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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Now look, I'm a hard-core James Bond fan. Some might say a purist.I
make no apologies for believing that Timothy Dalton is the closest
thing we've seen to IAN FLEMING's James Bond.
Last night I saw Casino Royale.
This is, for the first time, the truest interpretation of the character we have ever seen.
This film is amazing. Totally mind-blowing. From the black and white pre-titles, to arguably the best titles sequence ever. From the African free-running chase to the beautiful interiors of London. From Judi Dench's harassed M, to the super cool Le Chiffre. From the stone-cold government killer, to the heart broken lover.
Style and sophistication are in abundance.
And I love it.
Lancelot Narayan DVD Producer The Lip Sync Group
I saw this at a cast and crew screening in London last weekend: I'm not a huge Bond fan, but I do enjoy them on a purely popcorn level and this was definitely one of the best in recent memory. The tone is much edgier and nastier than the Brosnan movies, harking back more to Dr. No or For Your Eyes Only. The action sequences are brilliantly shot and edited for maximum impact and are some of the best out of any Bond movie. Martin Campbell, who also made 'Goldeneye', was an excellent choice and, for me, is one of the best Bond directors. What gives this the lead over recent Bonds is the more realistic feel: the exotic locales, fast cars, spectacular action, beautiful women and many other Bond hallmarks are all here but gone is the campy tone that marred, say, Die Another Day. Yes, the whole franchise is based on an entirely ridiculous and cartoonish notion but the more serious and harder-edged tone works really well here. In this context, Daniel Craig gives an excellent performance as Bond. I'll be the first to admit that I raised an eyebrow when I heard he was cast but he really makes it his own. It's hard to say whether he's better than any of the other Bonds: Connery and Brosnan felt right for the style of Bond movies they were in. Here, as suits the overall tone of the film, Bond is much more of a sadist, a cold-hearted killer with very little sense of empathy and Craig, with his piercing eyes, suits the role very well. He's charming and funny when required and totally convincing in the action sequences. The violence is less cartoon-like and flippant, too, with every punch, kick and shooting looking like they really hurt. Also, the story is just much more engaging than many a Bond film; the script's not going to win awards but it's consistently inventive and intriguing. Whilst the film has enough of it's fair share of action, the emphasis is equally on character and storyline and less on gadgets and sheer implausibility. When there isn't a huge action sequence happening, you don't miss it: the film's longest set-piece, the poker game at the Casino Royale, is as (or not more) gripping and entertaining than any of the chases and shoot-outs. The only minor gripes that I have are a slightly too long running time: the film drags a wee bit towards the end and, although it helps the tone of the film, we don't hear enough of the Bond theme tune! However, great directing and performances from everyone involved, along with Phil Meheux's excellent cinematography, Peter Lamont's as ever superb production design and all the other top-notch craft and technical departments make 'Casino Royale' a classy and very enjoyable night out at the movies.
This is among the best bond movies! You have to see it.
After all the controversy and comments on Daniel Craig's potential as an actor and doubts over him playing Bond...i'd say forget it and be enthralled by the new BOND! He's here to stay.
He has that natural feeling about him when you see him on the screen as Bond, that attitude, style, confidence matched only by Sean COnnery. The movie as a whole is extremely entertaining and exciting.The acting is awesome Eva Green actually does a great job and has really improved her acting from the last time i saw her (in kingdom of heaven), but then this is a totally different movie.
There's a lot of action mixed with great story which i am sure will please the true Bond fan.
Please go and watch this because you will regret if you don't, forget the past this is the New Bond.
James Bond is back and he is alive and well. Any questions about Daniel Craig's worthiness are thrown out almost immediately as we are handed a film filled to the brim with exquisite action and explosive emotion. I squirmed in my seat with delight as I have not done since I was a child. What "Batman Begins" did for that franchise, "Casino Royale" does, and more, for Bond. For a while it seemed that he might not be able to well exist outside the confines of the cold war, but here we are given an entirely modern Bond with enough nods to the original that we can't be too upset. Maybe it's because this is the last novel yet to be filmed in the traditional Bond manner and it is Ian Fleming who has stolen our hearts not this incarnation of the super spy. However I like to think that someone actually just got their act together and concentrated on the film itself as opposed to who they could get the most product placement money out of. Congratulations. James Bond will live on for at least one more generation, and maybe forever. Great set pieces and one of the best chase sequences not involving cars ever put on screen, blended with beautiful locations and even more lovely women add up to the perfect cocktail with the twisting story line acting as the lemon peel in the martini, holding it all together. Many will come out saying that this is the best Bond film ever and I can not rightly say they are wrong at this point. Only time will tell that tale. However every fan can be assured that this ranks amongst the very upper crust of Bond movies, and Craig is no Lazenby. He lends a harsh wit and a thuggish charm to the character and by the end he's no longer the new guy, he is Bond, James Bond. A masterpiece of popular film-making and the movie we have been waiting for all year. See it early and often as it is sure not to diminish upon reviewing.
There is only one movie franchise that has twisted, turned and
reinvented itself on so many occasions...
007 has unfortunately dwindled more than it has bedazzled over the last decades but I am relieved to see that Martin Campbell has put the edge back into the Bond series.
The originally unpopular Craig grinds through this action packed feature with ease and in my opinion proves all of his doubters (including me) very very wrong..
At last we have another true Bond.. Sharp, sophisticated and as tough as nails... And perhaps correctly more shaken than stirred.
Welcome back 007... Welcome back.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, the negative. Casino Royale is both too long and too short.
Like OHMSS, there are moments when the running time feels its length
and others where you think something's missing because they suddenly
tried to trim the running time by not shooting bits. At times you'd be
grateful for a little bit of exposition BEFORE a couple of the big
action scenes rather than after. And some of the script has some lines
as subtle as a car crash that stink of Paul Haggis' brand of heavy
handedness. The big finale is just a bit too much, as if they're afraid
not to destroy some big building again because that's what they always
Having got that out of the way, none of that matters that much because this is the best Bond since George Lazenby thought he had all the time in the world. It's got a strong plot for once and makes it even stronger by showing us where Bond came from and how he smoothed away some of the rough edges. And the edges are brutally rough here. The killings are nasty and the aftermath has to be dealt with in a way Bonds have never done before.
The real ace in the hand is Craig. He doesn't have Connery's raw star quality, but he's easily the best actor to have played the part. I don't know if the film was shot in sequence but for the only time since OHMSS you get a sense of Bond changing throughout the film as his cockiness becomes confidence and his brutality becomes cold efficiency. He starts off unlikeable but human and gradually picks up the Bond traits we know until he becomes more likable but just a little less human. It's an interesting journey and Craig is up to it. It's not just his delivery, it's also his body language. Even his fighting style changes as he adapts.
Physically he's the most in your face Bond since Lazenby and the action scenes look brutal for once. Even the not very likely free running chase is spectacular but believable because you get the idea that this really is kill or be killed stuff. It's got a real feel of danger to it that hasn't been seen in the series in years. Only the torture scene feels like it's holding back (it's almost as tastefully done as the old TV version) but that's probably fear of the censors.
You'll come out of this one not just thinking that Daniel Craig IS James Bond, but that no-one has ever played him before. Let's all hope EON don't lose their nerve with Bond 22 and bring back the sci-fi stuff and gadgets, because this could be a real new beginning! See it and you'll believe it.
Well certain people thought Daniel Craig could not pull it off, but he
has and with style and a cold steel edge, not seen since Sean Connery.
This is proper action hero stuff, but he actually looks like if he wanted to he could kill you.
With an opening sequence that will stop you from blinking for 20 minutes.
The film is class, from the cinematography, to the three dimensional villains, and Bond's rapid learning curve.
Like Dr No, you see a killer, just he is on our side.
Don't read reviews, just go and see it, and tell your friends what you thought, you won't be disappointed.
What a difference a great actor makes. Daniel Craig is superb as James Bond and parting from that point everything in it is enjoyable, frightening, thrilling just because we're with him. He conquered us from the word go. The initial chase is one of the best in film history and as soon as we get to know this new incarnation of the iconic Ian Fleming character, we're hooked. He's virile but there is room for ambiguity. He's elegant but as, the sensational Eva Green, points out is more acquired than inherited. More working class than even Sean Connery and that works wonders for Mr Bond. The script is more compact and organic. The locations are breathtaking and what else I can say? The series have been reinvigorated, rejuvenated and in one single stroke have secured that this franchise will live forever. A note to Barbara Broccoli, the producer, your father would be so proud. Congratulations!
I saw this at a special premiere and i was amazed. having never been a Bond fan i wasn't really expecting much from this. After watching Brosnans invisible car in the previous incarnation I thought it could only get worse. How wrong was I! this film is gritty and sharp. the dialogue is sharp and well thought out with Daniel Craig being the DEFINITIVE Bond. He exudes confidant menace. They have gone back to basics with this Bond ie character and dialogue driven and not thankfully gadget driven. Not only is it the best bond film out so far its one of the years best films out. They have borrowed some elements from the Bourne series of films which is long overdue on the franchise, more realistic fight sequences and with Daniel Craig actually looking like a physically capable man instead of the middle aged paunch of Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan who both quite frankly couldn't beat up a Ritz cracker.
In the original Bond series, only a handful of films really attempted
to touch base with the novels of Ian Fleming. "Dr. No" showed the
Fleming feeling for character and action, but introduced elements to
the plot that detracted from the 'hard-boiled' spy story that Fleming
thought he was writing; "Thunderball" came close, but that was because
Fleming developed the story on commission for the film. "On Her
Majesty's Secret Service" had the book's plot pretty down pat, and was
made in a kind of 'grand adventure' style, but of course it suffered
from the choice of Lazenby - a professional model, not an actor - as
Bond. "The Living Daylights" showed the producers' interest in
returning to the roots, but Dalton was uncomfortable playing Bond, and
uncomfortable with the wisecracks which had become part of the
character's schtick - and which were really badly written for the
Dalton films. "Goldeneye" was admirable attempt to update the Fleming
milieu for the end of the Cold War, but left the character himself as
yet without an 'updated' definition.
The decision to make a 21st Century version of Fleming's first Bond novel - and, beyond the update, to remain true to the novel, sans comic patter, sans sci-fi techno-schtick, sans major rewrite of the basic plot - promised to present Bond fans of all ages with a direct challenge. Do we want the hard-boiled spy Fleming first envisioned - patterned after Chandler's Philip Marlowe and W. Somerset Maughm's Ashenden ("or: The British Agent")? Or would we really rather have the suave stand-up comedian and Playboy magazine contributor introduced by Broccoli, Maibaum, Young, and company, in the second Connery film, "From Russia With Love"?
Well, the votes are still being tallied on that.
As someone who came to Bond reading "Goldfinger" at the tender age of twelve (the phrase "round, firm, pointed breasts" has been an inspiration to me since), the closer the films came to the sense of the novels, the happier I was.
So of course, this version of Bond is a joyous surprise for me - my youthful daydreams have been vindicated and at last fully satisfied. There are indeed elements added to the plot, but they are completely congruent with it. There is the use of current technology, but no techno-schtick - i.e., no Q. and no "gadgets". There are the luscious Bond babes (2 - the minimum Bond requirement), but there is no attempt to reduce them to photogenic sex-toys.
Fleming's plot actually requires the film's addition of some heavy action sequences (all done very snappy, with a brutally realistic edge), because the novel is very claustrophobic; the original TV version of the story (1955, with Barry Nelson as 'Jimmy Bond'), only used three indoor sets, because it could - except for the car chase and an attempted bombing at an outdoor café, Fleming's novel took place almost entirely within Bond's hotel suite and the gaming room. The film's opening this novel out to the world is actually quite welcome, and does not affect the central plot or its theme.
The character of Bond presented in this film may disappoint followers of the original films, but the news is, this is FLEMING's Bond - an orphan uncertain of his own identity, a disillusioned romantic trying hard to pretend he's incapable of emotions, a middle class, middle-brow, middle-level management type who just happens to kill people for a living. But he does it extremely well.
The other problem some general viewers may have is the level of violence in the film; having determined to film the novel realistically, director Martin Campbell has decided to ditch the 'B-movie' violence of most of the earlier films, and present us the violence with a hard 'British neo-noir' edge to it. Given the romantic plot twist toward the end, this would be a perfect date movie - except that the violence left some of the female viewers in the theater I attended clearly unsettled. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just is part of the gestalt of the film's experience.
Cambell's direction is very good; the writing is crisp; production values are very high; the photography is stunning. Some of the stunt work is truly remarkable, worthy competition for Jackie Chan. The acting is rock-solid and believable for these characters. There is plenty of muscle for the action-film fan, and some real brains for the more general viewer to ponder later.
This film is best viewed with minimal reliance on knowledge of the previous series. In fact, it functions perfectly well as a 'one-off', a film without a series.
But of course, the ending invites a sequel. In Godzilla terms, Connery and Moore having given us the 'showa' Bond, Dalton and Brosnan the "Heisei" Bond, we now have the "Millenium" series James Bond - not a prequel nor even a 'reboot', but, really, an entirely new series about the same character. It is probably too much to hope for, but maybe they can make the sequels just as good as this.
As a genre film it never quite lifts above its genre; so normally I would only give it "nine stars" as a film.
However, as a film within its genre, it is top-of-the-line - so it gets a ten.
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