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

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