Sunday, April 6, 2008

Casino Royale

I'm watching Casino Royale on Showtime and there's this great parkour chase toward the beginning. Bond is chasing some guy through Madacascar, first to a building under construction, then up scaffolding, from beam to beam, picking people off as necessary. These are crazy things you shouldn't watch if you suffer from vertigo in any way.

Daniel Craig is icy and British and hunky, and the other guy is scarred and up to no good. I have no idea why he's being chased or what Bond is up to, and even if I find out later what's going on I'll never remember, just like I don't remember the plot line of any Bond movie I've ever seen, aside from there being some mean guy bent on world domination, and any number of choice birds who can't resist Bond and may or may not be trying to kill him. Bond movies are all about chase scenes and making out.

We know this.

What I can't get past is the vast number of henchmen, local cops and innocent bystanders who are slaughtered in all the excitement. We always see them get picked off, and they usually get a certain look of surprise as they fly backwards. We don't see them fall; we've already moved on. We stick with 007.

That is, we're supposed to stick with 007, but since I was kid I have always gotten caught in that look of surprise they get. What's that last thought that they're having? Are they regretting their career choice, remembering their poor mother who had always urged them to go back to college? Are they thinking they should have gone ahead and had that second helping of cheesecake?

What of the extras playing these parts? Are they given a demonstration, is there a coach: "Mouth open a little more, and I need a little more confusion in the eyes, and regret. Remember, your mother wanted you to be a pianist. Good! Now you've got it. And... fly back!"

When is there going to be a movie about these poor suckers? Somebody get Tom Stoppard on the horn!

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