November 27, 2006


Movie Review: Casino Royale

I have inherited two of my father's passions in life: watching the New York Yankees in the post-season, and James Bond movies; both of which have been the source of frustration in recent years. Over Thanksgiving while I was spending some time with my family my father and I went to see the latest Bond movie, Casino Royale (2006) (IMDb page), and I was surprised ... by how good it was. The story is based on the first Bond novel by the same name. It starts with Bond becoming a double-O agent and continues as he is sent to use his card-playing skills to prevent a banker from funding terrorism, at the same time there is a developing love story between Bond and the beautiful and confident treasury representative, Vesper Lynd, who is sent to watch over the money at stake.

Movie facts: Casino Royale (2006) is the 21st Bond movie created by MGM, and the second one directed by Martin Campbell (his last Bond movie was GoldenEye (1995)). Only recently did MGM/United Artists acquire the rights to make a Casino Royale film, the story was already used as a spoof television show and a feature film in 1967. There have actually been 21 official and two unofficial Bond movies released to date. The two unofficial Bond movies include the original 1967 Casino Royale, and Never Say Never Again (which was based on the story used in the film Thunderball, and was produced by Warner Brothers and featured Sean Connery again as an older Bond).

Casino Royale, in my opinion, has more of the style and substance that made the original Bond movies classic; in every respect it is as good as the original bond movies. Instead of gadgets or the over-the-top explosive action of previous bond films, the film relies on a very well written story, witty dialog, and beautiful scenery to be intriguing. The story starts with an intense chase scene on foot but soon enough Bond is using his intelligence and skill at cards to fight international evil. This Bond, like the original uses his cunning intelligence more than his physical strength to accomplish his mission. You are likely to have questions still roaming in your mind after you watch the film. Graig captures the role that Connery chronologically will fill perfectly, and Eva Green is great as the female lead character; interestingly, it is perhaps the events in the film that relate to her character that possibly explain why Bond will eventually become more emotionally distant in the relationships he has with the women in his life. Bottom line: if you like Bond movies, and especially if you like the earlier ones, Casino Royale will not disappoint.

Casino Royale has a License to Kill your low expectations of what a Bond movie would be: 5 out of 5.