“Casino Royale” is a very special film. After the complete disaster of a film called “Die Another Die” left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. “Casino Royale” had to do the impossible, it had to reboot and re-energise the entire Bond franchise and also change people’s perception on what a Bond film should be, as at the time when people thought of Bond they think Bond films are just campy silly action films. “Casino Royale” doesn’t just re-energise the Bond franchise and change people’s view of Bond, it also left its mark as being one of the best bond films ever made and simply being a fantastic film on its own right.
For a change start lets start with the films problems as there isn’t many, but to me it’s important to mention that the last 20 minutes are boring and slows the film down to a snails pace. The closer look goes into more detail and can explain why the films ending isn’t great, so I highly recommend watching that video youtu.be/DtYrpJZoAA0 to see a more analytical view on the ending but the ending is a films worst sin, which is being boring.
But now onto the positives. Starting with Daniel Craig who is pretty fantastic as James Bond. Since “Casino Royale” is a reboot, it was the perfect opportunity to have Daniel Craig portray a more realistic and a more morally grey character that to be honest we have not seen in many of Bond films before Casino Royale’s release and i feel this new take on a very iconic character added a new dimension to the film that was only possible because of Daniel Craig’s performance.
The rest of the cast is amazing Eva Green is an amazing Bond girl. She has the appearance of the past but she is not sexualised and plays a character that the audience will take seriously as she has a strong presence on screen. Mads Mikkelsen is just fantastic as the film’s antagonist, he’s not comically evil. He has a presence and out smarts Bond in scenes that makes your jaw drop also for once in a Bond film the villain isn’t just being hunted down by Bond. This is great as for once it shows that the villains actions affects other characters. The cast on a whole is fantastic and there’s no weak link.
The poker scenes are intense and engaging, they are well shot and edited. To me the poker games are the best moments in the entire film and leave you on the edge of your seat. The feel like they are action scenes in terms of the intensity they bring and they way they are expertly handled. There is one moment in particular that I will not spoil even though the film is 14 years old but it makes Bond more human than ever and shows that even he can make mistakes. As soon as we head to Casino Royale the film is just truly fantastic and it is because of how good the poker games are.
Saying the action scenes aren’t amazing would be a lie but there not as good as the poker scenes but they are so close to being just as good. The action is clear so you know what is happening on screen at all times, you know where everyone is location wise because of how well it’s shot and edited, there is no quick cuts, no shaky cam and the camera is not way too close to the action. But to me the reason the poker scenes are the best scenes in the film is because most of the action scenes are at the beginning of the film so they aren’t the most important scenes in the film.
The opening theme by legendary artist Chris Cornell is just fantastic, he did a great job with this song and to me it is still the best Bond theme we’ve had in the Daniel Craig era of movies. I love how the song is called “You know my name”, the songs title and style fits in with the entire approach this film brings. We all know the name James Bond but its new, different and is not a stereotypical bond theme it’s a hard rock song. The opening credits that’s go with the theme are beautiful and the use of card imagery is great and it sets a serious tone to the film.
Martin Campbell did a great job directing this film as everything is just so well thought out and nothing in this movie is directed badly. The film is very well shot and some shots carry so much weight and impact, the film is never boring visual, I do think later Daniel Craig bond films have better cinematography but this film is still beautiful looking.
I have mentioned this through out but the film is masterfully edited especially the poker games which could easily be extremely boring and feel like they are going on forever but with the help of the great cinematography, the editor was able to craft scenes that would leave the audience on the edge of there seat.
Overall Casino Royale is a fantastic film apart from the last 20 minutes which holds the film back from being a masterpiece but it’s my favourite Bond film to date. Daniel Craig’s take on the character is the best version we have ever had, it’s a shame that one film in particular ruins the new direction the character of Bond went in and made it more like classic portrayals instead of his more realistic and mature version.