Monday, November 2, 2015

Movie Review: "Casino Royale" (2006)

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Movie"Casino Royale"
Director: Martin Campbell
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 24 minutes

Granted his license to kill, James Bond 007 (Daniel Craig) sets out on his first mission to track down an international arms dealer involved in a planned terrorist attack. After things don't go quite as expected, Bond and MI6 accountant Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) are sent to enter James in a game of high stakes poker against the accountant to the terrorist Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), who is attempting to win the money needed to fund these terrorist attacks, but Bond has to be quite careful on who to trust. 

When it was first announced that Daniel Craig would take over the part of James Bond after Pierce Brosnan, many fans of the franchise were not to happy about the casting choice. Many claimed he did not look the part with his blonde hair and blue eyes, atypical of the physical characteristics of past Bonds, and others claimed he lacked the suave attitude of the Bonds of yesterday. Once "Casino Royale" actually came out, the attitude of the collective masses quickly changed, and now, Craig is thought of as an excellent Bond with some going as far as saying he's the best Bond ever. "Casino Royale" is also heralded as one of the best films in the James Bond franchise. We should let this example serve as a lesson to never judge a book by its cover (*cough Heath Ledger as The Jokes *cough*).

This film finally pulled the franchise away from the more campy, gadget-filled movies we were forced to endure with Pierce Brosnan as the lead and managed to give us a tougher, more gritty, more humanistic 007 with a story that has a much darker tone. This version of Bond is a perfect modernized vision of a character that has managed to consistently bring audiences into theaters since the 1960's. James Bond has been brought back to the beginning and is now a rookie agent on one of his first missions. He's trying to track down an international arms dealer by tracking those who work under him. Though the premise seems all too done before, somehow, "Casino Royale" manages to feel completely new with Craig at the helm. There are some great action packed sequences here, including a massive foot chase scene as Bond tries to run down a bomb maker who also seems to be a master of Parkour. The movie isn't all mindless action, though, as it slows down into a battle of whits in its latter half when Bond has to face Le Chiffre, played by Mads Mikkelsen, in a intense game of high stakes Texas Hold 'Em. Who knew poker could be so thrilling and edge of your seat!? The fiery card game is only offset by its players as Mikkelsen's Le Chiffre just screams villain, especially with a name like Mads and a scar across a dead eye which also CRIES BLOOD. We mean seriously, what says James Bond villain more than crying blood?! Mikkelsen certainly looks the part all on his own, but the dead crying blood eye takes the cake. Though he's suave, sinister, and somewhat mysterious, as things move on in the film, we find that even Le Chiffre may not even be the end final goal.

This is a well written, sharp script with many twists and turns that keeps the audience extremely engaged throughout its entirety. We never feel bored or annoyed watching this movie and it's a pleasure to sit through even after multiple viewings. Just because we don't feel bored at any point doesn't mean "Casino Royale" is exactly short. It does begin to feel a bit long in its third act after the poker game is through, but the payoff is well worth the long run time. This is an exceptional film beyond the fact that it is perhaps the best James Bond film in the series. At the time, we couldn't wait for another Daniel Craig 007, and we still feel that way on the heels of "Spectre."

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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