Bonding with Bond, Day 23: Casino Royale (2006)

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 12, 2008 | Comments

Daniel Craig is the new 007, and he is one determined agent. He’s grimy and dark, but stylish and sensitive. And he’s really good at killing people.


Casino Royale (2006) 95%

CasinoRoyaleCraig1

I am going to be honest here: the first and only time I saw Casino Royale two years ago, I was underwhelmed by it. Yes, I had certain ideas in mind about what Bond was like, and when Daniel Craig was chosen as the new 007, even I balked and thought, “I can’t see how he fits into my perception of James Bond.” When my friends all returned from a viewing, however, and told me how much they loved the movie, and how incredible Craig was, I decided I would give it a chance. At the time, I was disappointed, and I don’t honestly recall why. I also retained very little from that movie, which is a testament to how little I cared for it. So, when I re-viewed it last night, I was blown away by how wrong I was.

Initially, I completely forgot that Casino Royale was meant to be a reboot of the franchise, so when the opening scene makes mention of Bond just recently being granted “double-0” status, it immediately jogged my memory. Similar revelations would occur later in the film when Bond “acquires” his classic Aston Martin DB5, and when he meets Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) for the first time — since I finally had some context, I reacted to this meeting with a giddy, “Ohhh, that’s Felix Leiter!” This was a giddiness I didn’t experience the first go-round, and it would characterize several moments throughout the film for me.

CasinoRoyaleCraigGreen

There were some things I noticed in Casino Royale that recalled elements from the series as a whole, and these were again things I didn’t pick up on without the full context. First of all, while the early parkour chase scene was incredibly shot and choreographed, it demonstrated a continuance of Bond’s habit of recklessness, as he not only destroys an entire construction site in Madagascar, but also storms into the grounds of an embassy and shoots an unarmed man on camera. Next, there’s also the disposable mistress-of-a-bad guy who he beds for information and who ultimately gets iced. Then, there’s the sophisticated nemesis who’s not only asthmatic but also sports a freaky eye that “weeps blood.” I don’t point these out as flaws; on the contrary, they are dutiful homages to the franchise that reassure us we are indeed seeing James Bond, however different in tone he might be, and I was able to appreciate them in a way I couldn’t when I first saw this movie. When Bond puts on a tux for the first time, for example, and his theme music rises in the background, I cracked a warm smile.

Then there’s the Bond girl, Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd, who plays a crucial role in the film and provides the kind of sexual tension only a few other Bond girls have been able to manage. Her conversations with Bond were some of the most fun dialogue in the movie, and her role was written convincingly enough that when Bond eventually falls for her, I bought it wholesale. The twist at the end adds an even deeper level to her character, making her one of the best Bond girls, period, if not the best.

I also enjoyed M’s role in Casino Royale. Every time I thought to myself, “Gee, that was careless of him,” or “There goes Bond’s libido again,” M pretty much echoed my thoughts and spat them directly at Bond herself. She plays the voice of reason in the movie, and she let me know that the writers were aware of many of the things I’d seen in the previous Bond movies and that this new Bond was bucking the system anyway. This only further reinforced the idea that Bond does not live in an alternate universe of loose logic and no consequences; he simply doesn’t care, and he’s going to do whatever he damn well pleases anyway. In other words, Bond is a badass.

Daniel Craig makes an intimidating 007, but he is not without humor, and Casino Royale isn’t all blood and brooding. The action sequences are all pretty impressive, though some are better than others, and they are spaced out nicely by important plot elements that are engaging to watch in their own right. However, I thought Le Chiffre was a so-so villain, and I can understand some of the criticisms I’ve heard about this movie taking inspiration from the Bourne series. But I don’t fault the makers of Casino Royale for wanting to take Bond in a new direction, because it feels more in line with what modern moviegoers are looking for in an action film. Audiences are smarter and more discerning now than ever, so it makes sense to reboot the franchise with material that hits harder. With all of this in mind, be sure to come back tomorrow for my thoughts on Quantum of Solace.

Favorite line: “Now the world’s gonna know you died scratching my balls!”

Favorite moment: I loved the parkour chase. I thought it was breathtaking even the first time I saw it, and rewatching it last night was no different.


Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

DGA docudrama Sundance TV Writers Guild of America 2016 Vudu RT History Turner Classic Movies Endgame Drama Emmy Nominations romance spain MCU batman spinoff video war Mary poppins TV Land Comics on TV romantic comedy Oscars cancelled television space Stephen King Character Guide 2018 Trophy Talk Comedy Central anime football Nat Geo American Society of Cinematographers transformers hollywood Mystery witnail Song of Ice and Fire Warner Bros. Food Network justice league Chernobyl Video Games CBS christmas movies TCA Winter 2020 superhero Family USA 72 Emmy Awards Infographic History Apple Black Mirror Superheroes breaking bad Marathons Logo crime Box Office President dark documentary zombie Disney+ Disney Plus period drama PaleyFest TIFF 20th Century Fox Teen Schedule screen actors guild strong female leads CNN RT21 FX on Hulu psycho comics book FOX TCA Awards Watching Series documentaries BET sag awards foreign renewed TV shows Summer Tumblr 2019 Winners criterion binge Amazon Studios 2020 2017 festivals Apple TV Plus dceu Bravo cancelled TV series cartoon dramedy classics science fiction Star Wars FX Podcast Paramount Tomatazos natural history ABC Family Britbox worst movies adventure Awards Tour Sundance Trivia Fox News police drama Musical crime thriller golden globes blaxploitation LGBT Best and Worst Polls and Games PBS Nominations Western zero dark thirty Lifetime Christmas movies movie Chilling Adventures of Sabrina finale Women's History Month canceled Epix BBC America Paramount Network Lucasfilm spider-man The Arrangement Fantasy Hear Us Out reviews cooking dogs crime drama Marvel Certified Fresh obituary Valentine's Day venice Amazon Prime Video green book independent Mary Poppins Returns Shudder Extras SDCC HBO HBO Max Esquire adaptation nature Netflix ABC SXSW E! cults Avengers WarnerMedia Amazon Emmys 21st Century Fox Cannes TCA 2017 hispanic movies canceled TV shows Freeform Grammys concert remakes Holidays name the review Horror anthology universal monsters The Purge award winner Adult Swim rotten movies we love USA Network twilight parents VICE stand-up comedy zombies crossover 4/20 political drama Film Spike cats hist Premiere Dates Thanksgiving dc APB discovery elevated horror Countdown doctor who versus casting Comic Book Winter TV historical drama Pet Sematary singing competition Rocky vampires child's play Disney a nightmare on elm street Star Trek Academy Awards Opinion Travel Channel Cartoon Network worst CBS All Access Ovation Kids & Family laika ESPN mutant Anna Paquin reboot werewolf Disney Channel New York Comic Con streaming diversity south america revenge blockbuster VH1 Toys Set visit screenings First Reviews Calendar Apple TV+ based on movie Columbia Pictures E3 DC Universe Sony Pictures critics FXX stoner OneApp The CW Action facebook game of thrones TCA MTV cars Musicals 71st Emmy Awards Discovery Channel BAFTA The Walking Dead jamie lee curtis OWN sitcom Disney streaming service Lionsgate Nickelodeon Arrowverse Walt Disney Pictures rotten IFC Films composers Binge Guide Hallmark Christmas movies best San Diego Comic-Con A&E Amazon Prime theme song children's TV Mindy Kaling directors Tarantino news Rock Film Festival Rocketman Music NYCC asian-american slashers sports El Rey Martial Arts serial killer stop motion spy thriller Turner Trailer Shondaland TV Creative Arts Emmys spanish language festival Election TruTV 2015 boxoffice Marvel Studios Fall TV Red Carpet AMC Disney Plus Dark Horse Comics emmy awards BBC Sundance Now cinemax Year in Review Funimation what to watch richard e. Grant Christmas Holiday psychological thriller medical drama Netflix Christmas movies social media TNT Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Crackle tv talk 45 Crunchyroll Reality Competition ITV YouTube Classic Film Cosplay YouTube Premium free movies TBS Country comedies IFC mission: impossible Photos Reality ghosts WGN TV renewals Marvel Television The Witch Quiz Animation Syfy true crime TLC series game show Pixar First Look toy story Lifetime technology Ellie Kemper comiccon aliens teaser Elton John GIFs LGBTQ Heroines Baby Yoda nbcuniversal Brie Larson scary movies A24 robots DC Comics Sneak Peek Hulu TCM supernatural Superheroe video on demand talk show Pop TV CW Seed ratings thriller Interview disaster Captain marvel satire nfl VOD Pride Month dragons Starz Rom-Com all-time CMT Showtime Hallmark Comedy YA joker toronto DirecTV Masterpiece DC streaming service Black History Month Mudbound cancelled Ghostbusters comic Spectrum Originals GoT cops chucky Spring TV X-Men animated Universal films GLAAD politics biography die hard HBO Go Pop indie Acorn TV sequel BBC One PlayStation 24 frames 007 quibi Super Bowl fast and furious scorecard Sci-Fi unscripted television kids National Geographic sequels Awards harry potter Television Critics Association indiana jones SundanceTV Peacock mockumentary halloween NBC latino Pirates Biopics Tubi cancelled TV shows travel BET Awards miniseries Mary Tyler Moore franchise MSNBC YouTube Red Television Academy See It Skip It