Casino Royale Review

by Tim Voon (winklebeck AT hotmail DOT com)
December 9th, 2006

Casino Royale (2006)
A film review by Timothy Voon
Copyright 2006 Timothy Voon

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino
Director: Martin Campbell

I would say that I am feeling pretty exhilarated after just emerging from a Gold Class screening of 'Casino Royale'. I would say it was well worth the money. And judging from the response of all the females in our party, Daniel Craig has just become a household name and adopted with great fervor as the preferred James Bond. At this moment I'm kind of tired of hearing them say things like, 'O my God did you see that body?', or 'God wasn't he hot when they tortured him naked?' or 'I'm definitely going to see the next James Bond movie.' (like as if it were going to open next week!). I could also see some of the guys in our group give wry, uncomfortable smiles as the women kept going on and on about how great Bond looks. I mean Daniel Craig is a fine specimen of the male human body as good as they come in fact, and would make any other male feel physically inferior in comparison and every woman drool to no end about their dream guy.
Having got that out of the way, this movie was very good and not just because of how Daniel Craig looks. From the opening black and white scenes, this is by far the most physical Bond movie to hit the screens as far as I can remember. There is no pussy footing around with wimpy karate kicks or weak punches. The action is brutally grueling. I'm not surprised that Daniel Craig and his stunt men sustained multiple injuries filming this Bond film. I could feel every bone and joint crack as incredibly feats of leaping, jumping, kicking and punching goes straight to the gut. Just watching the stunts gave me vertigo and left my mind physically exhausted.

Daniel Craig is excellent as James Bond. His earnest blue eyes are piercing and he carries an incredible intensity that explodes on screen. Whether he is playing poker, charming the women, inflicting death and pain on the enemy, he captures the attention of the audience and more importantly, keeps their attention. I would say that his definition of the new 21st century James Bond can be summarized into these words - ruggedly good looking, physically mature and emotionally intense.

The plot is one of the most complex ones in any Bond movie. It involves funding terrorism, kidnap, cross and double cross, poison and one of the biggest poker games in history (with a jackpot of 150 million). After a trail of multiple deaths, I got a little lost towards the end trying to figure out who the bad guy was. Bond then suddenly resigns his commission after a near death experience and leaves on a world trip with his new found love. This is my main criticism of this otherwise well made film. The sudden change of pace from action Bond, to in-love Bond, had me a little confused. However, I new that this could not last, as history dictates that every other true love interest always ended tragically. This was no exception.

This brings me to Bond's love interest Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). She is undoubtedly pretty and sophisticated, but was not the sort of girl I would have thought this James Bond would have fallen for. I was expecting someone more like Ursula Andress to seduce the likes of the latest Bond. Maybe, this would be too predictable, which is why the producers have settled on someone more intelligent than sexy.
Having said all of the above, I am quite satisfied with the transition of James Bond from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig. From the tone and success of this movie so far, I am sure that the follow up films will be equally intense and physical. Daniel Craig, has one very bright future to look forward to, however, I will not be envying the many hours he will have to spend at the gym to keep that perfect physique or the broken bones that he will likely sustain in years to come.

Timothy Voon

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