It’s a fan boy’s nature to see something they love, then figure out where it fits in the pantheon of what came before. Bond is no different. So after Mike Donis and I disagreed on whether Casino Royale or Skyfall was better, I figured I’d break it down based on some Bond characteristics that every Bond flick shares. Now realize, I consider these to be in the top 5 Bond flicks of all time.
PLOT: I give the edge to CASINO ROYALE here. While SKYFALL was an excellent Bond film and had a great plot, there was something in the way that CASINO ROYALE was structured that allowed me to feel like I was discovering the character for the first time. SKYFALL continued that so well, but I think i’d feel jarred by a darker Bond film had CASINO not come first. Point CASINO ROYALE.
BOND: Essentially, Craig’s Bond character continues to evolve from CASINO ROYALE through QUANTUM to SKYFALL. So it’s a push on this front. But I think that it adds to case that Craig is the best Bond cause he does bring this much to the character. Yes, its in the writing, but he sells it.
PRE CREDIT SEQUENCE: I’m giving the edge to CASINO ROYALE and this is where Donis breaks up with me. It’s not easy. The action, the direction and the shooting of the pre credits sequence was epic in SKYFALL. But the Bond movies are always one upping themselves in this area. What made CASINO ROYALE just so awesome began with that pre credit sequence, was the beautiful brutality. In the PCS, the two black and white scenes juxtaposing the rough fight and the first sign of Bond in control was striking.
OPENING CREDITS: Here the edge goes to SKYFALL. CASINO ROYALE’s are so awesome and credit to the graphic designer who did them. And it fits the film/song so well. But something about Bond going to hell worked.
SONG: CASINO ROYALE and SKYFALL had to two epic songs, but Cornell’s “You Know My Name” takes the cake.
BOND GIRLS: CASINO ROYALE wins again, mostly because I refuse to call the Bond girl who mattered in SKYFALL a “Bond girl.” Don’t want to spoil it, but you’ll see what I mean. And, Vesper did what few Bond girls have done…served the plot as opposed to just being window dressing.
VILLAIN: SKYFALL’s Sylva chewed scenery and brought out the best in Bond where LeChiffre in CASINO ROYALE wasn’t the focus of the film.
So, for me, I give the slight edge to CASINO ROYALE. And I think its because the narrative and the character development were the main focus and as a filmmaker, that tends to be where I end up in my scripts. This isn’t meant to shortchange CASINO ROYALE’s action or SKYFALL’s plot. But if I have to make a choice, its CASINO ROYALE.
And my fan boy status says I have too.