Casino Royale has a very special place in my heart. Not the David Niven one, the new(ish) one. It reminds me of many happy times.
When I first saw it, it was December 2006. A new cinema had just opened in Swansea. A big one. It was exciting. Having spent years being lumbered with an Odeon that had lovely staff but was far too tiny and quickly falling behind in terms of modern technology, a big shiny new Vue cinema was big news. It was huge. Perversely, these days I mutter about how we’re stuck with a Vue when what I want now is a Cineworld so I can get a monthly pass, but hey, that sums up life doesn’t it? Always after something better!
Anyway, in 2006 the Vue was exciting. It opened when I wasn’t living in Swansea at the time. I was in Stafford doing a Msc and had only heard about it from my parents who said it was great. Stafford didn’t really have much of a cinema to talk about (or much of anything else really other than nice people and a lot of snow in the winter!) so I was suitably envious.
When I got home from Stafford for the Christmas break, I went out to work part time. I returned to my old job at Carphone Warehouse for a few weeks and earned as much money as I could manage while also suffering the scourge of difficult customers (this was around the same time as a woman literally threw a boxed mobile phone at me before storming out of the shop). I made sure to spend time with my parents though as I’d missed their company.
One evening after work, we all met up to go to the cinema to see the new Bond film: Casino Royale. I’m not sure why I was so excited to see it. I liked a few of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films (especially Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies) and had seen The World is Not Enough at the cinema but I wouldn’t say I was a Bond fan. Maybe it was the hype of a new Bond or the excitement of a new cinema. Who knows?
The cinema seemed huge when I went in the screen. Much bigger than it now seems as I guess I’m used to it. The film started and I was entranced. Properly entranced.
The start was perfect for me. The black and white beginning showing that Bond is a bit of a nasty piece of work this time, followed by that intro? Great stuff. There’s a moment during the intro where Daniel Craig walks up to the camera as a silhouette. The shadow drops and you see him properly in colour for the first time. I was hooked, both in terms of this new awesome Bond and this new attractive Bond that had emerged.
Then there’s the bit with all the free running which seemed like nothing else I’d ever seen before. It was awesome. It continued to be fantastic, too.
The audience were similarly captivated. A screen full of 300 people completely silenced by what was going on. Except for one moment. There’s a moment in the film (which I’ll assume everyone who wanted to see it has seen it) where Bond nearly dies thanks to being poisoned. He tries to defibrillate himself (like you do) but a wire has fallen out and it doesn’t work. Oh no! So Eva Green comes along and does it for him. When he comes back to life, a woman in front of me gasped in utter shock as if she genuinely thought Bond would die. Great moment. The kind of moment that reminds me why I like going to the cinema. When the audience is as caught up in a film as I am.
So, yeah. It was a great film. I keep the memory of seeing the film very close in my heart. While my Dad didn’t die until 2008 and we did loads of other things together after that, there’s something about that special Christmas feeling that stuck with me forever more. It was just a lovely trip out.
There are (still) a fair number of things I can’t do or see without feeling extremely sad or upset to the point that I won’t do them, such as watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Casino Royale is one of the few that offers me more happy memories than sad. Which will explain why I’m watching it for the second time in three days at the moment.