Those of you who have seen the new James Bond movie, “Casino Royale”, probably already know what I’m talking about. There is a sequence where 007 pops over to Miami, follows a Bad Guy into an exhibit called BodyWorld, violence ensues, and then our hero is off again to the airport to drive a tanker truck remarkable for it’s spryness while loaded with aviation fuel and which is also a convenient exception from “Bond’s Law”: anything that can explode will, if a bullet comes within ten meters.
Whew! As most of the critics have pointed out, that sequence was just too much for too long. What they needed was a little break in there. One critic (I forget which) went so far as to say, “what that scene really needs is a shot of a couple of guys looking at the plasticized dead people.”
But there is no such shot. It’s quite possible that I’m in that scene somewhere, but my featured “guy looking at things” foreground role now lies on the cutting-room floor. While I’m disappointed, I imagine that the actors with speaking roles in that scene are far more disappointed. I think the original intent was to really take advantage of the plasticized dead people for atmosphere, and so they filmed a lot of stuff to give a good feel for the weirdness of the exhibition. Actors portraying a local news team were interviewing the creator of the plastic people as he walked through the exhibit, and things like that. (You can still hear a bit of Gunter’s voice in the background.)
In the end, in an already long Bond movie, there just wasn’t time for all that. In the middle of a long Point A -> Point B -> Point C -> ad infinitum sequence, there just wasn’t time to stop and smell the latex.
As a side note, in the airport scene there is gunplay and terrorism going on on the runways — police cars with flashing lights, etc, and apparently the tower controllers didn’t notice, as planes were still taking off and landing. The last time airport personnel were so incredibly stupid was in one of those Die Hard movies, but at least here it was just to pull off a moment of cheap drama. The Die Hard flick’s plot depended on hundreds of people in responsible positions being mind-bogglingly stupid. No, thousands. In fact, every pilot on the east coast, every person in the FAA both past and present, and every member of every security agency must have had the IQ of a rutabaga. That movie sucked.
Breathe, Jerry. Think happy thoughts. The bad movie is gone, now.
I enjoyed “Casino Royale” quite a bit, actually, once I got over the ridiculous opening title animation. It is grittier than previous Bonds, more modern, and cinematographically more adventurous. There were a couple of long sparring conversations between Bond and Vesper that could have been shorter; eventually they wore that subject pretty thin. Bravo for putting meaningful dialog in a Bond movie, but it was undermined by the urge to beat it over our heads (“Hey! Look! We put meaningful dialog in a Bond flick!”). Giving Bond a scrap of emotion is good, but trying to make a tuxedo out of a scrap doesn’t benefit anyone. (This was not helped by the British pronunciation of “Vesper”, which made me think of an Italian scooter, and then Princess Vespa in “Spaceballs”.)
If only they could have trimmed those cat-fights a little bit more, so they could have put in that ten seconds where it was really needed.