Story Substance More Than Fluff
As a young teen, I spent a lot of time curled up with different Ian Fleming books. I was caught in the imaginative twists and turns of James Bond 007. I’ll admit to reading each one of them long before I saw any of the movies. This young reader was impressed with Fleming’s storytelling skills. I also read his Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang book before I ever saw the film.
I read all of the hype about the “new” James Bond, Daniel Craig and the release of the movie, Casino Royale. Bound for a movie yesterday afternoon, the new Bond film looked like about the best choice. My wife sounded a bit skeptical since her preference would usually be a comedy or romantic comedy. The length of the film was also a concern (almost 2 1/2 hours). She looked over the other possibilities and agreed with the choice. We joined moviegoers around the country and saw Casino Royale.
The length of the film wasn’t a concern because from my view there were no slow spots and the time passed in a blink of an eye. The difference was the intricate story and various twists and turns in the plot. Most of these types of movies are filled with special effects and fluff. Now there were plenty of special effects but not as much gadgetry and fluff in Casino Royale from my view. As the photo shows, there is a bit of card playing in this movie. I’ve been playing cards since I was old enough to hold them and especially during the summers at my grandmother’s house (who was a lifelong Baptist).
One of the indicators that I use about the depth and interest for a film is my discussion after the movie with my wife. The twists in this movie are at times subtle. Instead of walking out and saying, “We’ll not be back to that one.” We had the opposite reaction and a stimulating discussion about the various twists and turns of the plot. It showcases the excellent writing in Casino Royale which is always foundational to a good movie.
As you write fiction, can you build enough tension into the plot with subplots and twists and turns to keep the reader engaged? It’s one of the keys to excellent thrillers. It was certainly built into the fiber of Casino Royale. I’m looking for an excuse to see it a second time. It was that good.