The James Bond movies aren’t necessarily cinematic achievements or anything. They’re simply movies for guys who like movies or by girls who like to be liked by guys for liking movies for guys who like movies. Make sense? Good! Neither did Casino Royale (1967, not to be confused with the Daniel Craig version) but I think that was partly the point. I can’t believe that I actually wanted to palette cleanse this with Austin Powers because it’s just simply a better spy spoof than this festival of fools. I can’t even blame the British barrier this time because I’m such a nut for James Bond, I actually understood all of the damn jokes and I say for those of you are also James Bond nuts who would understand this movie as well…watch Austin Powers. Damn it.
To assemble the plot of this movie would be like pouring myself a bowl’s worth of Alpha-Bits on the table and trying to write a song out of it (though it might sound a lot like Friday). Essentially, the real James Bond (Peter Sellers), who is currently in retirement and has had every other 007 named after him to pay tribute, is forced back into action when the evil organization SMERSH (not a joke, actually the evil organization from the books) goes on a rampage wiping out 00 agents across the globe. In trying to get to the bottom of this, he must fight a troop of 11 beautiful Scottish adopted femme fetale sisters, magnetic exploding destructo-birds, strongmen whose only weapons are throwing cement balls they can’t actually lift, a bunch of other logically challenged adversaries, and Woody Allen who has developed a chemical toxin that kills off every male over 4-foot-6 and turns every girl on the planet beautiful because Woody needs something to do with his woody. Somewhere in this is the actual plot of the book “Casino Royale” featuring Le Chiffre who doesn’t actually know what role he has in anything as well as the game of Baccarat played by another James Bond who wrote a book on how to always win at Baccarat when he really could just do what everyone else does and cheat. Oh, and everyone dies at the end (spoilers…)
Spoofs are a very tricky thing because there’s a balance that you have to find between satirizing your subject matter and actually projecting that you’re trying to take it seriously. Casino Royale just kind of said “fuck all that” and went for the overly silly…which quickly became the overly ridiculous…which quickly became overly stupid. Yeah, in a more subtle setting, the gags might actually have been funny but at the pace that these threw them at you it was like a bowl of only marshmallow Lucky Charms. Great in concept but once you sink your teeth into it, you kind of want something to tone things down a little bit and before you ask, yes I’m hungry.
Honestly, I would prefer a true James Bond spoof to be done now while various nuances of the character been more introduced into the mainstream market. When Casino Royale came out, only four other movies had been made and the Bond film franchise was just beginning to get popular yet for some reason this film acted as though this was the final hurrah of the series despite You Only Live Twice planning on release two months later. Because I know the movies and the books, I understood why a lot of the gags were a bit more clever than what they were at face value but I got 19 movies up on everybody, including the Pierce Brosnan Bond! (Kidding, they weren’t all bad…’cept Die Another Day)
Anyway, it’s hard to really find a lot of good things in this movie because it was just mixed with so much bad so damn often it was hard to tell where the creepy guy who still wets himself ended and where the genius began. I enjoyed enough of this to get a 6 dustbusters out of 10…but man do I not recommend this movie at all.