007, Casino Royale, Dame Judi Dench, Daniel Craig, Eva Green, George Lazenby, Ian Fleming, James Bond, Mads Mikkelsen, Never Say Never Again, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Thunderball, Timothy Dalton
The Less Desirables Movie of the Week was Casino Royale. Not the 1967 clunker that was MGM’s stab at spoofing. Not that that wasn’t a cool ride back then, but it really had nothing to do with James Bond. This is the 2006 version of awesomeness.
I’m a huge 007 fan and I was excited that Eon Productions was doing a “relaunch” of the James Bond series. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed everything that came before it (with the exception of Never Say Never Again, which was a blasé offshoot of Thunderball) and I loved every guy playing Bond: Connery, Moore, Brosnan; I even liked Lazenby (who should have been in more than one) and, yes, I even liked Dalton. But, with this film, especially being based on one of the last books that Fleming actually wrote, and even more especially since it was the very first one, it was an opportunity to go back to the beginning, tone down the gimmickiness (I loved the gimmicks, but c’mon) of it, start anew; fresh.
And we got a new Bond. This Bond is the way I read Bond in the Fleming novels. Daniel Craig plays him a little more rugged, rough around the edges and even more anti-establishment than his predecessors. To me, Daniel Craig is James Bond. So, from the beginning, Bond isn’t yet a 00. He has to earn that distinction with two kills, which he does get, obviously. But, it shows Bond thwarting a terrorist attack at an airport and then having to take down a known terror financier, Le Chiffre, played by NBC’s Hannibal‘s Mads Mikkelsen, by beating him in a high-stakes game of Texas Hold ‘Em.
This film is fast-paced and more closely filmed than others in the past. The violence is a little more realistic than cartoonish, the way that some of the past Bond films have seemed; not that it detracts from those films, at all. Most everything is on point with this one. The ending does drag on a bit, but overall the film was spectacular. And Eva Green as Vesper Lynd? Great choice.
Perhaps one aspect of the book that was toned down in the film was the genital torture scene. I believe in the book it was much more violent and longer. However, I believe that scene, in the book, helped define the overall toughness that was characteristic of future Bond stories and films. It’s portrayed well in the film but I think the realistic thing was to tone it down from the book. I don’t think anyone could have survived it like in the book.
Dame Judi Dench (2 weeks in a row) is here as “M” and spares not the rod when it comes to her cracking down on Bond. She doesn’t believe him worthy of the position, at least she says. I believe she is proud of the young(er) man and is pushing him to his abilities. The film was directed by Martin Campbell, who directed GoldenEye and The Mask of Zorro. His Achilles Heel was Green Lantern, I think. A bold, yet uninspired stab at one of my favorite superheroes, but I digress.
I highly recommend this film as I feel it is certainly THE way James Bond is supposed to be. I watched it on Netflix and I rate it 5 Stars.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I’m sorry. That last hand… nearly killed me.” – James Bond (Daniel Craig), Casino Royale (2006)