Saturday, December 02, 2006

Casino Royale

James Bond begins.

Casino Royale is the much needed reboot of the classic Ian Fleming series.

When last we saw James Bond he was running around with a half naked Halle Berry, in some kind of ice castle, shooting laser beams, and driving in an invisible car.

Needless to say it was time for some old school cooking.

Much of the controversy surrounding the film was with the casting of Daniel Craig.

For whatever reason, people didn't think James Bond when they looked at him.

Although I myself was not terribly excited about the prospect of him taking over the role. (I was hoping for Clive Owen.)

I was looking forward to his performance.

I was aware of his good work from watching Layer Cake, Road to Perdition, and last year's Munich. Although he wasn't my first choice, I knew he was an excellent character actor who would give the role an interesting, grounded spin on the character.

If anything I was worried that the script would not be up to his standards, that it would resemble a Saturday morning cartoon, like the past couple of films masquerading as James Bond movies.

At best, I was hoping for decent fun, some chuckles, and fun eye candy.

I didn't expect to be blown away

How wrong I was.

This may be the best James Bond film in my lifetime.

After seeing Bond get his necessary two kills to become a secret agent, Casino Royale recounts the first mission by James Bond after achieving his double O status.

Fighting terrorism, high stakes poker, breathtaking action, some old fashioned torture, and the breaking of some hearts all follow, with a renewed, fresh, passion for the material.

It's hard to believe, but Daniel Craig may eventually go down as the best Bond.... ever. To be honest after seeing his performance, it's now hard for me to picture anyone else....except of course for a young Sean Connery, play the role so well.

It is a throw back performance that really delves into the dark side of being a British secret agent who has a license to kill....with extreme prejudice.

Make no mistake. This isn't a guy to be messed with.

Daniel Craig's James Bond is affable, yet cold blooded, cruel, and most importantly scary.

He's not someone a person would like to bump into late at night in an alley.

He's more likely to rip one's throat out, then to shake one's hand.

When a bartender asks this James Bond if he wants his Martini shaken or stirred. He replies, "Do I look like I care?", with enough venom that it leaves the bartender shaken.

This isn't joke telling Bond, this is a killer with a black heart.

This is a Bond who'd kick the shit out of Vin Diesel's XXX, while eating his breakfast, and tying his shoes, and not think twice about it.

Being in his presence is like being with the Grim Reaper.

Death is lurking.

Besides Daniel Craig's performance, much credit has to go to the script by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade, with a polish by Paul Haggis.

The movie has everything we want in a Bond film.The script is intelligent, suspenseful and action packed all with a fresh perspective.

When it seems like there's too much action, the movie shifts gears and becomes a love story, and suspenseful thriller.

The action is also reality based. Lots of hand to hand combat, old school espionage, and very little gadgetry.

This is a world grounded in reality, rather than fantasy.

The supporting cast is also excellent especially Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, and Mads Mikkelsen as the terrorist Le Chiffre.

Adding a nice dynamic is the return of Judi Dench.

With Daniel Craig's interpretation of a heartless, killer who uses women to obtain his goals. It's nice to see him play off of the strong female authority figure of M. This relationship is not played for laughs like the last couple of films. There is obvious, awkward tension between the two, and an almost disdain for what each other represents.

They don't like each other.

But they realize that they must work together as a team in order to achieve their goals.

Everything is all really tied together well by Martin Campbell's direction.

He has some experience delivering good Bond films.

Pierce Brosnan's best Bond film Goldeneye was also directed by Campbell. The movie has a nice blend of the familiar, and a fresh perspective. Some highlights include an amazing foot chase through a construction site, and a torture scene that is both painful, and hilarious to watch. There's a lot going on in this film, almost too much. There's enough to fill two films, but it all comes together nicely under his fine, tight, direction.

The movie is a definite must see, and looks primed to land on my top ten list for the year.

Make sure to check it out.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm not sure I can call him a better Bond than Connery, but he's certainly a close second .. I just hope he's now taking some well-deserved time off to gloat to all the haters who doubted he could pull this off