Editorials

James Bond: From Worst to Best – Casino Royale

Casino Royale

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The beautiful Eva Green and Daniel Craig in classic Bond tux

After the dud that was Die Another Day, the team behind the Bond franchise knew they had to go in another direction. One proposed direction was to take it back to the series roots and start with Ian Fleming’s first Bond story, Casino Royale, and to start the character anew. Another direction was proposed by Quentin Tarantino himself who wanted to keep Pierce Brosnan as Bond, script a grittier Casino Royale story, and shoot it in black and white. While I would have LOVED to see that version, I can’t say I am disappointed at all in the direction they went. This is the first official reboot of 007 and it is exactly what the franchise needed at the time. It needed a fresh face, a new take on the character, no gadgets, and getting back to basics with real stunts and no CGI. This, along with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is probably the best James Bond story that has been told thus far. It’s engaging, tense, emotional, and entertaining while it is 100% true to the character we have come to know and love.

 

Bringing back director Martin Campbell for this film was a stroke of genius. They first brought him in when the series needed another punch-up in 1995’s Goldeneye. The man knows how to tell a good story and has a real eye for fun and exciting set pieces. Along with Sam Mendes, I would say he is the best, and most consistent, director that has entered this franchise. The action sequences here are extremely well done, with the post-credits foot chase being one of the best action beats in the series. This was before the messiness of Quantum, here you can see everything that’s happening… no shaky cam here. This is an all-around fun Bond flick and feels like one of the classics Sean Connery himself would have starred in. It’s got a great story, interesting characters, humor, heart, action and espionage, not to mention one of Bond’s greatest love interests in Vesper Lynd. Eva Green perfectly portrays this character with subtle strength and a sweet vulnerability. Craig and Green have a fantastic chemistry together and you really feel the heartbreak Bond feels at the close of the story. At the end of this film he really is the Bond we have come to know and love, which Campbell perfectly encapsulates in the final scene…it’s just too bad that it’s another two films before we get to that Bond.  james-bond-casino-royale-mads-mikkelsen

Everything simply works in this film. From the action to the catchy Bond song in the title sequence to Craig’s new take on the classic character. Mads Mikkelsen, one of my absolute favorite actors, really makes the most of his character. He doesn’t overplay his evilness, but has perfected that subdued creepiness we came to love in the Hannibal series. The midsection of the film is really just a long poker game (smart move to make it Texas Hold ’em and not Baccarat, because nobody would understand what was happening for about 45 minutes). It’s actually a very well staged gambling scene, interspersed with a couple of intense action sequences. This is a Bond film that will leave you pumped once the final credits roll. Casino Royale is a perfect return to form for the series and is the soft reboot I think we all needed. How the Craig films work in the timeline is a mystery to me, but I have absolutely no complaints.

Worst to Best so far:
24. Live & Let Die
23. The Man with the Golden Gun
22. A View to a Kill
21. Die Another Day
20. Octopussy
19. Moonraker
18. Diamonds are Forever
17. Quantum of Solace
16. Licence to Kill
15. The World is Not Enough
14. You Only Live Twice
13. For Your Eyes Only
12. The Living Daylights
11. Thunderball
10. Tomorrow Never Dies
9. SPECTRE
8. The Spy Who Loved Me
7. Dr. No
6. From Russia with Love
5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
4. Casino Royale

1 reply »

  1. CR was a very difficult movie to watch. Daniel Craig has no emotion, acts like a immature 40 years old man who doesn´t know how to dress and his looks are far away from the elegant and charming. He is just brute and short. He is so unfit for 007 that he had to workout a lot to be accepted as a “though guy”. In the casino scenes he looks as a sick (is he cold with that red nose ?) man all the time. I don´t consider Craig as 007 and didn´t watch his other movies in the series and I don´t intent to.

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