You can tell right from the start that Casino Royale is cut from a different mold than the previous twenty James Bond films. For one, the pre-credits sequence features a brutal, drawn-out fight scene that is very atypical for the film series, which usually prefers its violence more stylized and sanitized. The credit sequence also breaks with Bond custom, which usually emphasized the female nude in discreet silhouette, this time depicting violence against male figures without a single naked girl in sight.
Daniel Craig’s first outing as Ian Fleming’s classic super-spy feels like they tore down a Trump casino and built an army barracks in its place. Continue reading
When you stand before God, you cannot say, “But I was told by others to do thus,” or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.
When I reviewed the theatrical cut of Ridley Scott’s Crusade-era epic Kingdom of Heaven, I made note that the film was long on spectacle and short on story and compelling characters. I was not in the minority in that opinion either. Fox, in order to bring the film down to a more commercial running time, pressured director Ridley Scott to cut it, emasculating the story in the process.
At the time, there was already work being done on this director’s cut, and I hoped that this version would restore the depth and substance that the theatrical version lacked. I am now pleased to report that this is exactly the case. This new, 196-minute version restores a number of scenes, sub-plots and entire characters that answer my objections and give this film a level of resonance worthy of the images on screen.
When I first saw the previews of Kingdom of Heaven, having not heard of the film before that, my first reaction was, “Wow, somebody’s seen Gladiator a few too many times.” Much about the scenes in the trailer seemed like a conscious attempt to ape Ridley Scott‘s sword-and-sandals epic. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the trailer that I realized this was also a Ridley Scott film.