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*** 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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you consider yourself a James Bond fan and yet enjoyed this film,
there is a problem.
Just like everyone else, when I first saw that Daniel Craig was to replace Pierce Brosnan in the role, I was a bit confused. His ice cold looks seemed to be quite a stretch from the image we have of James Bond. Maybe "they" know some things I don't about 007, maybe I've been missing something about the character. Plus,the hype around the production was excellent,the rumor was that the filmmakers have decided to be more daring in many aspects. Nothing wrong with that, as a long as you know what you're doing.
But at the very first frame of the film,my original skepticism re-emerged:
The opening scene happens in a sombre black and white cold war setting in which Bond makes no spectacular entrance, chatting with his enemy and finishing the mission with his fists inside a...dirty public restroom. Then Bond spins around, aiming his gun at the camera, taking the classic pose. Right then, I couldn't help myself but noticing the restroom tiles in the background(!) and this blond muscular hunk in the center of the screen suggesting: " I am your NEW James Bond!". "Not yet,gentlemen" did I think.
Still, let's give them a second chance, here comes the long-awaited opening credits. A beautiful animation of paisley patterns and stylized men fighting in slow-motion,turning into flying hearts,spades,clubs and diamonds at each blow. But something is missing: where are the gorgeous nude feminine silhouettes? Where are the girls? Gone !!! Why???!!! At this point, I feared the worst: did the producers decide purposely to get rid of everything we actually loved about James Bond?!
But here comes hope:James Bond chases a man through a building site,climbing on cranes, jumping and falling hard. Great, this might not be a real James Bond flick, but at least, we're in for some good entertainment. Right?
Wrong: The rest of the film is nothing but a long (two and a half hours long!)demonstration on how to annihilate a movie landmark character.
No Monneypenny,no "Q",no "R", and every time "M" (Judi Drench) appears on the screen, the ONLY thing she ever does is begging Bond to stop doing what he's doing and come back to his senses. Yet,all I could hear from her was: "What have you done to James Bond? Who are you, blond man?! Why don't you ever smile? Why don't you ever say anything witty? How come the only gadget you use is a cell phone? How dare you wreck THE 1964 Aston Martin in only 3 minutes? How could you fall in love with such a boring girl? What do you want from us? Bring us back England's most precious hero!"
The other characters barely exist: The villain, named Le Chiffre, is a card player who's task is to finance terrorism by playing poker. Does he cheat ? no. Why? He might be a villain, but will not take his cruelty as far as... cheating! We know he's the villain since his left eye bleeds once in a while and he acts like everything is fine. Who knows,maybe someday,we'll get to see a villain who plays Monopoly with a runny nose. So scary.
Then I thought: "I get it! His damaged eye is in fact a technological wonder that allows him to see the other player's cards thanks to the mysterious blond girl, in the background, who's eye is a camera placed surgically inside her head and feeds Le Chiffre with her own vision! Great!". Was I right ? Of course not, that would be something you'd see in a James Bond film...
But here comes the most sacrilegious scene EVER to come out of a James Bond film:
James Bond (let's keep using this name, for the lack of a better one) is taken prisoner and dragged in a basement, he is entirely stripped from his clothes and attached on a chair without a seat, letting 007's "genitals" dangling from underneath (Yes,you heard right). Le Chiffre proceeds to swing a large heavy rope and hits her majesty's favorite secret agent's nuts over and over. Bond screams in pain but does not reveal the bank account number. What a man. Does he escape? Does he fight back in the most ingenious manner and eliminates his torturer? No, he passes out and wakes up in a hospital.
The torture may have stopped for Bond, but increases for me: Bond finds comfort in the arms of his girlfriend Vesper (yes, girlfriend) who tells him, to rebuild his pride, that even if the only thing left from him was his little finger, she would still love him. To which, the emasculated James Bond replies (watch out, humor coming your way): "That's because you know what I can do with my little finger." Can we please stop talking about mister Bond smashed testicles and go on with this never-ending-going-nowhere-story?! And don't we know that if Bond was ever blown to smithereens, the only thing left from him should precisely be his genitals?
There were other problems with the film of course,such as the boring story, and the fact that the casino (which seemed to be the perfect setting for a James Bond film) turned out to be so poorly exploited.
Giving this film one star might not be fair (do you ever read a review unless it has a 1 or a 10 star rating?),but the main problem goes beyond the bad choices added by the filmmakers throughout the film. The problem is that the film was made with the wrong "spirit" and doesn't take in consideration that, unlike other movies, James Bond belongs more to the public than to its makers, and that this rare fact deserves to be honored.
Don't mess with MY James Bond.
Though it doesn't care too much about the series' continuity (it's supposed to be Bond's first mission as a 00 agent, but it takes place after the Cold war and Judi Dench is already M), "Casino Royale" is a great re-creation of the series. Cool action, great thrills and a more humane Bond more than make up for the purported lack of gadgets. Daniel Craig plays Bond as a rough secret who only gradually acquires the class and cold demeanor we all know and love. He makes mistakes in the course of his mission, but that makes him even more of a hero. Although I found it hard at first to cope with Craig's looks, he is more than suitable as the character. Bond is portrayed as a man with flaws and weaknesses, which makes him look even stronger. The story is not your usual Bond plot and relies more on classical thrills than technology, though the action is extremely hard-boiled. Kudos to the creepy Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd for creating remarkably believable characters. A definite must-see for Bond fans : it should reconcile at last Ian Fleming aficionados and fans of the film series !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, as a fan of earlier 007 movies I was hoping for a restoration of
the standard that was set with Sean and Roger. Not only was casino
rolaye based off an original Ian Fleming story, but reviews gave praise
to the storyline and Daniel Craig portrayal of Bond, and so I went into
the movie theatre with high expectations.
These expectations where soon pretty much crushed.
Here are the following things I disliked about the movie:
Daniel Craig's performance did not do 007 justice. He was dull, unwitty, and had absolutely no charisma for such a role.
Craig and Greens chemistry was horrible and the plot was disjointed and did not have the flow of some of the better Bond films. No gadgets, no Q, no decent action sequences.
Shameful product placement. Every agent, terrorist, contact and bond villain whipped out there sony ericsson mobile every chance they got, not to mention several sony vaio laptops and sony blueray disc players. I was actually shocked to see that M was pawning Bond on need for speed carbon on a PS3. Seriously though, they must of shown every model phone they have they even had my K700i (which is probably the worst piece of technology I have ever bought by the way). There was also a crack about what type of watch Bond wears:
BOND: "Did you know that I'm a gaybo?" VESPER: "Really, but the thing I wanted to know is the brand of your watch?" BOND: "OMEGA!!!" Bond turns and smiles at the camera.
Another issue I had with this movie was the amount of screen time Daniel Craig was either nude or partially nude, this was not good as I had lunch just before I watched this. Also, call me old fashioned, but I really don't need to see 007 stripped naked and whipped in the nuts repetitively... I'm just funny like that.
Sooooo, there it is. Please don't go see this movie or you will be the one who cries blood.
Casino Royale is a major step-up from the flamboyant Die Another Day.
Pierce Brosnan has been replaced by a young-ish Daniel Craig, there is
no Q, no campy gadgets, no silly naked women silhouettes in the opening
credits, no world-dominating super-colossus villains, no Miss
Funnyfanny (or whatever), and no silly one-liners after killing bad
guys. Basically everything that can date Bond film very quickly is
gone. I never expected international espionage to look the way it has
in past few Bond outings and I'm glad someone had the balls to go back
to the hard-edged nature of the series, last seen in Licence to Kill.
The longest Bond movie so far, at 145 minutes, but it breezes by even though it reigns in on the normally excessive action scenes and depicts spying a more 'mundane' and 'realistic' manner (or at least as true as the series has been so far). But the one-thing that bugs me about action movies, particularly the Bond franchise, is that they are, most of the time, childish male fantasies with an indestructible hero who has fun shooting up the place and beds beautiful women. I would like something new for a change but Casino Royale does have Bond get hurt and go through more pain than he has previously.
Daniel Craig got a lot of hassle over his casting as Bond but not only does he have his youth as an advantage (he's the first 30-something to be cast in the role since Lazenby), he's also pretty damn trim, has the intensity Brosnan lacked and is surprisingly loose in a role that usually requires actors to be stiff and unemotional. It's also good to a fresh face in the role and who cares if he is blonde? Or the shortest actor to play him so far? I would have preferred that composer David Arnold went too. They didn't seem to be holding back on the amount of regular production team members who got axed. Even Vic Armstrong didn't return. I've never liked Arnold's work on the movies and I hate to think of it as something that's now exclusively HIS baby.
Unfortunately, as good as this fresh start to the franchise was, all of the goodwill that director Martin Campbell earned was completely undone by the follow-up Quantum of Solace, which is not only the worst Bond film so far, but one of the worst action films, and one of the worst films overall, that I have ever seen.
If Craig and Co. ever get around to making another, they've got a LOT to make up for.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I walked into the theaters to see this movie I was not expecting
much, but, Wow, what a piece of crap!
This movie does in no way meet the high standards set by the other Bond movies. Some say that it is still a good action flick, but hey, which movie did those people watch? Well, I suppose not this movie, or they've maybe fallen asleep during those awfully boring poker scenes. That would explain how some say, that it could go through as a "good" action movie. Because if you cut out that poker crap, you really have some decent action here, but those fifteen minutes can't help the movie.
So, in order to help those fans, that still want to see the movie, to save some money, I'll round up the story now:
Bond kills one guy in a loo, then kills another guy in an office.
Bond kills a terrorist after chasing him. (Until now roughly ten minutes have passed)
Bond plays Poker, and does some advertising for SONY, OMEGA and FORD. (Now there are only 20 minutes to the end)
The bad guy captures Bond and his Lady, tortures him and gets killed by another bad guy that has not yet been introduced to us.
Bond awakes in a hospital, travels to Venice with his girl. A house collapses, she gets killed and Bond kills the other bad guy that inexplicably seems to be the mastermind.
And I paid money for that!
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