Release Date: November 17th, 2006 by Columbia Pictures.
The Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach De Bankole, Jesper Christensen, Ivana Milicevic, Tobias Menzies, Claudio Santamaria, Sébastien Foucan, Jeffrey Wright, Judi Dench.
Directed by Martin Campbell.
BASIC PREMISE: James Bond (Craig) goes on a mission to apprehend Le Cheffre (Mikkelsen), a banker who funds terrorists, by competing with him at a high-stakes poker game at Le Casino Royale.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:. Casino Royale opens in black-and-white as James Bond makes his first two kills and gets promoted to a 007. He then chases a potential suicide bomber high and low through a construction site, but gets in trouble for bombing a building, killing an unarmed bomber which angers M (Dench). Ignoring her threats to demote him, he continues to follow the trail of the terrorists in the Bahamas and Miami until the final showdown in Le Casino Royale, where he must defeat Le Cheffre, the banker who funds the terrorists. This plot gets a bit more complex once the sexy Vesper (Green) enters the picture to carry the $10 million Bond spends at the casino. She and Bond gradually develop a romance. Director Martin Campbell includes many of action scenes that feel both thrilling and well choreographed with some great special effects. Some more tranquil scenes feel a bit dull, but the fast paced editing doesn’t let those scenes drag for too long before the next action sequence. You won’t feel the weight of the long running time of 144 minutes. The real question, though, is whether or not Daniel Craig sinks into the role of James Bond successfully. Fortunately, the answer is a resounding “yes”. He’s handsome, buff, tough and has plenty of charisma--no matter how many times he gets punched, kicked, shot at, poisoned, or, in a particularly horrifying scene, whipped in the balls. You’ll be rooting for him from start to finish. Admittedly, it would have been interesting to see some cool gadgets for Bond to use during his adventure, but at least Casino Royale has everything you pretty much expect from a James Bond film: loads of action and explosions, gorgeous locations, sexy babes, comic relief and, last but not least, a charismatic, handsome secret agent who will certainly come back for more missions after this one.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: One of the best Bond films in years. A slick, thrilling, and action-packed ride with a charismatic performance by Daniel Craig as the new 007.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "C" Menu