Sunday, November 7, 2010
Movie of the Week
CASINO ROYALE (2006)
Starring- Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench
This time of year makes me eager to watch James Bond movies because since 1995 a 007 movie has come out every couple of years around Thanksgiving time. Since there won't be a new one this year due to financial issues with MGM (see my last blog entry), I will review one that came out four short years ago. Like many, I was very skeptical about Daniel Craig taking over as 007, but I tried to be objective as I went to see the film on opening day.
Casino Royale marked a reboot of the 44 year old series, telling the story of James Bond's first mission as a 00 agent. After dispatching two enemies in the pre-titles sequence, Bond gets his license to kill and we finally get to see the target of the famous gunbarrel sequence. What follows is one of the most innovative and fun titles sequences in the series, accompanied by a great song. I remember feeling immediately reassured once the first five minutes had gone by because I knew I was in for a special experience.
Bond's main mission in the film is to financially take down the banker behind the world's terrorists in a high stakes poker game. The banker in question is the slimy LeChiffre, an inhaler toting, blood weeping poker genius who has some tough customers for clients. Bond succeeds in setting up the game, but gets distracted by the mysterious and beautiful treasury officer, Vesper Lynd, who is in charge of 007's poker money. The action is very fast paced to start in this film, but slows down when the story focuses on the card game. Veteran Bond director Martin Campbell does a nice job of peppering in some fights around the poker game, as well as ratcheting up the tension as the stakes get higher.
Vesper and Bond fall in love over the course of the film, and it becomes clear why the James Bond we know and love is somewhat closed off with women after his experience in Casino Royale. Even though this film differs from the book in the details, the main characters and sequences are retained, and we see the character of Bond evolve before our eyes. The tragic ending sets up 007's future as an agent and leaves some interesting threads for films to come. We know now what happens thanks to Quantum of Solace, but until that film came out I couldn't wait to see James Bond's next mission with the great Daniel Craig playing the part.
Things to watch for-
Free running on a construction site in Madagascar
Aston Martin DB5
Bond has an itch
Felix Leiter- a Brother from Langley
Chris Cornell's song "You Know My Name"
"How did he die?"