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Casino Royale More at IMDbPro »

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132 out of 243 people found the following review useful:

Not your father's James Bond

Author: villard from United States
23 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, this is the 21st century. So, maybe it's time for even the Bond genre to get a tune-up for new generation audiences. At least that's what the producers thought.

But the New Bond is as disappointing as New Coke. Nothing beats the original.

For starters, the producers seemed to make sure to keep everything out of the screenplay for "Casino Royale" that made the Bond series unique, exciting, engaging and fun.

The so-called "Bond formula" balanced sadism with sensuality, and ironic humor. Sadly missing from this film too are the other Bond staples: gadgets, buxom blonds, and wonderful little quips and double entendres. This all gave the Bond series a comic book adventure cadence and buoyancy. It didn't take itself too seriously.

But "Casino Royale" jettisons all this and just keeps slogging along with relentless action scenes, brutality, banality and not much else. Yes, the action scenes are astutely choreographed, filmed and edited. But they are needed to shore up a saggy, dragged-out and somewhat convoluted plot.

The opening immediately warns you that this is not "classic" Bond. It sets the film's heavy tone. Bond brutally assassinates two criminals, one by drowning in a lavatory sink, in black-and-white film noir, no less. By contrast in the "Goldfinger" (1964) prequel, Bond blows up a narcotics operation, changes into a tux, romances a cabaret dancer, and easily dispenses with an assassin, all the before the opening credits.

The opening credits of "Casino Royale" alone are another warning. There is not one stylized silhouette of a female model, which was the glamour signature in almost all Bond films. Instead, we just have silhouettes of guy shooting each other and bleeding in Technicolor across the screen. Yuck!

What's horribly pretentious is that the whole film tries to chronicle the apprentice Bond's transition into a 007 assassin. But it's as contrived and unconvincing as Anakin Skywalker's metamorphosis into Darth Vader. And, in the end it's even sappier than the brief marriage of George Lanzenby's Bond to Dianna Rigg in the 1969 "on Her Majesty's Secret Service."

Frankly, I'm not Bond's psychologist and so I really don't care to delve into life's little traumas that shaped 007. I'm content with accepting that he just grew up that way.

Daniel Craig is terribly miscast as Bond. He's a blue collar Bond. He looks self-conscious in a tuxedo. He's too hard chiseled in appearance for the debonair Bond as invented by Ian Flemming.

Craig could have just as easily been cast as one of the villains in the film. His strident, driven demeanor reminds me a little bit of Donovan Grant, the SPECTRE assassin played by Robert Shaw in the 1963 "From Russia with Love." Craig is humorless, and too much on the edge for my tastes. Actually, his squinty eyes, big upper torso, and gait reminds me a little of Popeye the Sailor.

Like the Timothy Dalton Bond, he has no sense of playfulness either. His romantic side seems forced in the film's few dull and gratuitous lovemaking scenes. And, the women cast to play opposite him in this film can barely gain admission into the sorority of Bond babes.

Equally lackluster is Mads Mikkelsen's portrayal of high-roller Le Chiffre. He doesn't fit into the shoes of previous legendary bond villains such as Goldfinger, Largo, and Blofeld. Frankly, Mikkelsen is just plain creepy, but not scary. As the top bad guy he seems to be on Valium most of the time.

The silly torture scene at the end is also out of character for him. Mikkelsen doesn't have any of the bully, bluster and swagger of the classic Bond villains. Please give me just one script line like Goldfinger's: "I expect you to die Mr. Bond!" Ho hum.

All of this makes for just another forgetful spy movie with lots of fists and blood and guts, nothing more. It's wrapped itself in the James Bond mystique – which will guarantee a good box office – but pays no homage to the genre.

It's too bad the creators felt they hand to change such a celebrated formula that has sustained the popularity of Bond series for nearly four decades.

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69 out of 119 people found the following review useful:

A great Bond film? Maybe if you hate the other twenty

Author: mightywillg-1 from United Kingdom
30 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let's start by saying my three star rating of this film is an act of generosity on my part, considering it isn't a bad action film, has some exciting sequences and thrilling moments. But though Bond has been synonymous with action for over forty years, the Bond movies have always been about more than that, namely... fun. This film was almost completely devoid of any fun whatsoever, leaving me with the feeling if you can't get a little fun from a Bond film any more, what the hell kinda world are we living in?! I wasn't as sceptical of Daniel Craig as lots of people seemed to be, knowing he is a fine actor, but his total lack of charisma, humour and charm left me hating his guts. Now people will claim "but this is the closest to Ian Flemings original version of Bond that we've yet seen, and that makes him a good Bond, maybe even the best." But it's always been a clear and obvious fact that the Bond films have never had much in common with Flemming's novels except for the titles, yet it has still become one of the most beloved film franchises of all time; Obviously not beloved enough to stop them taking over forty years of tradition and mythology (the one liners, the gadgets, the over-the-top villains and their over-the-top deaths)and flushing it all down the friggin' toilet! Yes, Die Another Day was a step too far in making things over the top - an invisible car being just one example - but that's no reason to just scrap the whole franchise in terms of what it represents.

Like I said, Bond films SHOULD be about having fun, not leaving the cinema feeling horribly depressed and miserable. A James Bond who stares questioningly at himself in the mirror after killing a bad guy, in a "what am I turning into" kinda way?! Screw that! Bond should kill a guy, make a glib joke, then look for the next scumbag that needs killin'. A Bond who falls in love then cries his eyes out when she dies? Even George Lazenby took the same thing with a little subtle dignity, and they'd just got married! And please, consider this - can you imagine Roger Moore, Connery, or even Dalton, strapped to a chair naked, getting their balls smashed to pieces, screaming their head off like a lunatic? No, because that... is... NOT... FUN!!!

There was a brief glimmer of hope when Craig returns from the near death poisoning experience to the poker table and says "sorry about that, that last hand nearly killed me." I thought, "hooray, James Bond actually made a joke! Only took him a f***ing HOUR!!!!" By the time the end credits start to roll and the Monty Norman theme finally starts to play, it almost seems like a cruel joke of some kind, so far removed is the preceding 140 minutes from what the world has come to recognise as true Bond. Yet, everyone seems to love it, people the world over lapping Casino Royale up like cream from a spy's battered testicles. I guess fun is officially dead, along with the Bond we all grew up with. I certainly shall miss him.

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61 out of 104 people found the following review useful:

"Casino Royale": An Obituary for The James Bond Film Franchise

Author: star-blazer from United States of America
11 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ever notice that the 007 films produced after "Goldeneye" seem to get worse and worse in significant critical, creative respects like screenplay quality, casting decisions, etc.? With "Casino Royale," the franchise hits rock bottom. "Casino Royale" is, objectively, the worst James Bond film in the history of the 007 film franchise. Why?

1) Story: Based, more or less, on Ian Fleming's original novel, this unskillful adaptation/update is communicated with a disdain for clarity. The audience is fed too little information, too late (or not at all)—about both character motivations as well as the stakes involved in various action sequences—to remain emotionally engaged and genuinely interested in what's going on.

2) Casting/characterization: lacks conviction and appeal

• Daniel Craig (Bond). Craig's characterization of Bond is charmless, worthless, and disturbingly nihilistic. At one point in the script, Craig's Bond responds to a question with "Do I look like I give a damn?" The answer in "Casino Royale" is overwhelmingly NO. Why on earth, then, should the audience care about him? At another point, he tells Vesper "I have no idea what an honest job is." Is this a credible (or creditable) moral statement to hear from a top-level government secret agent? Craig's monotonously stoic performance is by no means compensated for by his (atrocious) line readings: he articulates rarely, mumbles often. As a result of Craig's hollow Bond interpretation, what should have been the film's ultimate impact moment—007's "Bond, James Bond" confrontation with villainous Mr. White—is surprisingly anti-climactic, prompting a shrug rather than a cheer from this reviewer.

• Eva Green ("Bond Girl," Vesper Lynd). Green's Vesper characterization comes across unwittingly as awkward, unsophisticated. Green looks and acts like a teenager playing at "grown-up." What's missing is the mature presence/feminine poise that typifies the best Bond Girl actresses (e.g. Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, Barbara Bach, Maud Adams, Izabella Scorupco, et al). A self-confessed "complicated woman," Green's Vesper remains maddeningly inscrutable to the end, and her romance with Craig's Bond is ineptly developed and unconvincingly consummated.

• Judi Dench. Her "M" is more unsympathetic than ever. No other actress has ever contributed less charm and more unfemininity to the Bond series than Dame Judi Dench.

• Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre). In Ian Fleming's novel, Le Chiffre is skillfully characterized as an odd, sinister presence. On screen, Mikkelsen's version of Le Chiffre is unimpressive—an effete villain with a blood-weepy eye, but without the twisted charisma that typifies the best Bond screen adversaries (Goldfinger, Blofeld, Mr. Big, Max Zorin, Janus, et al).

3) Script/dialogue. Both in content and tone, the screenplay—like the novel—overwhelmingly projects malevolence: the power of evil; the stress on the tragic and traumatic; all events taking place in a world where no one can or ought to be trusted. And notice how the script flagrantly undercuts James Bond, the ultimate fictional egoist, with the inclusion of damning "anti-ego" lines thrown at him by M and Vesper. The dialogue is cynical, tasteless, and witless.

4) Original Music: Chris Cornell's unmemorable opening-credits theme song—"You Know My Name"—lacks color, drama, and excitement. David Arnold's unremarkable score sounds melodramatic and overly derivative, like a cheap John Barry knock off.

5) Producer infamy/creative poverty: Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the film's producers, lacking the vision and ingenuity to advance Bond's personal timeline on screen, reveal their creative bankruptcy by bringing 007 back to the beginning of his secret service career, presenting him in his most unflattering incarnation yet. Out go Bond's cinematically-cultivated charm and conviction. The new Bond is an uninteresting, expressionless, muscle-bound nihilist and a disgracefully vulnerable "hero." The producers deliberately emphasize Bond's vulnerability by subjecting him, incredibly, to cardiac arrest(!) as well as a horrific trial of torture (this latter was a rotten, graphic part of Fleming's original novel). Putting obstacles in a purposeful screen hero's path makes for good drama; but these shocking "Casino-Royale" examples are an extremely sick way to challenge a hero and are certainly artistically unworthy of depiction on screen.

Considering all these points, it is clear that "Casino Royale" is neither value-driven art nor fan-pleasing entertainment. The proof is in the picture.

"Casino Royale" is the highest-grossing Bond film to date. But consider:

1. This fact merely indicates the degree of public curiosity about or interest in James Bond and owes virtually everything to the franchise's longstanding cinematic appeal and reputation (earned by much better films and performances in the series and betrayed dramatically by "Casino Royale").

2. This fact confirms nothing about public satisfaction with or approval of this latest installment.

3. High box-office numbers neither reflect nor establish this film's merit.

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65 out of 112 people found the following review useful:

not a Bond film

Author: fcasnette from United Kingdom
28 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

this is really a Bruce Willis or Arnie film, not a Bond film at all.

The pre-credit sequence is boring with zero humour or panache in Craig's delivery of the punch line.

Judy Dench is looking old and completely out of place in a film that is supposed to go back to the beginnings of Bond. And we have the oldest cliché in the book of Bond at odds with his superior, blah blah, done in every cop film since the dawn of time.

The Sony product placement is just crass throughout for a Sony/Columbia picture. Is this a movie or an advert? The title song is instantly forgettable with lyrics mumbled.

The cartoon credit sequence is the poorest graphics since Dr No, simply boring with no imagination or wow factor. It looks cheap compared to the great graphics we have come to expect and makes the whole film look cheap compared to greater Cubby Brocolli efforts.

Craig is not debonair, tall, dark or handsome and has no wit or class, totally miscast as Bond. He would be better as the villain's No 2 henchman rather than Bond.

The idea that the world's terrorists depend on a legitimate casino game to fund their activities is as ludicrous as Moonraker's laser guns or Die Another's invisible car, but this is the whole plot of the film.

There are 3 good action sequences and the rest is FAR too long. The love story bit dialogue between Bond and Vesper particularly is yawn inducing with no chemistry between the actors on screen, and Vesper's suicide at the end particularly contrived and unbelievable. The whole end sequence of destroying a Venician building shows no imagination and is obviously just tagged on as an afterthought.

In conclusion it's just another formula action film with none of the class and features that make a good Bond film. The hero could have been any cop/agent/private investigator so the whole has none of the distinctive and memorable scenes that always went into a Bond film.

A big disappointment.

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69 out of 122 people found the following review useful:

Oh my god - unbelievable piece of garbage!

Author: Frank Glinski from Germany
5 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where to start? I don't know.., really! But after the "fabulous" black&white "pre title-sequence" (yawn) the newly styled opener came up I was like "okay, let's leave the theater", we didn't, I suffered through some of the worst, 2+ hours of my poor little life. anyway, I don't want to make this too long because this one doesn't deserve it: I just purely hated it, it's not James it's the Broccoli-Clan trying to stay in the cash-flow, the "we tried to modernize the old Bond"-kind of cash-flow. When I saw the first wigged stuntman on the cranes it was really over - don't put money in this, please - it's garbage - sorry lovers!

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89 out of 163 people found the following review useful:

Not a Bond movie

Author: danbert8 from United States
25 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you put a 007 on a movie, it should be a Bond movie, not a generic action flick.

What do YOU think of when you think of Bond? I guarantee it won't be in the movie. Let me give you a summary of what Bond signatures were missing from the film.

1. An exciting, explosion filled intro

Nope, in this movie you could have told me it was Fight Club or Kill Bill and I would have believed you. Some punching in a bathroom, that's about it.

2. Naked silhouettes of women in the opening credits and upbeat music

Try bad CGI rendering of card motifs with a horrible score from someone nobody's ever heard of.

3. Sneaking around

You'd think a spy wouldn't go gun blazing into an embassy, but you'd be wrong. After a chase scene taken straight out of The Matrix, he ends up blatantly walking into the embassy shooting, and not even attempting to kill the cameras. He escapes of course, but ends up in the newspaper (some SECRET agent).

4. A sweet car with an awesome chase scene.

Nope, a Ford Focus. Then when he gets an Aston Martin, he gets up to a high speed goes around one corner, and then flips it a billion times.

5. Gadgets!

Nope, Q didn't even make it into this movie. His gadgets are a cell phone and a defibrillator.

6. A maniacal villain

Nope, just some guy who's bad at manipulating the stock market, and he cries blood, which is kinda wussy.

7. A real game of cards

Baccarat was replaced with Texas Hold 'em, because Hollywood had to try and cash in on every popular trend. However, the poker game is drawn out, has little to do with the plot, and is comically predictable. Who'd have though it'd end with everyone going all in, and each having an even more improbably better hand than the last?

8. Bond chicks

Well there was one hot chick in the movie. She was in the movie for 5 minutes, just long enough for her to explain she is married to a bad guy, but not much else. She was tortured and killed. It's a pity because the Bond girl who Bond falls in love with (if that doesn't kill it, nothing will), is obviously not the kind of action filled girl that a secret agent would go for. More like a nun with a side-boob shot.

9. How about some cool weapons?

Wrong again... 90% of everybody uses a pistol. Of course they have infinite ammo, but doesn't everyone these days? There are maybe 2 or 3 assault rifles in the movie, but Bond doesn't use them. He actually makes most of his kills with his bloody fists.

10. Style

Bond is smooth, a connoisseur, and a ladies man. In this movie, he is a monkey in a suit that has no taste at all.

In the end, it was a 5 out of 10 generic action film. But they put a 007 on it, so I give it a 1, only because a slap for Hollywood isn't an option.

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49 out of 84 people found the following review useful:

Great disappointment - pity (may contain SPOILERS)

Author: wickey from Slovakia
17 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, I just came back from the cinema and I have to admit, that I am a huge James Bond fan and saw all 20 previous movies again in about last 3 weeks as a preparation for this one. So all my statements will be affected by that.

At first (again) the decision to make Craig new Bond is not good I believe. After watching the movie I am definitely convinced. Craig misses the style of Brosnan and Connery and becomes the with Dalton the worst Bond in the series.

Second thing that I could not bare and thought I will leave the theater - the dialogs (especially between Bond and Vesper) - some of them are just like cutted out from some cheap soap opera from 80s.. If there will be a poll about shooting the script writer, I will vote for yes.

Third thing - the plot - I mean I really enjoy the poker game and I like movies about it, but this? The half movie was like - oh, let's play some more poker, it is so much fun and excitement.. Not really my cup of coffee. Anyway multiple endings, absolutely not consistent plot with too many ups and downs..

Fourth thing - product placement. I know, that most of the movies has it, but this was like - oh look at all those Sony Vaio notebooks, that all secret agents have, oh look, he use Omega instead of Rolex ( -__- ) and of course all the vehicles around the world are Ford concern (Ford, Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin, Land Rover..)

Well it was good action movie with some dude, trying to be cool as James Bond, but he just doesn't have it. Pity, that it is a part of the series.

Anyway it is still a bit better, than the last movie Die Another Day. (that one is worst on my list, this one a place above - second worst from all.

6/10 (only for being average action movie and hoping to be better next time.) ________________________ Volvo rulezzz!!!

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76 out of 138 people found the following review useful:

going against the grain, i thought it was dreadful!

Author: cavewoman1948 from United States
29 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

one of the all-time worst. daniel craig looks like a washed-up prizefighter--even has the cauliflower ears. and he's so bulked up (muscle-bound) that his head looks too small for his body. plus he has zero charisma. i understand everyone else they wanted turned down the part, and he was last choice. then they had to cast a lot of really ugly people to try to make him look good by comparison (it doesn't work). the plot is senseless and sloppy. spoilers coming: bond is sent to beat le chiffre at poker so he can't pay off his debts and will have to cooperate with mi5 and the cia. but he's already broke! why not skip the poker game and just bring him in right away? then we would have been spared those long, boring poker sessions. and when bond was poisoned in the middle of the match: who poisoned him, and why? it was never mentioned again! lots of going from one country to another for no particular reason except to show off the scenery and add even more time to this interminably dull movie.

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22 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

An impressively dark, engaging and exciting entry in the Bond series – just what it needed after Die Another Day

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
11 December 2006

Having just achieved his 00 status, James Bond is assigned to uncover a plot by tracking a bomber for hire. The mission could not go worse as Bond kills the man in an embassy in front of CCTV cameras. Removed from the mission by M, Bond nevertheless follows the only lead he has to Miami where he finds himself working round the edges of a plot by criminal Le Chiffre to invest his clients money in the stock market just before an engineered event should send shares in a direction favourable for him.

After the poor CGI and overblown (if fun) affair that was Die Another Day, the series was at risk of just throwing more and more money at the screen in an attempt to exaggerate and increase the Bond formula to keep fans happy. And, in fairness it seems financially to be working for them but this is not to say that the drastically scaled back feel of Casino Royale is not a welcome change of direction for the series, because for me it most certainly was. Opening with a gritty, short and violent pre-credit sequence, the film moves through a cool title sequence with a typically Bondian (if only so-so) theme song. The film then immediately marks itself out as a step away from the previous film by launching on a great action sequence that is as overblown as the series requires but yet is all the better for seeming real – no ropy Die Another Day CGI here. Casting free-runner Foucan was a great move and this sequence was the high for me. After this the film develops nicely with a solid plot that engaged me easily enough, with interesting characters along the way.

Of course this isn't to say that the series has suddenly put out an introspective character piece, because the world of Bond is all still here. So we have superhuman stunts, gadgets (albeit a practical self-defibrillator as opposed to a mini-helicopter) and the usual types of characters going the way we expect. Those expecting this self-styled "reboot" to provide a depth and emotion that isn't there will be disappointed but regardless this does the Bond formula well – fans will enjoy it and those that were turned off by Die Another Day will find it a welcome return to darker territory. With all the fanboys tired from bemoaning Craig, it is nice to actually see for ourselves what he can do and mostly he is very good. He convinces as a heartless killer and has the presence that suggests that he could do ruthless damage if he had to. I was a bit put off by how regularly he pouts but generally he brings a gravitas to the character that it benefits from. Green is a pretty good Bond girl and brings much, much more to the role than Berry did in the last film. Mikkelsen is a good foil for Bond and is given more interest by his lack of stature (he is essentially facing his last role of the dice in several ways). Dench is as solid as ever while Wright makes a shrewd move in a small character that offers more of the same for a few years to come.

Overall then this is not the brilliant, flawless film that many have claimed, but I completely understand why it has been greeted with such praise. Sat beside Die Another Day, it is a wonderfully dark and brooding Bond with great action replacing some of the CGI and gadget excesses of recent times. Those upset at his blue eyes are best left fuming on the net, because Craig is a great Bond – capable of being dark with the violence and offering the potential for more if the material comes to meet him. A refreshing film with the bond formula in place but with a dark and comparatively restrained tone that makes it realistic enough to get into while still existing in the spy fantasy world.

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45 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

James Bond, Not even close

Author: jerryfr40 from United States
4 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie may have been alright for an action movie but it did not even come close to any of it's predecessors. The movie lacked the action, gadgetry, and comedy which has been the trademark of Bond. Thru out this movie Bond makes stupid mistakes and people die because of them. The opening scene was quite good but that was the high point of the movie. It fails to ever achieve that height again. Several times near the end you are led to believe your torture is over only to have it drug out even further. While there are twists the trademark action scenes are nearly non existent. One in the beginning and one near the end. If you are a Bond fan from the days of Connery and Moore you will be terribly disappointed. If you have never seen a Bond movie you may be satisfied with this effort.

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