Bonding with Bond, Day 23: Casino Royale (2006)

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 12, 2008 | Comments

Daniel Craig is the new 007, and he is one determined agent. He’s grimy and dark, but stylish and sensitive. And he’s really good at killing people.

Casino Royale (2006) 95%


I am going to be honest here: the first and only time I saw Casino Royale two years ago, I was underwhelmed by it. Yes, I had certain ideas in mind about what Bond was like, and when Daniel Craig was chosen as the new 007, even I balked and thought, “I can’t see how he fits into my perception of James Bond.” When my friends all returned from a viewing, however, and told me how much they loved the movie, and how incredible Craig was, I decided I would give it a chance. At the time, I was disappointed, and I don’t honestly recall why. I also retained very little from that movie, which is a testament to how little I cared for it. So, when I re-viewed it last night, I was blown away by how wrong I was.

Initially, I completely forgot that Casino Royale was meant to be a reboot of the franchise, so when the opening scene makes mention of Bond just recently being granted “double-0” status, it immediately jogged my memory. Similar revelations would occur later in the film when Bond “acquires” his classic Aston Martin DB5, and when he meets Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) for the first time — since I finally had some context, I reacted to this meeting with a giddy, “Ohhh, that’s Felix Leiter!” This was a giddiness I didn’t experience the first go-round, and it would characterize several moments throughout the film for me.


There were some things I noticed in Casino Royale that recalled elements from the series as a whole, and these were again things I didn’t pick up on without the full context. First of all, while the early parkour chase scene was incredibly shot and choreographed, it demonstrated a continuance of Bond’s habit of recklessness, as he not only destroys an entire construction site in Madagascar, but also storms into the grounds of an embassy and shoots an unarmed man on camera. Next, there’s also the disposable mistress-of-a-bad guy who he beds for information and who ultimately gets iced. Then, there’s the sophisticated nemesis who’s not only asthmatic but also sports a freaky eye that “weeps blood.” I don’t point these out as flaws; on the contrary, they are dutiful homages to the franchise that reassure us we are indeed seeing James Bond, however different in tone he might be, and I was able to appreciate them in a way I couldn’t when I first saw this movie. When Bond puts on a tux for the first time, for example, and his theme music rises in the background, I cracked a warm smile.

Then there’s the Bond girl, Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd, who plays a crucial role in the film and provides the kind of sexual tension only a few other Bond girls have been able to manage. Her conversations with Bond were some of the most fun dialogue in the movie, and her role was written convincingly enough that when Bond eventually falls for her, I bought it wholesale. The twist at the end adds an even deeper level to her character, making her one of the best Bond girls, period, if not the best.

I also enjoyed M’s role in Casino Royale. Every time I thought to myself, “Gee, that was careless of him,” or “There goes Bond’s libido again,” M pretty much echoed my thoughts and spat them directly at Bond herself. She plays the voice of reason in the movie, and she let me know that the writers were aware of many of the things I’d seen in the previous Bond movies and that this new Bond was bucking the system anyway. This only further reinforced the idea that Bond does not live in an alternate universe of loose logic and no consequences; he simply doesn’t care, and he’s going to do whatever he damn well pleases anyway. In other words, Bond is a badass.

Daniel Craig makes an intimidating 007, but he is not without humor, and Casino Royale isn’t all blood and brooding. The action sequences are all pretty impressive, though some are better than others, and they are spaced out nicely by important plot elements that are engaging to watch in their own right. However, I thought Le Chiffre was a so-so villain, and I can understand some of the criticisms I’ve heard about this movie taking inspiration from the Bourne series. But I don’t fault the makers of Casino Royale for wanting to take Bond in a new direction, because it feels more in line with what modern moviegoers are looking for in an action film. Audiences are smarter and more discerning now than ever, so it makes sense to reboot the franchise with material that hits harder. With all of this in mind, be sure to come back tomorrow for my thoughts on Quantum of Solace.

Favorite line: “Now the world’s gonna know you died scratching my balls!”

Favorite moment: I loved the parkour chase. I thought it was breathtaking even the first time I saw it, and rewatching it last night was no different.

Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

Television Critics Association spanish language Heroines criterion concert Sneak Peek FX on Hulu jamie lee curtis E! Cartoon Network The Arrangement HBO Go Warner Bros. The Walking Dead FXX police drama Animation boxoffice Writers Guild of America First Look OneApp A&E transformers award winner renewed TV shows Marathons sports Amazon Prime laika quibi cancelled Thanksgiving Winter TV scorecard italian Walt Disney Pictures The Purge Super Bowl Star Trek Turner Classic Movies Winners screenings asian-american satire Set visit Mystery stop motion Apple TV+ romance YouTube Red See It Skip It superhero AMC PlayStation Red Carpet 2019 IFC blockbuster DirecTV Amazon Prime Video Mary poppins supernatural Food Network DC Comics Superheroe President Classic Film CW Seed films zero dark thirty Holidays australia Comedy Central Martial Arts aliens MCU RT History WarnerMedia robots ratings Black History Month crime thriller Film directors television Sci-Fi adaptation cancelled TV shows crime Photos Masterpiece BET dark Holiday Avengers 71st Emmy Awards Adult Swim theme song The Academy technology romantic comedy documentary remakes Endgame adventure ghosts 2020 BBC America Family game of thrones Musicals TBS Lifetime Nominations Epix rotten Paramount Network comic halloween tv Toys BAFTA Paramount war talk show japanese Polls and Games Columbia Pictures TCA Winter 2020 emmy awards Rock universal monsters Summer TV Land LGBT hispanic Mary Tyler Moore 24 frames Valentine's Day dceu San Diego Comic-Con Captain marvel nfl biography blaxploitation Elton John BET Awards sequels Reality 2017 spanish werewolf Music Emmy Nominations screen actors guild comic books ID worst movies Women's History Month Academy Awards revenge based on movie Nat Geo sequel canceled video on demand Trophy Talk Year in Review Disney streaming service rotten movies we love free movies kids medical drama nbcuniversal Rom-Com Christmas Sundance Now DC streaming service Amazon Studios Marvel Studios Trivia Pop The Witch tv talk archives zombies Netflix Christmas movies children's TV comics CMT Acorn TV El Rey foreign Sundance TV TruTV chucky travel Mary Poppins Returns Tomatazos Showtime BBC One Nickelodeon Stephen King Discovery Channel New York Comic Con vampires A24 SundanceTV Oscars Extras 21st Century Fox Video Games Tumblr canceled TV shows breaking bad DGA streaming slashers Hulu Calendar witnail true crime 007 HBO Kids & Family HBO Max Fox News TLC Awards best Travel Channel binge PBS First Reviews VH1 disaster Character Guide Lionsgate spy thriller parents movies cooking MSNBC Baby Yoda natural history Tarantino black Disney Plus Pop TV Fall TV RT21 TV renewals Television Academy mission: impossible dogs mutant all-time Biopics Ghostbusters Esquire Brie Larson Crunchyroll indie strong female leads Awards Tour Lifetime Christmas movies cinemax TV GoT cancelled TV series ABC Family Chernobyl Turner Spike Song of Ice and Fire game show book name the review 2015 Sony Pictures Best and Worst child's play Comic Book Vudu TCM SDCC DC Universe richard e. Grant discovery singing competition serial killer Schedule SXSW Shudder Apple nature LGBTQ Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Trailer Starz 20th Century Fox video PaleyFest Spectrum Originals harry potter Pirates independent Bravo joker American Society of Cinematographers anime Mudbound Universal Apple TV Plus series Rocketman TNT what to watch TIFF critics Countdown Country spain Creative Arts Emmys USA Network CBS All Access FX golden globes Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt comiccon south america versus FOX WGN Election YA festival National Geographic psycho Spring TV Cosplay Pride Month Marvel Television docudrama Tubi Syfy Drama Comedy science fiction christmas movies VOD french doctor who mockumentary Box Office Logo teaser sag awards Emmys Mindy Kaling Podcast documentaries GIFs ABC Film Festival facebook franchise YouTube Premium latino GLAAD Arrowverse Opinion Amazon NYCC Certified Fresh APB Black Mirror cops Musical E3 Crackle batman Interview hist Star Wars cartoon cancelled television die hard Teen Rocky cars animated spider-man space CBS Marvel Action YouTube indiana jones sitcom classics TCA Awards 72 Emmy Awards Ovation Infographic MTV IFC Films 2016 diversity toronto obituary Premiere Dates festivals fast and furious History Peacock finale worst Comics on TV period drama political drama VICE zombie politics Shondaland Ellie Kemper thriller hollywood miniseries 45 Fox Searchlight stoner dc Binge Guide Disney scary movies Dark Horse Comics Anna Paquin news Hear Us Out anthology Funimation OWN a nightmare on elm street football CNN crime drama Quiz crossover Reality Competition Fantasy Pixar casting halloween historical drama reboot BBC movie twilight ITV venice green book 4/20 unscripted Britbox Watching Series TCA Cannes X-Men Lucasfilm Netflix stand-up comedy Superheroes dramedy justice league Sundance spinoff toy story cults Western Horror composers social media Disney Channel Hallmark Christmas movies NBC The CW Hallmark comedies elevated horror Pet Sematary Freeform dragons reviews 2018 USA cats psychological thriller Grammys TCA 2017 ESPN Disney+ Disney Plus