Budget 150 million. Opening dates: UK November 16, 2006; US November 17, 2006
World Box Office $594.2 million
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
What is more fitting than a "revamped review" for a film that helped to "revamp" a series? James Bond is back and dare I say better than ever? Well not quite, but this time around Bond is much more serious, the Bond girls are about as hot as they come and the action is better than ever!
Think of Casino Royale as a prequel, while prequels are usually frowned upon by critics and moviegoers alike (more so than the usual sub par sequel), Casino Royale proves that if done right it can be successful. James Bond has just been promoted to 00 status with the "license to kill", and such power in the hands of an unstable and young agent may not be such a wise thing as his actions soon prove. After making a large spectacle of himself and the British government by botching a mission which ends in a few exploded buildings and a couple dead terrorists with useful information, M seriously contemplates demoting Bond and puts him on suspension while she decides what to do with him, but Bond has other plans.
In his terrorist raid Bond happens to discover one piece of useful information, a text message with what appeared to be a password. Tracing the origin of the message Bond travels to the Bahamas were he soon begins to ravel himself in a plot that is bigger than he could ever imagine. As it turns out his bomb-maker target was involved in a terrorist ring that spans around the world, and the man at the center is named Le Chiffre.
Le Chiffre is the banker for the world’s largest terrorist groups, but what his clients do not know is that Le Chiffre is using their money towards his own financial gain. Le Chiffre has invested all his clients money into a newly developed airline, his plan was sell short on the company's stock, if the company tanked he would make millions. His sure fire way to make sure this happened was to blow up airliner on its maiden voyage, but there was one thing he hadn't planned on...Bond.
Bond prevents the destruction of the newly designed airplane and Le Chiffre is out a whole lot of money, money that wasn't his to to begin with; now he's got a big problem. Once his clients realize what he's done, he's a dead man. With enough money left Le Chiffre enters the Casino Royale high stakes poker tournament where the winner goes home with millions! With MI6 having now pegged Le Chiffre to the terrorist plot on the airliner, M regretfully chooses to send Bond to Montenegro where he will face off against Le Chiffre in the tournament. The goal is for Bond to beat Le Chiffre, and bring him into British custody where the British government will offer him protection against his clients in exchange for pertinent terrorist information. But things start to get messy when Bond lets his ego get the best of him, putting him in a compromising situation where many lives are at stake and millions of dollars are about to find their way right back into the hands of terrorism.
Casino Royale breathes new life into a franchise that has truly never been the same since Thunderball. The franchise started incorporating too much humor into the films beginning with You Only Live Twice, and only seemed to grow consistently worse, especially through the Roger Moore years. Casino Royale brings us a gritty side of Bond we have not yet witnessed, its Bond before he became the cool and suave Sean Connery, its Bond unleashed. I must say I had my doubts about Daniel Craig as most people did, but he did a fantastic job in this film, restarting the franchise in his own style yet still staying true to the character.
All the supporting cast members were great as well. It's poor casting that usually becomes a reoccurring trend with the Bond franchise but this time they practically hit the nail on the coffin with everyone (for further comments on the other characters in the film check out the secret file). My only complaint about this film is its length. Bond films are usually notorious for being over two hours long, and like Lord of the Rings: Return of the King the length is perpetrated by multiple false endings which lead you to believe the film is almost over, but no, there's still 30 minutes left. I'm not quite sure why they did this because it makes the last 30 minutes of the film seem entirely strung out and choppy.
Overall, Casino Royale was possibly the best action film of 2006 and is certainly one of the best Bond films ever made. What remains to be seen is can the following films prove to be as good or better? The largest fault with the Bond franchise is the inconsistency to build upon the success of a previous film. If the next film can build upon the success of Casino Royale, bring forth a little more interesting and engaging story, and stray away from the corny antics of the older films then we might have a new Bond series worthy of the name James Bond.