Gimmee a bad guy I can hate
The new 007 movie â€œCasino Royaleâ€ fell short of blockbuster status at the box office but drew some of the strongest reviews of any movie in the long series depicting the exploits of the celebrated Mr. Bond.
Let’s stop right here to call bullshit on Medved in his very first sentence. Not a “blockbuster“?:
Topping $300 million worldwide, â€œCasino Royaleâ€ is on the way to surpassing the $432 million total of â€œDie Another Dayâ€ to become the top-grossing Bond movie, said Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony.
But’s it’s not a “blockbuster”, it’s just going to gross about a half billion dollars. That’s different.
Onward and downward, Michael:
For instance, Syndicated columnist Froma Harrop wrote: â€œIn the post 9/11 era, James Bond canâ€™t be as much fun as he once was. And in the new movie â€˜Casino Royaleâ€™ heâ€™s not mean to be, either. â€˜Given the world situation,â€™ producer Barbara Broccoli told an assembled media, â€˜we felt the need to do something more realistic and more serious.â€™â€¦ Some events in â€˜Casino Royaleâ€™ seem ripped from the newswires. Thereâ€™s an attempted attack on a passenger airliner, a chase scene through African misery and a torture episodeâ€¦ In short, â€˜Casino Royaleâ€™ plunges the audience head-first into 2006.â€
Itâ€™s certainly true that this Bond faces more believable threats than his predecessors in fantasies like â€œGoldfingerâ€ or â€œMoonraker,â€ but for all the references to international terrorism the movie remains more silly than serious because it contains no references whatever to violent, conspiratorial threats by Islamist fanatics. In place of the diabolical jihadists who threaten to blow up our cities in the real world, the movie depicts an international terror network comprised entirely of suave Europeans and subhuman thugs from sub-Sharan Africa. Actual counter-terrorism combatants focus their attention on Muslim killers and plotters in every continent but in the latest â€œBondâ€ adventure this dire threat simply doesnâ€™t exist.
In this regard, the movie follows the tradition established by nearly all Hollywood thrillers since 9/11. In â€œSum of All Fears,â€ the Iranian-Palestinian terrorists of Tom Clancyâ€™s novel became German neo-Nazis led by Alan Bates; in â€œBad Companyâ€ with Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock the bad-guys are Serbian, in the airline nightmare â€œRed Eyeâ€ theyâ€™re Russian, and in Jodie Fosterâ€™s â€œFlight Planâ€ theyâ€™re American security personnel. The â€œMission Impossibleâ€ and â€œBourneâ€ movies consistently feature assorted non-Islamic Europeans or Americans (like the truly chilling Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the most recent â€œMissionâ€)….
Of course, in this case the producers actually decided to, well, let Anthony Lane explain it all to you:
The plot, unusually for a Bond picture, leans heavily on the novel. Bond is up against Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), who has a six-foot-tall mistress, a weepy eye, and nothing to cry about. His pleasure is gambling, and his career as a banker takes him to selected trouble spots, where he likes to meet the locals and help them with their plans for terrorism. What sets Le Chiffre apart from Bondâ€™s preceding nemeses is that he has absolutely no interest in running the planet, preferring instead to profit nicely from its ruin. This is a welcome twist, one of the pitiable things about the 007 franchise being its fixation on global conquestâ€”a cheesy homage, I often think, to the ubiquity of the Bond brand itself.
Of course, Medved completely downplays the motivation of both the English and American’s interest in capturing the Le Chiffre character (you’ll just have to see the movie), but that would undercut his boilerplate whine about political correctness runamuck in Hollywood. The point is, Medved wanted a movie that would pass Little Green Football focus-group muster, where the bad guys wear turbans, eats dates from a bowl, and demand that the Bond girl be “bathed and perfumed and brought to my tent”.
Today, the Islamists already attack the entertainment industry for alleged Zionist bias, despite the absence of a single major studio release (no, not one) of the last thirty years that offers a distinctly positive vision of Israel, and despite the obvious, irrational, and ultimately shameful shyness about showing Islamo-Nazis as the demented, degenerate, terrorists they truly are.
Looks like Israel needs their own James Bond to make Michael happy. And no, according to Medved, Avner Kaufman doesn’t count.