In leading up to 2006 Pierce Brosnan, the actor how had been playing Bond, stepped down from his role. The search for the new Agent 007 also lead to the studio deciding to toss out the baby with bath water and just reboot the whole franchise. This bothered a lot of fans. Things got worse when it was announced that Daniel Craig would be taking over lead character role. I guess he was too blond or something. I forget because it was something like seven years ago. Anyway in the spirit of starting over the new flick was going to be based on original creator Sir Ian Flemming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. It was directed by Martin Campbell, who also directed GoldenEye…which I really disliked.
I am not a traditional Bond fan as I’d only seen a few of the films in the series and beyond Goldfinger I haven’t loved them. I especially wasn’t very keen on Brosnan’s films at all. But I remember being very intrigued by all the hullabaloo with this flick and I actually went to the theaters to see it; the first time I’d ever paid to see a James Bond movie. So were all the changes worth it?
Full review after the jump.
[WARNING: There are some spoilers but it's not too bad and, really, this movie came out six years ago. Get over it.]
|When you think about it this is really all Bond actually does|
You can’t review a Bond film without talking about the theme song. “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell is the song and the fact that it doesn’t share its name with the film already bodes ill. However the fact remains that it’s a ridiculously catchy tune that fits extremely well with the tone of the film; familiar, but with a gritty feel that makes it fresh. I dare say it’s one of the best themes for any of the 007 flicks, but then again it does click well with my Rock & Roll sensibilities more so than most.
|And yet I don't give two shits about Chris Cornell|
The action is fast paced and the fight scenes are brutal. From the chilling opening scene, to the parkour chase early into the film, to the airport scene; everything was done in a very interesting and attention grabbing way that didn’t feel like anything I’d ever seen in a Bond film. I don’t want to say it’s “realistic”, because that’s a weird word to use for a movie like this, but compared to the vast majority of the cartoony series it does have a certain sense of realism. Even the “death trap” scene at the film’s climax is rather mundane and a far cry from being tied to a table and having a laser pointed at the protagonist. I liked it.
|Because Texas Hold 'Em is more interesting than Baccarat, I guess|
Unsurprisingly I really liked Eva Green as Vesper Lynd. Vesper was strong, smart (more than a match for James as far as wit went), and didn’t take any of Bond’s usual bullshit. I loved the relationship between her and Bond because it’s one of the few times the normally womanizing secret agent actually fell for the Bond girl and thus the dynamic was very different from what we normally get. Recently a fan poll at IGN named Vesper as the best Bond girl in history which is amazing considering she’s one of the most recent. But I can’t disagree; she’s a great character and it’s too bad we won’t be seeing her again.
Plus, let’s be honest, this movie started my one-sided love affair with the gorgeous Eva Green. So I both love and hate the film for that.
|Vesper: I'm the money.|
Beta: Humina, humina, humina...
|Pictured: Bond, Vesper, and Bond's Ego|
I give Casino Royale 4 Adorable Pandas out of 5.
-Interesting lead characters
-Great action -Great them song
-Well written plot
-The last act is a little dull
- Le Chiffre doesn’t live up to his potential as a villain.
Like I said I was really hyped to see a sequel and, unsurprisingly, I got one in the form of Quantum of Solace, one of the few direct sequels in the franchise’s history. How did that turn out? Check back later this week to find out.