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 Flamming 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.
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) or 1.33:1 (Full Frame)
SPHE is up to a new trick by inserting bad sectors on purpose into the transfer which causes some computer DVD sofatware
programs and a few DVD players not to play the movie at all or not very well.
AUDIO: English 5.1, Spanish 5.1, French 2.0 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
featurettes on disc two have subtitle options of Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean
BECOMING BOND focuses on teh casting of Daneil Craig with a little bit of the pre-production and production of CASINO ROYALE.
Too bad they didn't show the screen tests for Craig.
JAMES BOND: FOR REAL centers on the three major action sequences in CASINO ROYALE.
BOND GIRLS ARE FOREVER (2006) is a made for TV special which is updated to include CASINO ROYALE. Conversations with all
of the Bodn girls in the James Bond films.
Chris Cornell's music video for You Know My Name is also included on disc 2
TRAILERS: SPIDER-MAN 3, SPIDER-MAN 2.1, PREMONITION, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, THE HOLIDAY, ROCKY BALBOA
Sadly neither of the two CASINO ROYALE trailers seen on other SPHE releases are included on this release. SPHE has got
to stop this practice and start including the original theatrical trailers like they used to years ago.
FINAL ANALYSIS: CASINO ROYALE is one of the better Bond films, but the lack of many extras means there is a douple dip
probably in time for the release of the next James Bond film.
RELATED DVD Reviews:
JAMES BOND Ultimate Edition Volume 3:
JAMES BOND Ultimate Edition Volume 4:
this review is (c)3-17-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link
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