I must confess I felt that the last Bond film was evidence that the franchise was in terminal decline, and after seeing it decided I probably wouldn’t bother with any future ones.
But then, through a slight connection with a charity of which Judi Dench is a patron, we had a chance to get early preview tickets for Casino Royale, and went to see it tonight. And I have to say that my faith has been restored. This is not just a significant improvement on the last couple of movies – I think it could qualify as one of the best of the bunch.
It’s rather more serious than most Bond films because they’ve cut much of the buffoonery. Fond as I am of John Cleese, for example, I always thought him a little out of place, and wasn’t sad to lose him. The acting is good and the script well above average; chiefly, perhaps, because it is remarkably close to Fleming’s original story.
As an aside, though, every time I’ve been to a film in the last few years I’ve found them almost painfully loud, with the exception of those in our local arts picturehouse. Does that just mean I’m getting old, or is the volume creeping ever upwards? I’m going to try and borrow a decibel meter from somebody next time I go. In the meantime, it’s just one more reason to watch things at home. Perhaps the cinemas think that demonstrating the power of their amplifiers is a way to emphasise their difference from home cinema. Well, it worked, but not quite in the way they wanted!