User Rating: Excellent
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Fresh take on Bond, dialog is good, Eva Green is beautiful and smart
Cons:Wish Craig was a tad more elegant and Le Chiffe came across as weak.
The Bottom Line: A serious action flick and a different take on the Bond franchise without the camp.
I wasn't expecting too much from this movie, but felt obligated to watch this movie with my husband, after forcing him to sit through a long foreign movie. So in return, I expected to see an action packed movie filled with a hundred product placements. I was pleasantly surprised.
Recommend this product?
===Some spoilers ahead===
So Where's the Beef?
The story is fairly standard Bond fare (minus the camp), Bond is supposed to prevent a shady banker from winning a huge amount of cash to fund terrorism in Africa. We are treated to a fantastic opening scene filled with acrobatic stunt moves, many exotic locales, some poker fun and beautiful women.
I was skeptical about his attempt as Bond at first, but he managed to play Bond with an edgier feel, with more intensity than Pierce Brosnan (who seemed to suffer from badly written dialog but is given an array of gadgets to make up for it). His fiery personality, piercing blue eyes and his rough and tumble actions made him stand out among other Bonds, who were cool and relied a lot on gadgets. Bond also comes across as extremely resourceful, without relying on gimmicky gadgets from Q's lab. Instead he utilizes whatever resources that are available to make himself more efficient.
He makes a lot of mistakes and causes some unnecessary stress for his boss M. However, I see that as good character development on Bond's part. My only problem with him is that, he never came across as elegant, and instead, he looked more like a pretty English thug who was enlisted as an M16 agent. Nevertheless, I found him pretty good as a different kind of Bond and he showed a lot more vulnerability than other Bonds.
Eva Green was incredible as Vesper Lynd, her character was well fleshed out and added some sort of emotional value to Bond in the midst of gun smoke and poker. She was sassy, a smart alec and her sarcastic zingers against Bond were nice touches. She grew from an annoyance to Bond to a love interest.
Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffe was a bit of a disappointment to me. He had the look of the Bond villain but I felt that his role was a little lacking and weak in nature. This is where I think Casino Royale needs a bit of a reality check. For a guy who comes from a banking background and managing millions, if not billions, having a gambling habit is like career death. It just didn't seem like he had any control over a lot of his power, like having enough bodyguards or back up plans. Even his right hand man looked like a Goth college student who is doing part time lackey work.
Judy Dench as the cold and calculated M had her usual great moments. Her reactions towards Bond in their limited scenes together were priceless. One can compare her scenes with Bond to that of schoolteacher and her best but most rebellious student.
What else is there?
There were other major exciting differences between the old Bond and this current one. Like in most Bond movies, we are treated to the usual gratuitous shots of sexy people. Unlike other Bond movies, Bond shows more skin than the women in the movie. A fine example would be, instead of women emerging from the glistening waves wearing sexy white bikinis, we have Bond emerging from the waves wearing sexy blue shorts. I must admit, I was in awe of his well-sculptured body and he definitely gives Halle Berry a run for her money in terms of swimsuit sexiness.
The usual need of fast cars was there as well to satisfy the male audience's craving for more manly products. While movie show cases the usual beautiful high-end cars, it's also the first time I've seen Bond driving a rental car. I have never seen anyone drive a Ford with so much flair. One will also be treated to numerous shots of cell phones, laptops and other normal gadgets that you won't need to borrow from Q's lab.
Overall, this movie is entertaining and well paced. I felt that they made a lot of effort to modernize Bond and made him a lot more real and less campy like the previous Bonds. Daniel Craig did well as the 21st Century Bond with a serious agenda and less time for womanizing. I guess we need to rely more on Austin Powers now for camp.
I recommend this movie as good old-fashioned entertainment.
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Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Plot