17 November 2006

007 is back!

The highly anticipated 2006 version of Casino Royale, based on Ian Fleming's original novel, is back with a stunning revival of the 007 character. Daniel Craig does a fantastic job as the newest actor to portray James Bond in his first mission after attaining the double-"0" promotion. In fact, he's my favorite 007 actor since Sean Connery. He actually looks built enough to pull off the stunts that James Bond has to do to track down the bad guys. Previous actors just looked like middle-aged guys throwing very slow punches. Daniel Craig is one tough lookin' spy who can run, jump, and fight on screen with commanding force.

The typical James Bond one-liners aren't predictable and peppered throughout the film. Rather, the script remains fresh and clever. I love the first dialogue scene between Craig and Eva Green, who plays accountant Vesper Lynd, as they size one another up with sassy yet respectful quips. I love the camera angles on the panoramic shots of Europe. But the true genius lies in the varying and artful camera angles on the first chase/run/climb scene atop a crane. The cinematographer and editor deserve plush kudos for that scene. For once, James Bond is a person who reveals his weaknesses and opens up to other humans. The latter Bond films with Pierce Brosnan painted Bond as so much of an unfeeling robot character. I like that Craig's bond is fun to watch when he's in spy mode, but also endearing as a character that's relatable when he cares about other people.

The first chase scene and the last crumbling building scene were a little over the top as far as believability goes. Bond chases a terrorist in a beginning scene; he moves through obstacles as if he was spiderman. Absolutely unrealistic, but it was the most fun I've had watching a man to man chase scene in the movies!

The casino scenes were sometimes a little too drawn out, especially for a movie that's 2 hours and 24 minutes in duration. And, the camera spent WAY too much time on Mads Mikkelsen's bad banker guy Le Chiffre, the scar eye with the cloudy blue contact weren't exactly fun to watch for so many scenes. Dame Judi Dench is back as "M"--the only woman who can keep James Bond in line and talk some sense into him. This 007 flick does not feature a "Q" or any other invention genius, for that matter.

Plot premise: Bond must prevent a banker/bad guy from wining a casino tournament and funding terrorism.

Overall film review: MUST SEE IT in the theater. I can't wait to see it again on DVD!



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