The first Skyfall (next installment of Daniel Craig’s James Bond) teaser trailer was released yesterday on www.007.com, and I immediately checked it out. Casino Royale was the promising start of Daniel Craig’s psychological James Bond, who, though good with the ladies, was not exactly the double-entendre-spouting Sean Connery Bond or the debonaire, light-hearted Pierce Brosnan of years past. Casino Royale was much truer to Fleming’s original novel, which I had a great time reading and discussing through Lit Housewife’s Shaken Not Stirred Challenge, and I was eager to see where the franchise would go. Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace was a dud. It boasted a half-hearted story line, an oil-slicked dead girl, and a nonsensical plot.
Since then, I’ve waited impatiently for the next film. Monday’s teaser trailer was…well, just a tease. As is typical with these trailers, you really have no sense of “story” – instead, you just get to see some action shots in no particular order. Make sure you check the teaser trailer out first, but I wanted to go through it for fun to see what we can expect come November.
[Lot of loud, staccato music but no Bond theme.]
“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.”
Yeah, I really don’t like that weird word association business. I feel like I’m studying for the GRE. I almost thought it was a joke at first. But no. And then the classic Bond, calm and calculating in the last line. Now to the images:
Interrogation room. Stark, cold light. If this old dude is the villain, I think we’re ok. Interrogation room almost looks like a hospital, and thus I am creeped out because it feels like the beginnings of a horror flick. Moving on…
Yikes. That’s a lot of Union Jack and a lot of coffins. Really great shot, particularly with the bright colors, and the flag lining up all the way down between the columns and one dark figure off center.
There’s the exotic locale of earlier. Swank, debonaire, tuxedoed Bond arriving with fanfare. Fireworks, Chinese lanterns and dragon. Chinese New Year, perhaps? Great, great shot, even if it is a bit cliche. Fits into the Bond trope well, though, exoticising Asia and its cultures.
This reminds me of the “floating head” portraits of the 80s. Then again, I love the light on Bond’s face. Casino Royale made great use of lighting, and shots like these emphasize the “thinking Bond” – as I like to call him.
It’s interesting to watch these teaser trailers. I’d almost rather wait for an actual trailer to have a better idea if I’m looking at a Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace, but I guess I’ll have to wait a bit. Either way, I’ll see it. Even though QoS was, in my opinion, a really bad film, I still enjoy the interpretation more than any of the other films to date. There’s none of the spoofy, 60s schtick, which thus far, I haven’t seen in Fleming’s writing. If you’re at all interested in reading the novels, make sure you head over to the Shaken Not Stirred Challenge blog.
So what say you? Any insights? Thoughts? Ramblings?
For years now, I have thought about reading Ian Fleming, but all I knew of Bond were the oversexualized, often-ridiculous films of my (or more likely my parents’ and grandparents’) generation. However, after really, absolutely loving the newly-conceptualized, rugged Bond in the film Casino Royale (like, I’ve seen it half a dozen times), I revisited the idea of reading Ian Fleming. After Jennifer at Literate Housewife posted her Shaken Not Stirred challenge last week, I immediately downloaded the audiobook, narrated by Simon Vance. (And, may I say, his narration is seamless).
In this, the first of the James Bond novels, Fleming tells the tale of Le Chiffre, a pawn of SMERSH, a Soviet operation comparable to the KGB. Le Chiffre is bankrupt and arranges a Baccarat game at the Royale Les Eaux casino to win back the money he owes SMERSH. M, head of MI6, sends Bond in to stop Le Chiffre with another agent, Vesper Lynd, assistant to agent S (with Soviet relations). His cover is to be that of a Jamaican millionaire, thus, the beautiful woman on his arm. French agent Mathis orchestrates much of the game play, while Felix Leitner, a CIA agent, watches anxiously. No one is eager for Le Chiffre to win, and when Bond goes bankrupt in the first few hours of play, Leitner ups the ante, passing over his money for Bond to play. When Bond wins, Le Chiffre raises the stakes, and Bond falls victim to a ruse. His subsequent torture is only stopped when a SMERSH agent takes control of the situation.
The genius in the novel is not the plot, though it is tightly woven. Instead, Fleming relies on observation and his relation of that keen observation to satisfy and grip the reader. I listened at work, in a bubble bath, and in the car, and still I couldn’t leave the casinos of the French coast, which Fleming describes as “nauseating at three in the morning.” The game of Baccarat with its rules and odds kept me edgy, and Le Chiffre’s desperate move to recapture his losses was brutal.
What most surprised me was Bond’s humanity. He remarks early on that Lynd is a “silly bitch,” and he is displeased to have to work with a woman. However, by the end of the novel, he has decided to throw in the towel after a particularly horrific torture session and open himself to her. Whether or not he can trust her is another matter entirely.
Keep in mind, because I have seen the film several times, I was curious to see how closely the two would align. Surprisingly, even with the difference in decades (the novel was published in 1953), the film was very true to the book. The conflict is adapted from the KGB to arms dealers and Baccarat is traded in for Texas Hold ‘Em, but much of the story remains the same, including Vesper’s role.
One of my favorite lines, however, is missing. When Bond first meets Vesper Lynd (who provides the bank line for the gambling) on the train, she strides toward him in her masculine attire (which Fleming’s Bond girls were known for) and says:
Vesper Lynd: “I’m the money.”
James Bond (looking her up and down): “Every penny of it.”
Isn’t that an absolutely fantastic line? This is also the book introducing Bond’s famous martini:
James Bond: “Dry martini.”
Bartender: “Oui, monsieur.”
James Bond: “Wait. Three measures of Gordon’s; one of Vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice; add a thin slice of lemon peel.”
I’ve actually attempted to replicate this martini, and let’s just say, I understand why Bond only had one…
All in all, I was highly impressed with the book and its adaptation and cannot wait for the Twitter viewing party June 30 at 9:30 p.m. EST (using hashtag #shakennotstirred).
Will you be joining us, either by reading the book or attending the viewing? If so, leave a link to your post, and I’ll add it here.
jenn aka the picky girl
“Do I look like I give a damn?”
There are a few things you should know about me. I don’t eat seafood. I love champagne. And I have two great loves: Cary Grant and Daniel Craig. Yes, ladies, I am a lover of James Bond. Before Daniel Craig stepped into the recently-revised James Bond role, I still loved the films. (Sean Connery was my favorite until now.) Yes, they could be cheesy and appallingly sexist, but I loved the chase scenes, M, and the gadgets. When the rugged, psychological James Bond in Casino Royale came out, I thought “yes, please” and watched it way too many times.
So a couple weeks ago when Jennifer from Literate Housewife posted this teaser, I knew I was in – no matter what it was. I mean, I was pretty sure it had to do with reading, but hell, if it made me do some sort of crazy scavenger hunt to prove my love, I was ok with it.
Today she posted the Shaken, Not Stirred audiobook challenge, where each month participants will listen to an Ian Fleming James Bond novel narrated by Simon Vance, and then have a viewing party of the film via Twitter. June is Audiobook Month, and while I don’t often listen to audiobooks, I will definitely be diving in for this.
Why don’t I often listen to audiobooks, you may ask. Good question. I used to listen to them a lot when I had a commute. Now I have a 10-minute commute, so it seems pointless. However, I am going to attempt to download Casino Royale on my iPhone from audible today and listen while I’m at work. I’ll let you know how it goes…
Keep in mind, you do not have to have a blog in order to participate. Even if you just want to comment, there is a way for you to sign up and do that too. So come on, you only live twice…
jenn aka the picky girl 009