Casino Royale Movie Review: A Classic, Fifteen Years On

The James Bond franchise is probably one of the best-known and longest-running movie franchises in existence today. A suave spy who is out to save the world (and countless women in skimpy dresses) from some new threat or terrorist hell-bent on destroying it is undoubtedly a good rock on which to build a film dynasty! The franchise is full of incredible fashions, overflowing with the casino chips that the lucky spy seems to win endlessly and stunning locations. Of all the films in the franchise, Casino Royale has got to be our favorite. Yes, we know that some die-hard Bond fans out there might find it more than a little insulting that we’ve chosen such a new film as our favorite, but we have a wealth of reasons, and we’re happy to share them all with you now.

Casino Royale Review

While we all love Bond, we’ve had several issues with the film series over the decades, most of which found some resolution in Casino Royale. This might be because this was actually the first of the series in the order that Ian Fleming wrote the books. Fleming was still trying to find the character’s voice and slowly discovering who Bond really was, so it feels like a very pure version of the character. We meet Bond, fresh from receiving his license to kill (the 007 part of the film’s title) and on his way to Madagascar to sniff out Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre is planning to host a poker match where he will raise funds for his nefarious terrorist organization, and MI6 sends in Bond (played to perfection by Daniel Craig) to insert himself into the game and Le Chiffre’s orbit.

Daniel Craig is a superb Bond; there’s no doubt about it. He puts a slightly different spin on the character; more thoughtful and less flashy, less lady-crazy, and a bit more human. He helps to create the new reality that Bond will step forward into. We all know what to expect from any Bond movie: exquisite locations, the highest-tech lair for the movie’s villain, the most beautiful women on the planet, and a series of dashing suits for the hero himself. Some changes come our way in Casino Royale, but not enough to break entirely with the traditional Bond formula. In place of Q, we have Dame Judi Dench’s M in a far more significant and more detailed role within MI6. This time around, the villain isn’t really after world domination, just living a continued and plush life as he funnels money to actual terrorists and keeps his cut. Our female lead in this franchise installment is Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, and, as is expected of Eva Green, she is stunning and cool in the extreme. 

Where most Bond films are filled to the brim with archetypes that don’t inspire any genuine care or concern because they don’t seem particularly human in nature, Casino Royale’s characters really stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Not only do the characters themselves stand out in the film, but so do the stunt and action scenes that we have all come to expect in any good Bond film. Where most of the (admittedly incredible) chase and action scenes in most Bond movies don’t seem like things that could ever possibly happen in real life, these are slightly more realistic. The film crew has made a concerted effort to make all their trick filmography look like something near to actual human ability. Instead of the usual chaotic fights, we are gifted with choreography that makes the scenes flow somewhat elegantly.

We are thrilled to finally have an action hero in our lives who feels like a real person. Though the future of Bond is to be proven, we hope that those with the power to choose our next hero or heroine will use Casino Royale’s standards to set the bar going forward.

Casino Royale Facts

1. Casino Royale was almost a black and white epic featuring not Daniel Craig but Pierce Brosnan. Quentin Tarantino was interested in taking on Bond and getting back to his roots, but in the end, his proposal was rejected.

2. We almost lost Daniel Craig again to Henry Cavill. Lucky for Craig ( and sad for us), Cavill was deemed too young to take on the role at the time. Christian Bale, Orlando Bloom, Dominic West, Karl Urban, and Sam Worthington were also considered for the role.

3. That one death-defying parkour scene in Casino Royale took a whopping six weeks to film. There was a lot of expertise available to the team during this time, as the man that Bond was chasing was actually Sébastien Foucan, who is one of the inventors of Le Parkour.

4. Instead of taking a nap or reading a book in their downtime while on set, the cast and crew would play poker whenever they had a minute.

Wrap Up

Casino Royale stands out as the premier Bond film- have you seen it yet?

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