Casino Royale (2006) - REVIEWS ONLY

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edited December 2022 in Reviews Posts: 23,304
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  • Lancaster007Lancaster007 Shrublands Health Clinic, England
    Posts: 1,874
    Here's my Amazon review for the DVD

    This review is from: Casino Royale (Deluxe Edition) [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
    Right, unless you've lived on Mars for the past two years you will already know what an excellent film we have here, so there should be no need to go through the plot details, instead onto a review of the DVD itself.
    I have to say this really is the DVD version we should have had two years ago. Presented in a cracking thick cardboard slipcase, and opening out with into a tryptich digipak, disc one on the left, two and three on the right and in the middle a glossy booklet in a slip pocket. Each outside surface features a cracking picture, Bond, Vesper and Bond & Vesper, all beautifully reproduced in a lovely matt finish. Excellent packaging.
    First off, the menus. Thankfully they have been re-done as the original release had possibly the worst menus ever seen (almost! - well, certainly to grace Bond DVDs), these now feature a deck of cards tumbling toward the viewer, with the Casino Royale logo on back, (following the style of Daniel Klienman's most excellent titles, probably the best of the whole series) I think it is a shame they didn't follow the format of the Ultimate Edition DVDs but a welcome update anyway.
    Disc One, is as previous issue - except for two commentaries - the first features director Martin Campbell and co-producer Michael Wilson, the second by the crew.
    Disc Two is a straight lift from the previous release, featuring, Becoming Bond, James Bond for Real, Bond Girls Forever and Chris Cornelle's video for 'You Know My Name' - a theme tune that is definitely a grower.
    Disc Three - this is where it gets interesting! A shed-load of features and featurettes, dealing with Casino Royale, from book to small screen, to big screen spoof and onto the excellent film we have here. It's all kicked off with a half-dozen or so deleted scenes, the best being the post-torture rush to hospital and recovery, but a nice collection all together.
    There are featurettes on Ian Fleming and his incredible creation, Paradise Island which has a long history with both Fleming and James Bond, there are explorations into the filmmaking process, showcasing the Venice finale, the Freerun chase and the Miami airport thrill ride! Profiles and storyboards. All-in-all an exhaustive collection covering just about everything you would want to know about the 21st James Bond film.
    If you don't own Casino Royale, buy this version, if you do own Casino Royale, drop it into your local charity shop and buy this version.
    And once you gone through the excellent extras, slip in Disc One and reacquaint yourself with this excellent and, dare I say, classic piece of Bond that this film is. The series was due for a re-boot after the dire Die Another Day and what better way to do it - back to the beginning!
  • ShardlakeShardlake Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
    edited August 2012 Posts: 4,043
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    Casino Royale 2006

    When the decision was taken in 2005 to press the reset button on the Bond series I was not surprised, this cinematic institution had back itself into a wall, the previous instalment in 2002 was a typical globe trotting gadgets laden farce of a film and subsequently current Bond Pierce Brosnan's final mission in the role. The film celebrated the films 40th anniversary with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer but it was the C.G.I para-surfing and invisible car that showed that time needed to be called on this type of thing.

    Back in 1999 Barbara Broccoli and her step brother Michael G Wilson had finally secured the filming rights to Ian Fleming's first Bond novel Casino Royale, Having settled a rights dispute the film was now in a position to be made by EON productions the official Bond film production company run by Brocoli and Wilson. The book had been previously filmed back in 1967 directed by a total of 6 people including John Huston at one point, the film has gained cult status over the years but bears no relation to the original series or Fleming's novel for that matter. This being Fleming's first Bond story the makers needed to make a decision would they retool this to fit an older more experienced 007 or was it time to let the current actor go and search for new talent to take on the role.

    While the idea of rebooting a series may sound common place now back in 2005 it had been attempted rarely but the idea was on the radar especially as Warner Brothers had rather successfully relaunched the Batman franchise earlier that year. The film while not a monster (that would be its sequel) was a big enough success to secure the opportunity for more, it stole the thunder that summer from George Lucas' final Star Wars prequel Revenge Of The Sith but more importantly appeared to wipe the memory of the hole that Joel Schumacher had dug for the series back in 1997 with the atrocious Batman & Robin. This is not to say that Brosnan final film had been a disaster it was clearly liked by the public having been at that point the most lucrative film of the series. Though the reboot option was one way to start again plus the advent of the Bourne films had changed audiences expectations of what to expect from the spy genre and also 9/11's impact can not be underestimated as a factor into why films took a darker direction in the 21st century.

    Back in 1995 it seemed that EON had tried to change things with Goldeneye the film did seem different to what had previously been but it was business as usual when Brosnan returned 2 years later in Tomorrow Never Dies, it was like Roger Moore never left (this is not a compliment), the series had been ridiculed by the likes of the Austin Powers franchise and the next three entries starring the Irish man seemed to be completely oblivious to this, appearing as farcical as those parodies. Could a noughties audience really take this version of the character serious again? If James Bond was to appear relevant again he would need a serious remodelling so when Broccoli and Wilson announced in 2005 that they'd found their new Bond and that they would be bring Fleming's celebrated first Bond novel to the screen with Goldeneye director Martin Campbell returning to take the helm with the reset button pressed, the expectation was huge and things didn't begin too successfully to start with.

    Daniel Craig a critically acclaimed stage and screen actor who had been bought to the public's attention in 1996 when he appeared in the BBC adaptation of Peter Flannery's masterful Our Friends In The North alongside future Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston and rising star Mark Strong. Craig then settled into a series of roles in acclaimed drama appearing alongside Derek Jacobi's Francis Bacon in Love and the Devil, Roger Mitchel's controversial The Mother and playing Ted Hughes alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in Sylvia. Craig also flirted with blockbusters with a supporting role alongside Angelina Jolie in the first Tomb Raider movie. Although it was been cast in Mathew Vaughn's gangster flick Layer Cake that brought him to a bigger audience and also caught the attention of Brocoli who believed she'd found her Bond.

    Craig's announcement wasn't received that favourably, the brick bats were out pretty quickly, the tabloids voiced their disapproval and a web site craigsnotbond was set up where Bond fans could voice their concern of his appointment, too short, too ugly and too blonde were comments that were bandied about at the time. Craig certainly wasn't typical of what had previously been seen in the role, his looks while to some immediately set up as a global sex symbol were to some just not good enough to play their super spy (incidentally many of these were male). Although what Craig did have was a strong dramatic background. EON wanted to dispense with what had gone before and felt for their new Bond they needed something far more serious than what had gone before, the attempt to make Bond more likes Fleming's character with Timothy Dalton in 1987-89 had not gone down well with the public despite Dalton's terrific but brief time in the role, the time hadn't been right for a gritty Bond. EON felt now in the 21st century some 17 years later that now they would be.

    The thing that strikes you about Casino Royale is that it feels like a proper film, not some cookie cutter entry in an on going series with the usual tick the box antics that audiences had just come to expect, no sense of drama or thrill it was obvious Bond was going to get out of whatever predicament he was in. Royale presented Bond as a newly minted 00 who in the pre title sequence of the film in monochrome black and white (a series first) in Prague would be introduced performing his second kill to earn his status while we flash back to him performing the first one, Craig's Bond informs Dryden (Malcolm Sinclair) a corrupt government official who seems unruffled until he realises Bond is cementing his 00 credentials as him as his second kill as he intones nervously "made you feel it did he?" Cutting back to Bond in a brutal punch up in a bathroom with an assailant. The scene switches back as Dryden says " needn't worry. The second is-- " Craig cutting Dryden sentence short with a single silenced gun shot followed with a witty quip, " Yes Considerably" Craig immediately announcing his presence in the role. We cut back to the bathroom as the assailant goes to shoot Bond as we get the camera view of him looking straight at us and shooting his target as the scene dissolves into a familiar sight as the colour bleeds in as the opening credits begin.

    The producers choosing wisely not to begin traditionally as all the Bond films since 1962's Dr No with the gun barrel sequence as we are clearly witnessing Bond begins, instead having Daniel Kleinman incorporate into the titles a redesigned gun barrel, kleinman having grabbed the baton with aplomb back in 1995 from series titles legend the late great Maurice Binder, here Kleinman delivers his best and most striking titles to date using the card theme of the story. Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and David Arnold co written title song "You Know My Name" while not being a instant classic is definitely the best since Bono and the Edge penned Goldeneye theme sung by Tina Turner, the title of the song announcing the arrival of the new Bond with a real fan fare.

    The second half of the film would pretty much be a straight adaptation of Fleming's novel, the first half being original material written by Bond regulars Neil Purvis and Robert Wade with some polish been applied by Oscar winning director and writer Paul Haggis. We have brief introduction to our villian Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) as well as shadowy operative from an unknown organisation Mr White (Jesper Christensen) as details of a sinister stock market transaction are revealed, then we fling into a break neck pursuit sequence in Madagascar (actually Abandoned Motel, Coral Harbour, New Providence Island, Bahamas) with Craig's Bond pursuing a terrorist bomb maker Mollka, real life Parkour expert Sebastian Foucan, Foucan's skill adding an extra dimension to the chase sequence. After witnessing a Bond who for most of the time can't get around without the help of some gadget or other it refreshing to see Craig's Bond go at full throttle, the new post 9/11 007 a real physical presence if not a tad reckless. This new Bond is not the Bond we all know and love just yet, the idea that Purvis and Wade would introduce him as not quite the finished article, even Arnold's score would tease small amounts of the Bond theme (although not played in full till the end) to signify each time he Bond earned one of his stripes. Craig's Bond would appear impulsive and after being told by M (a returning Judi Dench) to go and bury his head after his altercation with Moloka ending in a hasty execution which unfortunately for M & Bond his documented by the worlds press. This being Bond never one to fade into the background with the Intel he acquires heads to The Bahamas.

    The idea of Bond's actions causing a scandal the Bond of old would seem to cause havoc with no real accountability, the writers inserting somewhat of a more real world feel than previous instalments. Craig said he watched all the previous entries for preparation for the role and then promptly forgot them. Although he presents a new interpretation of the character, there are little subtle nods to Connery and even Moore. Bond using the opportunity of been mistaken for a valet at his hotel in the Bahamas to obtain surveillance to further his investigations has more than a hint of Sean and when he says to the receptionist " What if I felt compelled to" echoes a touch of Sir Roger. Arnold teases a little of the theme out as Bond wins a vintage Aston Martin DB5 from the next suspect on his list Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian). Purvis and Wade's script touches on the literary Bond's penchant for married women, the ease of the seduction of Dimitrios' wife Solange (Caterina Murino). The film offering a welcome touch of dialogue and intrigue before Bond ends up in Miami foiling the destruction of the Skyfleet airliner in an action packed chase sequence, setting up Le Chiffre's being forced to set up a high stakes poker game to retain the money of the client he has just lost on his rather risky venture foiled by Bond. Setting up the events that would pick up Fleming's novel for the duration of the film.

    Murino's Solange is more typical Bond girl material although Vesper Lynd is probably the most significant female in Bond's life and evolution. Eva Green charged with the job of bringing to life on the screen establishing her relationship with Bond with a rather spiky introduction, her obvious cynicism in Bond's mission. A credit to the writers and director Campbell as the rather mundane idea of a poker match is made a tense experience interspersed with some drama and a brutal hand to hand combat. Craig and Mikkelsen spark off each other with a game of one-upmanship leading to the famous torture sequence detailed in Fleming's novel, apart from some black humour inserted this is pretty much to the letter of the book with some minor adjustments.

    The events of the conclusion of the book are played down with Vesper's fate but it would be churlish to expect EON to go the same route with their climax, the sinking house sequence has caused much division among fans and critics. I for one are more of a fan of this than the watered down Raiders of The Lost Ark truck sequence in the Miami segment of the film. It was always going to be the case that this moment was never going to as subtle as the book, the series was being relaunched and this was supposed to be the most significant moment that starts to mould the new Bond into the fully formed 007 and the big emotional climax was the way to go. These films are not made for a small percentage of fan boys who's wet dream scenario's would most likely have no bearing on the general public, these films are made for a mass audience and they weren't going to let their re-booted franchise go out on a whimper. It is also an imaginative sequence that also incorporates a big emotional and significant climax for Bond.

    Of course thing were not going to end with Bond down and out and the epilogue see's a suited and booted Daniel Craig finally get to utter the famous line in a brief but big moment with Arnold letting rip finally with the fully fledged Bond theme to close proceedings which also sets up the first full blooded sequel of the series history as the sign off tantalises of what is to come.

    Casino Royale is not perfect no Bond film is, the Miami sequence of the film could have been handled with something more than a generic chase sequence, it seems a little pale after the inventive parkour pursuit. Like most Bond films the script is not perfect (although better than anything seen in the series for decades), yes there are clunkers, an unforgivable piece of blatant product placement in the Bond/Vesper introduction which brings an otherwise great scene to a halt. Despite some attempt to include some subtle dry wit for the most part the little finger line would be more welcome in a Carry On flick and is as juvenile as the puerile lines in the Moore and Brosnan era. It's unclear who's to blame while Purvis and Wade had their critics and are no script writing gods it's possible Haggis is responsible although he probably lent the film the dramatic weight it needed. This David Arnold's fourth score, while most likely the best work he's produced to this point it still feels wanting, he makes good use of alternative arrangements of his and Cornell's title theme, he creates an emotional Vesper theme and seems to cope enough without having his usual safety net of the JB theme to lean on. Although at times his score just seems to be just pounding percussion with no melody and we hit an all time low when he lets loose with the blaring brass that would be more welcome in the Austin Powers franchise when the Skyfleet plane is unveiled in the Miami sequence, marring an already problem sequence of the film. Would this film have been better with a John Barry score? Of course it would, when you consider the substandard entries that Connery and Moore were afforded Barry musical gold and Daniel Craig gives more to the role than any actor in the series history and he's rewarded with Mr Arnold trying.

    These things aside this arguably the best entry since 1969's On Her Majesty Secret Service, choosing Martin Campbell to helm once again after he successfully did in 1995 this time getting a proper actor rather the then TV actor Brosnan. In Daniel Craig we have found an actor who has added dramatic weight unlike Pierce he approaches the role with no awe or fan boy wonder, just wanting to do an impressive job, never raising to any of the criticism flying around while this was being filmed just quietly getting on with the job and spectacularly proving people wrong who questioned his appointment a year before. He also cuts an impressive figure filling out the tux like no other actor since Sean Connery and getting as close to that panther strut that personified the Scots man in 1962. While his critics will baulk he hasn't the confidence of Connery's 007, at this point he's not supposed to . This a newly introduced Bond the films have never approached the character from this point before, it's always been an established agent, with this re-boot option we are getting to see Bond earn his stripes and although we are seeing this here it's obvious this Bond is still learning. While Connery's 007 in 1963 From Russia With Love set the bench mark for the definitive fully fledged Bond, Craig's is the most impressive all out performance of any actor in the series to date and hints at a bright future for this enduring character.

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  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,020
    Casino Royale 2006

    From the very first second, when the MGM logo appears in black and white, it becomes clear that this isn't just another James Bond movie.
    The brutality of the restroom scene that gets thrown in in flashbacks clearly indicates that the times of suave mannered James Bond is over.
    The fight is well-choreographed and riveting and this James Bond is brutal, blunt and relentless.
    Still, this is the worst pre-title sequence ever, needlessly shot in black and white, that has the gun-barrel at the wrong end.

    The title sequence is one of the best ever. It feels more animated than computer generated which is a good thing and the music of David Arnold and singer Chris Cornell fits this sequence like a glove.

    In the first act of the movie we get to know Le Chiffre. To have the villain appear so early on in the movie is a good thing.
    We see Bond in his first mission with 00 status in Madagascar. Beautifully shot and we get a truly great and memorable chase sequence with Bond and a bad guy through the streets, construction sites and a gigantic building crane, ending in a foreign embassy. Literally explosive and breathtaking accompanied with a remarkably good score from David Arnold.
    Sadly, when running up the crane and jumping distances it is too evident that it is a stuntman and not Craig, but that's a minor issue.
    The Madagascar scene would have made a perfect pre-title sequence, a great opportunity missed there.

    Back in London we get to know the new? old? M played by Judi Dench. M talks about an agent called Bond, doing miserably in his mission as a new 00 agent. That feels odd, too odd. Of course it's common knowledge this is a reboot.
    But already after 15 minutes the reboot gets reduced to absurdity. I adore Judi Dench, but it just doesn't work to have the same M as in four previous James Bond movies when this movie so clearly wants to be a reboot and different time-line.

    Luckily that's about it with the complaints. The gun-barrel at the wrong end of the pre-title sequence, the unnecessary and distracting black and white sequence and a rebooted M that is still the same as before is a shame but it is quickly forgotten with all the good stuff ahead.

    The first non-action scene with Daniel Craig as James Bond follows and it is one of the great moments in the movie. The confrontation of Bond with M in her flat.
    This time it doesn't feel so odd anymore to see the "old" M acting as the "new" M.
    Judi Dench saves the day. The dialogue between her and Bond is fantastic and makes one forget the minor complaints of before.
    Then follows the first Bond-esque moment for Craig. Arriving in exotic and beautiful Nassau at the airport Bond sports a tailor-made grey suit, sunglasses and moves like Bond, James Bond. I am convinced now, he is Bond.

    Many very Bond-esque moments follow, Bond at a beautiful hotel (Ocean Club), doing fun stuff like involuntarily parking a Range Rover for a hotel guest which redefines backing into a parking space.
    Bond doing a Honey Ryder moment showing off his muscles and his very flashy swimwear which must be the most self-ironic moment ever in a Bond movie.
    The first Bond girl, the beautiful Italian actress Caterina Murino as Solange acts as appetiser before the main attraction of the movie, Eva Green, will enter the stage.

    Bond goes to Miami. The first elaborate action sequence of the movie takes place at Miami airport and is a nice bridge to the main location of the film, Montenegro and its famous Casino Royale.
    Enter Eva Green: Green accompanies Bond to Montenegro as accountant who will supervise the money and observe the poker game.
    From the very first word she speaks, she practically steals the movie. There is no doubt, that casting her as Vesper Lynd was solid gold!
    The dialogue between her and Bond is priceless, intelligent, eloquently written and sheer pleasure to watch.

    The Casino has much to offer, a breathtaking fight to the death between Bond and some badasses on the stairways, a riveting game of cards in which Bond brings LeChiffre to the end of his tether. Needless to say that Mads Mikkelsen who plays LeChiffre is one of the more memorable villains.
    Jeffrey Wright who plays Felix Leiter who helps Bond at the casino is a bold choice of casting but it pays off. This version of Leiter seems to be the perfect fit for this Bond.

    And off we go to the last stop, Venice. Yet another beautiful location. Now it's time for the big finale in the decrepit building. No villains lair...but Vesper's watery grave.
    In the end Bond goes after the by now famous Mr. White.
    My name is Bond, James Bond are the last words we hear, then the credits roll.

    Resume: Casino Royale could easily have been the best James Bond movie ever.
    In the end when the movie is over, it's evident that some things are missing.
    The familiar feeling of the gun-barrel at the beginning or no Moneypenny or Q may seem like a minor thing, but those are distinguishing marks that should not be taken away from Bond. Daniel Craig is not better or worse than any of his predecessors, and he seems to be a little one-dimensional, the feelings he obviously had for Vesper don't show on screen. Craig delivers in the action and fighting scenes. There he is even more convincing than Connery.

    Still, Casino Royale is near perfect and deserves 9 out of 10, the last tenth got lost with all the reboot nonsense, which is a shame and still angers me.
  • Daniel316Daniel316 United States
    Posts: 210
    So that was Casino Royale. Final Thoughts? It was alright

    To start with the positives, The action was very good and it had some really good chases such as the construction site chase. the cinematography was great in many areas. There were some nice locations here like Miami. The score was good even if most tracks are memorable but David Arnold still shines here (as he always does). I enjoyed Eva Green as Vesper despite the faults that she had.

    I also liked the side character of Mathis as well as Jeffrey Wright as Felix which imo was a pretty decent revival of the character. Last but not least I have to mention Le chiffre. This guy is one of the most unsettling and evil villains I've seen and it's pulled off extremely well to me, mainly the fact that he's merely trying to just pay back his debts but that he'll go to any length to do so such as poisoning Bond to take him out of the poker game or torturing him for the password to the bank account, just awesome villain and performance here.

    Now..I know I've been pretty positive up to this point however there are 3 major isues I have here. For 1 the pacing is pretty good in the first hour gets totally out of control in the 2nd and 3rd acts whether it be the long poker game or Bond and Vesper charades it just goes on for a bit to long for my tastes. And my 2nd big issue and probably most important is this: this just is not a good bond film, now what I mean just lacks lots of key elements that make Bond what he is such as being classy, having good one liners, gadgets, and humor, it just feels like a standard action film with a bond skin over top which is just disappointing and lame to me that just makes the film go down for me.

    Now my last issue is well to be blunt, rebooting Bond was not freaking needed, like they rebooted Bond with this film and essentially erased 40 years of franchise film history which imo is total BS and just infuriates me, especially since it was not even needed in the first place, combine this with the bond elements mostly being absent and the more Generic action movie feel and this honestly makes the film just disappointing as a bond film honestly.

    So all in all I would call this a great film in its own right, but it is a very poor Bond film in the grand scheme of things, my final rating would be a 7/10
  • Posts: 2,400
    FilmSpeak have just dropped an hour-long breakdown of why CR is one of the greatest films ever made. I wrote the script for this and I'm deeply proud of the final result:

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