Casino Royale (2006)

After “Die Another Day” came out in 2002, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM for short) decided to reboot the James Bond franchise in the wake of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” defibrillating the beloved superhero on the big screen. Producers of MGM wanted a younger actor to play James Bond upon realizing Pierce Brosnan is getting old. Pierce called it quits and passes the torch to Daniel Craig. MGM green-lit a script based on Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale,” which is the first novel in the James Bond series, not “Dr. No” as some believe the latter movie to be the one that originated.

Martin Campbell, who directed “Goldeneye” comes back to direct James Bond for the second time. Judi Dench also returns as M, but not the same M from Pierce Brosnan’s films. This M is already been around before Daniel Craig’s came into the picture. Mads Mikkelsen signed on to play the villain, Le Chiffre & Eva Green also signed on to play Bond’s love interest, Vesper Lynd. After a year of filming, post-production, editing and putting the final touches of the reboot since 2005, Casino Royale was officially distributed worldwide.

Casino Royale was released in 2006. It received positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. Besides critical acclaim, the reboot made a lot of money at the box office. Casino Royale spawned four sequels including “Quantum Of Solace,” “Skyfall,” “Spectre” and the upcoming film “No Time To Die.” Former Bond actors Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan & the late Roger Moore praised Daniel Craig’s iteration of the character.

To prepare for Daniel Craig’s last rodeo in “No Time To Die” scheduled to come out in April 2020, I’d like to share my thoughts on Casino Royale, my personal favorite James Bond film of all time. Daniel’s movie, “Knives Out” is currently out in theaters.

Today’s review does not contain no very important SPOILERS. If you’ve never ever ever seen Casino Royale, feel free to read my non-spoiler article.

By the way, this won’t be a Flashback Review. When I turned 13, my childhood was done in favor of going deeper into darker and edgier territory.

Rich & Poor Elements

Rich: Daniel Craig did an amazing job for his performance as James Bond.

Fun Fact: Before Daniel Craig won the role as James Bond, several actors like Sam Worthington, Henry Cavill & Clive Owen were considered to play 007. They either dropped out or were rejected.

Other Cast Members such as Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffery Wright & Judi Dench all did a decent job for their respective performances.

Martin Campbell did a great job directing the film. It was his last good movie until “Green Lantern” ruined his career.

Action Sequences were legit. None of them never replicate previous films. Each action scene felt organic like a parkour chase that kept my blood pumping for more testosterone.

Cinematography never suffered from a bad case of Dutch Angles and Shaky Cam.

The Gun Barrel Sequence was perfectly executed. I remember everybody at a movie theater was cheering.

Practical Effects were heavily involved to create several action scenes. Indicating, no Computer Animation was added. MGM has learned their lesson not to rely too much on C.G.I.

Chemistry between Bond & Vesper felt believable. Their scenes aren’t forgettable nor cringeworthy.

Character Development involving Bond. As the film progresses, he endures many dangerous obstacles in his way. He has to use his brain and muscle to conquer anything getting in his way if he wants to save the day from terrorists. There’s a reason why Casino Royale is unique.

The source material from the book is set in a Post-9/11 atmosphere set in July 2006. The year I turned 13.

Casino Royale reboots Bond as a less experienced 00 Agent who embarks on his first mission to try and defeat Le Chiffre at a high stakes Texas Hold ‘Em tournament. The tension is about a 50/50 chance of whoever wins, will either save the day or fund terrorists.

The Tone for the film is a gritty and realistic influenced by “Batman Begins” & “The Bourne Identity” series. Bond is described as a combination of Bruce Wayne & Jason Bourne.

A henchman is named, Mr. White. A reference to “Reservoir Dogs.” Speaking of Quentin Tarantino, a video game based on Reservoir Dogs also came out in 2006.

Bond himself takes many risks as a first time 00 Agent. Thus, raising the stakes higher for someone who’s now on the top of his chain.

I’m gonna give this movie credit for introducing me to Texas Hold ‘Em.

Cliches from the Bond franchise are subverted. There’s no over-the-top nuclear weapons, not a single stupid henchmen who let Bond escape a death trap, lack of futuristic lookin’ gadgets among many other troops weren’t featured. Felt like a breath of fresh air.

Unlike most Bond villains, Le Chiffre isn’t a complete moron. He’s actually a compelling villain who serves a purpose. Without giving too much away, Le Chiffre was pretty brutal towards Bond. That one scene can be painful for male’s “manhood.”

A Plot Twist occurred. Much better than M. Night Shyamalan’s plot twist from “Lady In The Water.”

The late Chris Cornell contributed to the theme song titled, “You Know My Name.” Why didn’t this song get nominated for an Oscar for “Best Original Song?”

The Ending managed to end with a grand payoff.

Poor: I couldn’t find nothing wrong with this movie. I’ll give The Cast & Crew an Extra Point without breaking a sweat.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Casino Royale remains as my personal favorite James Bond movie. Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond actor besides Pierce Brosnan. There’s a sole reason why Casino Royale is my favorite Bond movie, it’s a character driven film, rather than a rehash of any previous Bond movie prior to the reboot. Every single thing I’ve listed why it’s arguably the best (if not the best) Bond film. If you’re gearing up for Daniel Craig’s final rodeo as 007 in No Time To Die, I strongly recommend Casino Royale. Don’t forget to watch Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall & Spectre.

I can’t wait to see No Time To Die. I hope Daniel’s last hurrah is an epic conclusion.

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