Bond

Countdown to Spectre: Casino Royale (2006)

This is the next installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre coming out on November 6th. If you are interested in any of my earlier installments, click here.

After receiving a license to kill, British Secret Service agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) heads to Madagascar, where he uncovers a link to Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a man who finances terrorist organizations. Learning that Le Chiffre plans to raise money in a high-stakes poker game, MI6 sends Bond to play against him, gambling that their newest “00” operative will topple the man’s organization.

So this is the first of current Bond actor Daniel Craig’s four films (including Spectre). It was clear that this film was trying to take this series in a much different direction (similar to what happened in Timothy Dalton’s two Bond films, The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, to a lesser extent). From the pre-credits scene, the film started to have a more darker, more realistic tone. It was easy to see in the scene but I was not a fan of it, however, as it did not quite make sense to me and seemed out of place in the scope of the whole series. This film is meant to be an origin story (which it technically is I suppose, at least for Craig) since the Ian Fleming novel in which the film is based is the first of the series of books in which the film series is based. The theme song for this film, called “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell, was not the best song but it was okay, I guess it’s technically not the film’s fault but it was weird to me that since it is an origin story, it did not come first but rather 21st. The main plot for this film is maybe not the most exciting but it was okay. It mostly just involves Bond competing against Le Chiffre, a terrorist banker, in a poker game in order to get him to loose his clients’ money. Luckily there is much more to the plot than that as the film spends time in places other than Montenegro, where the poker game took place, such as Uganda, the Bahamas, and in Venice. I will say that since the poker game takes up most of the film, there is not as much action as one would like but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Craig still had an opportunity to show his action range. What we got to see was done well and exciting. Perhaps it wasn’t the best way to show off Bond but I am willing to be patient with thew direction it was trying to go. Like I’ve said before, its approach here was a little more realistic in that it did not feature Bond just emptily mowing people down. I felt there was a little more weight to the action here. Craig’s performance as Bond was excellent here as he was very capable action-wise and was very good with the dialogue as the plot of the film was advanced by dialogue rather than fancy action which was a first for the series. I appreciated this as it was a definite change of pace for me. Mikkelson’s Le Chiffre was okay despite not having much to do here. Eva Green, as this film’s Bond girl Vesper Lynd, was great as well as she had great chemistry with Craig and their scenes were fun to watch. I guess my only complaint would be that the film is a little too long as I did not like the end as I did not find it necessary. Overall, this is a great start for this new stage in the series as it goes in a new, exciting direction and regardless of all of that, still a great film on its own.

Score: 8/10

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Next: Quantum of Solace

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