Bond: Casino Royale
While DIE ANOTHER DAY broke franchise records- all was not well in Bond-land. Producers Michael G. Wilson, and Barbara Broccoli, reportedly unhappy with the fantastical, sci- fi direction the series was heading in, decided that the franchise needed a radical reboot. While his films remained as popular as ever, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond contract was not renewed, and the search was on for a new Bond. After months of testing, Daniel Craig- an unconventional choice to be sure, was announced as the new Bond.
The fan backlash against Craig began immediately, and many expected the film to be an absolute disaster. History proved otherwise….
PLOT: A young James Bond, newly given a “double 0” designation, is sent to play in a high stakes poker tournament, where he’s expected to bankrupt the villainous LeChiffre, the moneyman for an international terror network.
REVIEW: CASINO ROYALE is for Bond films, what BATMAN BEGINS was to the BATMAN franchise. It rebooted the series in an exciting and fresh way, essentially reinventing the character for a new generation of filmgoers- but at the same time not ignoring the formula that made the franchise so successful in the first place.
Everything about this film is top notch. The script, which was co-written by Paul Haggis, the writer-director behind CRASH, is extremely solid, and to its credit is remarkably faithful to Ian Fleming’s original novel. Of course, the script was peppered with a few really strong action sequences, as the novel was a fairly small scale affair. Thankfully, the producers finally wised up and rehired Martin Campbell, who previously helmed GOLDENEYE- and was actually capable of shooting a good action sequence without completely resorting to his second unit. The opening parkour inspired chase sequence is one of the best action sequences in the series, and immediately established Daniel Craig as a Bond to be reckoned with.
While Daniel Craig took a lot of grief for not being particularly Bond like when his casting was announced, most fans changed their tune the second they saw him in action. He’s really incredible in this film- and it’s very exciting watching him onscreen as you really get the sense that a star has been born. He actually got nominated for a BAFTA for his performance, and in the Academy wasn’t prejudiced against action film, he probably would have copped an Oscar nom as well.
The delicious Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, the woman that broke Bond’s surprisingly fragile heart. You know- if there’s one woman that could convincingly turn Bond into a one woman man- Green would be the one to do it. If you like Green in this film- you owe it to yourself to check out THE DREAMERS (trust me).
BOND MUSIC: David Arnold is back to score CASINO ROYALE, and he provides a solid score- which is a little less techno based than some of his earlier scores- going more for a retro John Barry style. I’m not too keen on the Chris Cornell theme song though…
BODY COUNT: This Somewhere around twelve- which doesn’t sound high, but it’s the quality, not the quantity. Bond shoots, stabs, and snaps his way though the film, and at one point even used a nail gun on an unlucky baddie.
NUMBER OF WOMEN BOND SLEEPS WITH: This is the one area where the film lacks, as Bond only sleeps with Vesper- but alas, as this is more of a love story than other installments I’ll let it slide.
BEST ONE- LINER: When his testicles are being smashed into pulp by LeChiffre and his carpet beater- he defiantly asks LeChiffre: “I've got a little itch, down there. Would you mind?”
BEST DOUBLE ENTENDRE: Vesper: [introducing herself to Bond] I'm the money.
Bond: Every penny of it
BEST GADGET: : No gadgets in this installment.
RECEPTION: CASINO ROYALE exceeded all expectations, pulling in $167 Million in North America, for an incredible $597 million worldwide total.
GRADE: 9/10- easily the most solid Bond film in years
Previous reviews: DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE , GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER , LIVE AND LET DIE, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MOONRAKER, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, OCTOPUSSY, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, A VIEW TO A KILL, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, LICENCE TO KILL, GOLDENEYE, TOMORROW NEVER DIES, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH , DIE ANOTHER DAY