connect a defribrillator. Keep her looking sexy in backless cocktail dresses. Despite knowing that Casino Royale is another in the series of great packaging cons by the Bond franchise I was converted. The story was silly as usual, but does it matter?

Historical footnote(shamlessly stolen from Nature):
1953 was an excellent year, especially for the bond — the structure of DNA was discovered, the Miller–Urey experiment was carried out, and the death of Stalin. And of course with Casino Royale the other Bond, James Bond, first stepped off the page in 1953.

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