So when it comes time for a new James Bond to take center stage, well let’s just say franchise fans get nervous. When Daniel Craig was announced to take over the role of 007, you could call the response nothing short of a general uproar. Probably hadn’t seen this many people complaining since Dalton landed the role. What is funny is that looking back at it now, it seems kinda silly, because most folks have accepted Craig in the part. But 2006, it was crazy talk I tell ya, crazy talk!
Newly promoted British Secret Service agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is given his first assignment as a “00” agent. He must track down a bomber in Madagascar. After an extended chase and an explosion, Bond finds that the bomber is only one of a team. The trail takes him to the Bahamas where he discovers another bomber and a middleman who is taking his orders from a figure known as Le Chifre (Mads Mikkelsen).
Le Chifre is bankrolling terrorists, and his next scheme is to win a huge amount of money at a poker tournament at Casino Royle in Montenegro. M (Judi Dench) sends Bond, the best poker player in MI6 to go and trounce Le Chifre, forcing the terrorist to come running to the secret service and spilling his guts. If Bond loses, the British government funds terrorism. At his side is Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) a lovely treasury agent who’s around to make sure Bond doesn’t screw up. However, M didn’t count on all the other people just waiting to take a shot at the money and at Bond. So begins a very deadly game at Casino Royale.
- Daniel Craig brings back some danger to James Bond
- Vesper is one of the best Bond girls in the franchise
- Some top-notch action balanced with an interesting story
- The villains of the film are very nebulous
- Not wall-to-wall action like some of the previous films
- A very long film, will test some viewers patience
Scores (out of 5)
In Depth Review
|Bond. James Bond - 2006|
In any case, it was time for a change, and the producers decided that not only were they going to get a new actor as Bond, but they were going to shake up the franchise and do something completely new. They were going to show us Bond as an agent starting out in the role of 007. That’s right, the popularity of Batman Begins inspired them to take this route, but the concept had been brought up before, back when Dalton took the role. At the time, the head producers were not sure that audiences would take to seeing Bond as anything other than a pro. But Batman Begins showed that this angle could work for an established character, and it could reinvigorate a stale franchise.
|Let the games begin!|
With the script in place for Casino Royale, a director was chosen. Martin Campbell was selected based on his wonderful work at introducing a new James Bond to the world in 1995 with Goldeneye. Campbell was very familiar with filming top-notch action scenes as well as balancing these with tension and thrills. He was the perfect man for the job.
|The third time a Bond film went to Venice.|
One of the key elements of any James Bond adventure are the action scenes. In the mid 2000s, there was a trend to film and edit action scenes with hand held cameras, lightening fast editing and tons of zooms. The idea to create an immediacy during these scenes that pulls audiences in. Used correctly this technique can be very effective. The problem is, not many directors knew how to use it correctly. The result is action scenes that are difficult to follow at best or completely incomprehensible at worst. The action scenes of Casino Royale avoid this trap. All the key action scenes are well filmed and edited, allowing the viewer to follow the action and thrill to some of the amazing stunt work on display.
|One of the best action scenes in the series.|
One of the reasons the action scenes work so well is that Craig really brings a grittiness and edge to his performance, something we really hadn’t seen since Dalton. For Craig it seems like the stakes are real. and he really throws himself into these sequences. In Casino Royale we see Bond really get trashed, especially during the Miami bomber sequence. We haven’t seen Bond get this beat up since the finale of License to Kill. But seeing Bond throwing himself in, often over his head, raises the thrills a notch.
|I'm smiling now, but I'm about to shoot you.|
|"I'm the money."|
|Beware the tears of a gambler, especially the|
|"You look like hell. Did you blow up again?"|
Another returning character with a new face is Bond’s CIA chum Felix Leiter (Jeffery Wright). He makes his first appearance in the novel of Casino Royale, so it makes sense to have him here. Wright does a good job in the small but key role. We also meet Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Gianni), a fellow agent working with Bond (or is he?) on the case. Both these characters are interesting enough and will appear again in key roles in Quantum of Solace.
|"I have no armor left."|
|Bond is definitely back in action.|