Casino Royale; or, Product Placement Doesn't Work

Casino Royale is a back-to-front kind of film. The most exiting and original action sequence, through a building site in Madagascar, is at the top of the film. The main villiain is killed by some other bad guy with twenty-five minutes left to run, leaving James to tack randomly into Venice, for a final shoot-out with some low-level henchmen we have never seen before. You only take kudos for ditching the traditional story-telling arc, if an alternative makes the film more captivating. Here, it is just puzzling, since the legacy of previous Bond films means we are all awaiting a spectacular show-down. When it comes, it is too late, too short, and without cathartic closure.

Bond is known for his brand-name gadgets and vehicles… but I think the producers fall off the tight-rope in Casino Royale:

“Is that a Rolex?” says Vesper.

“No, an Omega” says James Bond. This prompts loud, derisory guffaws from the audience, and James’ smirk suggests he may, too, realise how crass he is behaving. We tolerate him driving a particularly fast car, or using a certain laptop. But does he really need to boast about his brand-names? Perhaps this trait is part of the more ‘unsophisticated’ and ‘rugged’ Bond which Daniel Craig is meant to portray.

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