In the same fashion as Batman Begins, Casino Royale the 21st Bond film ït starts over the franchise with a new outlook. Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in this film based on the 1953 novel by Ian Fleming, which hopes to rejuvenate the series by getting rid of some of franchise trademarks as well as the gadgets they supply. Grossing nearly 600 million dollars worldwide, Casino Royale was commercially a great success, but does the new bond fall short of past expectations, or does this reboot on the series provide for good cinema?
James Bond isn’t yet an agent of double-0 status, but in order to accomplish this he is sent to Prague to assassinate a rogue agent who has been selling British secrets, as well as his associate. After accomplishing this, the film opening begins in traditional bond fashion with a fresh gun barrel sequence followed by the opening credits. Already the film appears to be a lot darker than past Bond films, and I have yet to hear a corny catch phrase as well.
At this point Bond is granted his double-0 status and with it, a license to kill. Already the film begins with some intense action scenes including explosions, gunshots, and a free running chase through the streets and buildings of Madagascar . It turns out that Bond’s target has been working for Le Chiffre an unscrupulous banker who manages the money of some pretty evil guys. Bond catches on to one of Le Chiffre’s plots to blow up a prototype airliner in Miami for his own personal gain, of course foiling it. These causes Le Chiffre to loose massive amounts of money and therefore hold a Texas hold’em poker tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro,Better find some time to practice, I hear www.partycasino.com is good. Bond funded by MI6 for the 10 million dollar buy-in is to enter the tournament in hopes to bankrupt Le Chiffre, forcing him to co-operate with them.
From this point there is great dialogue, intense action, and an ever-evolving story. The movie even includes some twists, and scenes I’d never thought I’d witness coming from a bond movie, including a pretty brutal torture scene. Even Bond acts different, no more charismatic dialogue and unlikely use of gadgets, instead he is what he is; a government hit man. Some, including myself, did think the gadgets, the womanizing, the catch phrases, and the over the top action is what makes a James Bond movie what it is. Getting away from this previous theory makes Casino Royale unlike any other Bond movie and a complete rejuvenation of the series, almost to the point where aside from character names and familiar MI6 faces, Casino Royale is almost unrecognizable as a Bond movie. Of course the main storyline is very Bond-esque as it was based on the book written by Ian Fleming, but as I just mentioned it was portrayed unlike any other Bond film to date, much more darker.
This now leads us to the selection of Daniel Craig as James Bond, which had many fans up in arms when it was announced. But after seeing him in this role I think even they shut up, Daniel Craig played this role better than anyone I could imagine, a very dark and intelligent man. Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan played amazing Bondï¿½s very witty and charming, that’s undeniable, and as much as I loved Brosnan as Bond and as an actor, I just couldn’t imagine anyone playing this role better than Craig. This is coming from a fan of all previous 20 Bond movies.
Even the Bond girls are gone about differently, we don’t have to endure countless seduction attempts, instead are limited to Bond’s attraction to one, yes only one woman. The actions in this movie shape Bond for the future, it explains a lot of reasons why he acts the way he does in other films, unless of course in this new reboot of the series he doesn’t act the way he has traditionally.
I think at this point it goes without saying that there are a lot of changes for this new movie, which I think are for the better. Casino Royale is an amazing change for the face of Bond, the action is better and more realistic, the characters are deeper, and I don’t have to endure anymore-phony sequences. When I say I like the change its in reference to the direction the series has taken in the past few films, I wouldn’t change anything about the Bond movies of the 60’s and 70’s, it was just time that storyline was put to rest and this new fresh one could begin. With that being said Casino Royale is a great movie that is a must see for Bond fans or casual viewer alike.
Sony is offering separate versions of the films aspect ratio, 1.33:1Full Screen (used for this review) and 2.35:1 Widescreen respectively. The transfer itself looks much sharper in comparison to other DVDs I have recently watched, the same can be said about the colors. I was pleased to see how well they held up, looking vibrant and never washed out. The films intense action sequences are truly the highlight of the film, showcasing some impressive looking gunfights and explosions, the details here look excellent. Overall I found the transfer quite great, one DVD owners should add to their action library.
Casino Royale is fitted with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, one that sounds great throughout. I was really surprised how good this track sounded, definitely not as compressed as I thought it would be. Dialogue sounds great and action scenes even better. During these scenes bass was present very frequently as were the use rear channels. It may lack the extra oomph the Blu-ray release will have but this is still a great sounding track.
Casino Royale boasts a second disc of extra features, which include:
- Becoming Bond: A featurette on the challenges faced by the filmmakers in reinventing James Bond.
- James Bond: For Real: A look into the actions sequences of Casino Royale as well as the special effects.
- Bond Girls Are Forever: A documentary on the Bond Girls of past and present, their thoughts on the films and their role as icons.
- Chris Cornell Music Video: Simply put, a music video.
The features include some pretty interesting interviews with the cast and crew of the film, although the features are interesting I really would have expected a bit more out of a 2-disc edition.
The original James Bond films will forever remain classic, and at first the dramatic change of direction may be hard to endure for fans such as myself. But ultimately the new look and feel of Bond is superb. This 2-Disc DVD boasts great audio and video along with some interesting features, a must buy for fans of the movie.