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CASINO ROYALE

movie review by David Blackwell

Rebooting a character has been very popular these days. First, a new Zorro and then Batman got the back to basics approach with BATMAN BEGINS. Now James Bond's first mission as 007 gets the big screen treatment in CASINO ROYALE. It was the first Ian Flemming novel of the famous spy that has thrilled audiences in 20 films over 40 years with CASINO ROYALE being number 21 in the official James Bond series. I had no doubt that Daniel Craig would make a great Bond after his great acting turn in LAYER CAKE (I still want to see Clive Owen as James Bond though). He's the best Bond since Sean Connery and this movie is one of the closest to the way the character was written in the novels.

The pre-title sequence is in black and white as you see how Bond got to be 007. The Chris Cornell song still hasn't grown on me, but it does work could as part of David Arnold's music during the film. The action sequences are well staged and kept me glued. Bond is a an arrogant cocky guy with the daring things he does as 007 as he hacks into M's computer and breaks into her apartment in addition to other unorthodox methods he applies in the field. He tracks down leads to a banker for terrorists, LeChiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). Bond stops a prototype jumbo jet from being destroyed which causes LeChiffre to enter into a high stakes poker game at Casino Royale Montenegro. MI6 tells Bond to play against Lechiffre and win. Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) is Bond's back-up. Bond soon finds out the poker game is just the beginning for him.

CASINO ROYALE does seem to ramble on for a while after the famous card game between Bond and LeChiffre. CASINO ROYALE isn't dull or boring for any matter, but I wonder if the pacing could have been tightened up for the last half hour. I do like to see Bond without his gadgets and without breaking into some super hideout owned by the super Bond bad guy out to change the world's power balance. I do miss Q though, but CASINO ROYALE is a close cousin to classics in the series like FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. So James Bond doesn't have to be camp and over-the-top to work effectively. My only big disappointment with the casting is the black guy who plays Felix. I hope they recast the part for the next film with a better actor or have a director show this actor can actually play Felix.

The movie leaves on a cliffhanger as Bond as after the mysterious organization that plays a big part in the last 40 minutes of CASINO ROYALE. I hope that means SPECTRE will be showing up by name in the next Bond film. It really depends on what they do in the next film will make CASINO ROYALE just a good film or a classic Bond movie.

Related DVD Reviews:

James Bond Ultimate Edition Volume 4-

http://enterline2.tripod.com/james_bond_vol4.html

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH Ultimate Edition-

http://enterline2.tripod.com/twine.html

this review is (c)12-23-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com