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Casino Royale (2006)
What other Bonds?
If you've been following my profile for the past few months, or know me personally, you'll know how excited I was for the new James Bond. I've always been a Bond fan but I only got majorly into the franchise when I purchased the box set in 2003. I do enjoy the films and will be the first one to admit that there have been some cheesy moments in the franchise. From a 57 year old Roger Moore jumping around on the Golden Gate to the Aston Martin "Vanish", the disappearing car in Die Another Day, the franchise has had some low points.
To be absolutely honest, after Die Another Day I feared the franchise was over. It became too far fetched and the script became cheesier than a Bic MacMeal hold the lettuce extra cheese. Then news of a new James Bond arose and the speculation of who would be the new Bond. Everyone had their favourites. I was gunning for Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen or Jude Law. And then Daniel Craig was announced. Along with the rest of the world I thought "Who? Have the producers gone mad?" And then I thought... JB is a multimillion dollar franchise, they know what they're doing (George Lazenby begs the question of if they actually do know).
Finally, the trailer came out and then the excitement REALLY started. I read "Casino Royale" in February. Took me a week to read. It is gripping. I tried to imagine Craig in the role, but considering I had only seen his picture I rented "Layer Cake" and saw "Munich" and ultimately decided "What a Rockstar Bond".
Anyway, I was invited to the screening of Casino Royale last Monday which was to be shown last Friday. I could not sleep on Monday night. I was counting the days. Finally, I got to the preview on Fri morning. First one there, first one in. Took a seat in the middle of the back row and waited... listening to the themes from the other Bonds.
After the longest 30 minutes of my life the film started.
I don't want to spoil anything about the film for anyone, so I won't go into detail. First off, this film is VERY close to the book (the beginning is not in the book, but the main story is directly from the book). A lot of dialogue is straight from the book and most of the scenes are out of the book too.
Daniel Craig rocks. WOW. I was amazed. He IS James Bond. No doubt about it. Silenced the critics. Not for one moment did I think "ya, he's OK but he doesn't have the *insert a character trait* of *insert one of the other Bonds*". In fact, I will go so far as to say "what other Bonds?". Besides for Connery, Craig is the best. He is cold and ruthless, like the character in the book, but he pulls it off so well. There are no cheesy one-liners. In fact, where you'd expect a silly Bond-like chirp, there is nothing. The pre titles sequence is AMAZING. Titles work well with the song. The stunts are incredible and the cast is great. Campbell's direction was classy and everything was SO well placed. All the elements of a James Bond film are there, BUT not in the way you'd expect them. There is only 1 bit of shameless product placement/advertising and 1 scene which borders on cheesy/unrealistic, otherwise its all there.
Another thing I found was that characters of the "new" bond era (Brosnan) that have been around for 10 years now are finally becoming comfortable in their roles. Dame Judy Dench was superb. David Arnold's score was also great (I hated his scores in the Brosnan films). There are Bond veterans still slogging it out on this film such as Peter Lamont (set design) and Chris Corbould (special effects). Oh yeah... and don't miss out on the Richard Branson (2 sec) and producer Michael G. Wilson's (2 minute) cameo appearances.
Throughout the film I had given it an 8/10 in my head... until the very last scene. That notched it up to a 9.75/10. I was on my chair cheering. Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow.
For those of you that think I am a biased, you should reopinionate because as a die-hard fan, I should be the most critical.
This film is fantastic and you would be a fool not to see it..
James Bond is alive and well and he's living at Casino Royale.