is one of my favourite Bond films, along with the films directed by Terence Young and Peter Hunt, the Timothy Dalton films, and GoldenEye
. In 2006, I had been a Bond fan for a few years, seen most of the films, and read all of Ian Fleming's novels, but Casino Royale
was my first of the films in a theatre.
I was not disappointed. It's packed with more sex, sadism, and snobbery than any of the films since the '60s, and it’s full of iconic moments: Bond earning his 00 status, the parkour, the shower scene, the record-setting car crash, the torture. The novels are recalled in the sun-and-sand Bahamas locale and in the characters taking time to enjoy food, drink, and conversation. And all this held together by a Bond that combines the magnetism of Connery with the vulnerability of Dalton.
However, the film isn't flawless. The central poker game is interrupted one time too many, and on a rewatch, I found myself wishing for a version of the movie without the gimmicky car defibrillator scene. And so began my desire to edit Casino Royale
. In my fanedit, that scene is gone – along with much of the film's excessive action. The parkour continues too long after its real climax (the crane jump); the airport sequence seemingly stops and starts as Bond jumps onto and then off and then back onto a moving truck; and the Venice sinking house is an overlong mess. I've removed long sections and entire stunts from these sequences.
I also took issue with the film's characterization of Bond. Casino Royale
is meant to be a reboot of the character a la Batman Begins
, but the idea of Bond as a hotheaded rookie is completely at odds with the casting of 38-year-old Daniel Craig. Bond is a new 00, sure, but he shouldn't be a young man or a rookie agent. He would have worked in the Navy and Secret Service for years before getting 00 status. So I've cut references to Bond being a young man and/or rookie agent; references to Bond being a hitman or thug (he's more of a saboteur and provocateur than anything); and much of the unprofessional hostility between Bond and M (some trust issues are understandable, but not to the extent the original film depicts). Instead of all this "Bond Begins" gimmickry, the film now focuses on Bond's character arc of learning to see the big picture.
Lastly, I have worked on the characters of Vesper and Mathis. I have edited Vesper's introduction to make the conversation seem less artificial, and I have removed the oft-derided romantic dialogue in the last act. As for Mathis, I have cut his most obvious exposition during the poker game, as well as the film's disingenuous hints that he betrayed Bond.
The result of my changes is Casino Royale: The Big Picture
, a fanedit that presents a more mature and true-to-form Bond, a more believable romance, and action sequences more proportionate to their storytelling function.
The film is now 126 min. instead of 144 min. Here's a full list of changes:
- Replaced film version of "You Know My Name" with Pop Mix version. Pop Mix has many virtues: opening is more full-blooded with prominent electric guitar; softer first verse allows horns and strings to be heard; tambourine in chorus is more exciting; drums sound heavier.
- Trimmed parkour sequence for length. Ends faster after the crane jump.
- Cut guards shooting at embassy. Excessive and unnecessary after the parkour sequence.
- Cut Le Chiffre and Kratt's conversation on boat. Cut to remove confusing and corny dialogue.
- Cut M ranting in Parliament. Unprofessional of her to shout and swear about the 00 section in public.
- Cut line "I knew it was too early to promote you" (M). In this edit, Bond is not a rookie or a young man.
- Cut M lecturing Bond about arrogance and ego. See above.
- Cut Bond driving Ford Mondeo. Not Bond's kind of car.
- Cut Bond using M's name and password on MI6 website in the Bahamas. Bond isn't so disrespectful as to violate M's privacy again.
- Trimmed airport sequence for length. Carlos hijacks the fuel truck sooner, and Bond stays on the truck until the sequence's end.
- Trimmed shot of Bond smiling after killing Carlos. Bond takes no pleasure in killing.
- Cut line "Do you want a clean kill or do you want to send a message?" (Bond). Bond is not a bloodthirsty hitman.
- Cut line "Trust me, I wish it wasn't the case" (M). Bond has been promoted to 00, so M should have faith in him.
- Cut several of Vesper's lines on the train. Conversation sounds more natural.
- Cut Bond finding defibrillator in Aston Martin. Not needed, as heart attack later is cut.
- Cut Vesper giving Bond a tailored dinner jacket. Bond knows how to dress himself.
- Cut line "That's not half bad, I'm gonna have to think of a name for that" (Bond). Not the first time Bond has ordered his signature martini.
- Cut line "Look, it's the tell, he is bluffing" (Mathis). This is obvious.
- Cut line "Bond will have to go all-in to call his bluff" (Mathis). Also obvious.
- Cut Bond's heart attack. Distracts from the poker game and has almost no consequence on the story.
- Cut Bond and Vesper talking beside poker table after game ends. Contains a reference to Bond's heart attack.
- Cut line "I'm afraid your friend Mathis is really my friend Mathis" (Le Chiffre). Le Chiffre has no reason to mislead Bond regarding Mathis.
- Cut Mathis walking up to Bond in hospital bed. Cut to remove David Arnold's ridiculous "sinister" music.
- Cut Bond and Vesper's conversation after line "If you'd just been born, wouldn't you be naked?" (Bond). Cut to remove unnatural dialogue and to emphasize Bond and Vesper's rebirth as lovers.
- Cut Bond shooting guard while following Vesper. Cut for pacing.
- Trimmed sinking house sequence. Sections removed and reordered for coherence and pacing.
- Cut Bond suggesting Mathis might still be guilty. Bond has no reason to believe this.
- Cut M's lines about Bond not trusting anyone. Not a core concept of the character, or an idea that emerges naturally from the story.
- Replaced end credits version of "You Know My Name" with "Vesper." Ends the film on a more sober note.
- Colour correction to lessen saturation and tinting throughout. The original colour grading often looks cheap and garish.
- Cropped out product placement throughout. Way too many Sony cellphones.
- Other minor cuts as needed.
If you're interested in checking out Casino Royale: The Big Picture
, just PM me and I can point you in the right direction.
Here are a couple previews of edited scenes: