Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale: Q replaced by S (for Sony)

The new Bond picture, Casino Royale is logo pounder with cheese. Desmond Llewelyn's Q being unavailable (and John Cleese's R being too camp for the new tone), the producers move right on to S for Sony to load up 007 with tech toys. The source of product placement is not suprising, given that a division of Sony is distributing the movie.

Mickeleh's Take: I didn't see any must-haves from Sony. Best new toy is an unbranded road-side assistance program that comes with Bond's new car. It leaves On-Star in the dust.

Nothing new about product placement in the Bond series. Bond on screen has been a product pimp for a long time now. On the page, the Fleming novels were generously sprinkled with brand mentions, although Fleming, so far as I know, did it for effect, not for promotional consideration.

While the movie's tech toys disappoint, it stars the best Bond in decades. Daniel Craig projects enough ruthless steel and ice to persuade that he's earned the double-0 rank. Bond hasn't been this cold since Dr. No. Craig is also the fittest Bond we've seen since young Connery, which helps him sell both the stunts and the sex.

As for story, scraping away the barnacles of invisible cars, space-based disintegrator rays, and third-rate wise-cracks has re-energized the franchise. The core plot is right out of Fleming, accessorized with a Jackie-Chan inspired chase and enough exploding and collapsing to give the sub-woofers a proper workout.

Mickeleh's Tip: Go to Netflix and rent the 1967 travesty of Casino Royale but don't watch it. Go straight to the "extras" to see Bond's media debut in a live 1954 telecast with Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre.

(Well, if you have time to kill, the '67 version has Orson Welles as Le Chiffre along with Woody Allen, David Niven, and Peter Sellers. According to imdb, uncredited writers include Woody Allen, Ben Hecht, Joseph Heller, Terry Southern, and Billy Wilder. Should be funnier.)

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iPoetize said...

About Bond's new car (Aston Martin DBS V-12). He swerves to avoid a "Pauline" in peril, and this finely tuned synthesis of a road and racing machine, in clear, dry weather, goes completely out of control with but one yank of the steering wheel. Aston Martin says the car's specs are top secret, but refers to its "explosive power." I'd add "uncontrollable power" as the car behaves like a Camaro being driven by an unlicensed 16-year old. It launches into a Guiness-Record-setting six barrel rolls and seemingly doesn't even pop the airbag. Did Aston Martin see the script? Yikes! Does this behavior argue well for the quality of the brand?

With handling like that, they probably won't sell more than three hundred of them. (Oh, well. I hear that's all they're making.)