Bond is back! After a four year break, James Bond (Daniel Craig) has returned in ‘Casino Royale’ joined by a number of other big stars such as Judi Dench playing M; and Eva Green as Vesper Lynd.
Casino Royale (alternative title: Bond Begins) was released in the UK on the 16th November 2006 with a certificate of 12 – a little light-hearted due to number of bloody and gruesome killings which feature.
On the big screen, Daniel Craig has shown himself more than capable of taking on this British icon: with cool, cruel determination, mesmerising sex appeal, and his destructive way with women. Old Bond fans will agree that he is just too ‘cool’.
This is the story of Bond’s beginning brought forward to the new millennium. Almost the first thing that is seen is a monochrome shot of bond smashing a guy’s skull against a sink in a male restroom. Moments later, another shot from his pistol and his second victim is dead as Bond earns his official double-0 status. Now that he is one of the big-boys he has to tackle his first super-villain: Le Chiffre (played by Mads Mikkelsen) a major accountant and financier to all those terrorists who like blowing things up makes his money by manipulating airline stock prices. M subsequently implies that this would be a motivating factor after 9/11 – a cynical comment that would have amused Fleming himself.
First, Bond starts with tracing who he thinks is a bomb maker through the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo and gets to what has been voted to be the best Bond stunt in the whole of the series. This makes Craig climb on massive 100ft crane, chase this measly bomb maker along the top and then he jumps. Bond follows suit – just making it. A quick scramble and he’s off again. Eventually, they reach the Nambutu embassy, which Bond destroys and subsequently blows to smithereens to escape. With the high-sky long-shot camera angles that are used in this scene it actually does feel like you are right there in that helicopter –you can almost hear the propellers. And in the embassy the point of view shots and medium shots put you right in the middle of the action. Without a doubt, this was, if not the best ever stunt; the best one for a very, very long time.
The information he gains from this ‘average terrorist’ is that his ring leader, Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian) who was an associate of Le Chiffre, was staying in the Bahamas. Unfortunately, he has moved on but Bond still takes advantage of this ‘holiday’ and we get a little teaser of how Bond is in the bedroom. Then, at Miami airport, Bond involves himself in a high speed car, well luggage transporter chase and then kills Alex.
The plot then moves on to display a major Poker game that Bond has to win if he is going to defeat Le Chiffre. It is a stupid idea to suggest that Bond, an über-novice poker player – can and will successfully relieve Le Chiffre of 150 million and in turn remove all of the terrorist’s resources.
The official who has the priveledge of accompanying Bond on this high-stake mission is Miss Vesper Lynd who speaks English in a residual French accent which makes her sound terribly sarcastic constantly. However, she is no run-of-the mill Bond girl; with her sexy head-girl naughtiness and her upside down triangle face.
This Bond is certainly not back to basics. The branding and concealed advertising is still packed in. At one point, towards the end; you can even catch a glimpse of Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin – a major player in product placement. Unfortunately, the gadgets are very few and far between. Apart from the Aston Martin, Bond wins in his first card game: Nothing special – just mobiles and laptops whose graphics travel at the speed of light.
Although, this new movie has possibly lost the main aspects of Ian Fleming’s book, it still has the most important one. Bond gets tortured by Le Chiffre – naked. This scene is one of the few which cause me to sit and wonder about the certain nature of 007’s fan base. And these wonderings are definitely not defeated by Bond emerging from the sea in bright blue swimming trunks. However, after a few erotic sparks from Vesper, Bond very sweetly declares his passion to her only. Sadly, Bond is doomed to a broken heart which cleverly links to all the other films in which 007 is condemned to short and poor romances.
It is definitely a must see film – although the gadgets and the wit have been cut and the emotion has been pumped up a couple of notches it is still a great Bond film. Regretfully, the classic theme tune (written by David Arnold) was left to the finishing credits and therefore the majority of the audience missed it. Otherwise – awesome. I certainly hope that Craig continues this role for films to come because he could definitely make it work. I’ll say it again – it is definitely a must-see film it’s the champion of recent Bond adventures – and may be the champion of Bond’s adventures to come