Fan Reviews - Casino Royale

Fan Reviews of the James Bond films can be submitted to MI6 via the Contribute page, or on the Reviews board of the "Keeping The British End Up" discussion forums. The views expressed on this page are those of the individual and not

"Casino Royale" by thegiantcookie
It's fair to say that Pierce Brosnan jumped ship at the right time (jumped or pushed, depending who you believe). Saddled with lousy action scenes, over the top and cras humour and worst of all, horrible scripts, its safe to say that the three main Brosnan films (excluding GoldenEye, which is quite good), were very underwhelming to full time Bond-o-geeks.

Something had to give. It did, but not by as near enough as it should have. James Bond is a Spy, and thankfully, Babs and Michael had the decent sense to reintroduce this into the franchise. Kind of. Ill talk about this later.

I won 2 tickets to see "Casino Royale" off my local radio station or release weekend. This was as good as it could get. A film I had waited for 4 years to see, and for free as well? Fantatsic. Bond films were a family event, so on the 19th November 2006, we all went to see it. They all thought it was fantastic, and so did I. A brilliant change of direction for a bond film that had certainly lost its creativity. But as time goes on, and Ive watched it again and again, I become less convinced of how good it is.

The casting for the most part is good. Craig makes a great bond, similar to Brosnan in Goldeneye, and he was backed up by a cast that were, thankfully, chosen on acting ability rather than who they were (I wonder how many people knew who Eva Green was prior to CR, unlike, say, Halle Berry). The cinematography is gorgeous, and for once, theres actually some tension in it, things are at stake, and it takes its toll on the characters.

This brings me onto my main problem. CR was sold as a complete reinvention of the franchise, but for me, it doesnt go far enough. It reintroduces Bond at the beggining of his career, of to stop the evil Le Chiffre from winning a poker game at CR in Montenegro. I have read the book, and its a pity Babs and Mike thought it was unfilmable, because sans some modernisation, the film could have been successfully adapted.

The book is a great thriller. The film is an action film and the two dont gel greatly. The film has an over reliance on over the top, if greatly done, action sequences that dont really fit into the story, despite how hard they try to. The Venice house sinking spring to mind. Its loud, noisy and completely unnessecary. I would have prefered a much lower key, quieter and more effective ending, perhaps something like bond waking up from being tortured and finding Vesper dead in the corner, wrists slashed and a note.

I wish EoN hadn't gone down this actiony route, it really ruins the film for me. Bond is a spy, not action man. The book, rightly, keeps this that way, he is a Spy. In the film, he is Not. He asks M if he should be 'Half Monk, Half Hitman'. 'Half Statham, Half Bourne' sounds better.

Other minor complaints. David Arnolds score is underwhelming, although above average for Arnold; Chris Cornell's theme song does nothing for me; Eva Green's occasionally shaky english accent; Judi Dench as M (Timeline wtf?) and the in your face product placement.

I desperately want to like Casino Royale. It is better than the majority of Bond films (and a huge improvement over DaD), but it doesnt go far enough down its reinvention route, chosing to stick in its ways with unneeded action sequences, but its better than most, so we better be grateful for it.

"Casino Royale" by 007calbrit
After Brosnan departed the role of James Bond in the 2002 OO7 flick 'Die Another Day' EON had the not so easy task of finding a new leading man to fill in the role as the world's greatest secret agent. Many were suggested for the part of the martini drinking, tuxedo wearing spy. A list of varying actors was made, from the dashingly handsome to the exceptionally talented, to the gentlemen with the classic dark good looks of the man we have come to know, to the public's most popular choices. Yes, many were rumoured, brought into suggestion and dismissed by fans. But little would have predicted Bond 21's leading man, and the brand new entry to the list of James Bond actors…

Daniel Craig was met with much controversy by everyone. And these thoughts? Who is this man? He doesn't look much like Bond. No, he's quite handsome! Ergh, no way! I've seen him, a great actor! But is he right for Bond? In 2005, with their man announced, and the internet firing up with complaints and arguments on several OO7 sites, the deal had been sealed. EON had decided to take on a dark blond haired James Bond, and the previous comments were thrown into the mix by fans and the public alike. And with the new film formally being titled as a reboot of the series with an adaptation of Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale, Bond 21 had to impress…

But did it do it? Did Craig manage to overcome criticism, and did this new Bond film rise to its full potential? In short, is Casino Royale a worthy entry to the series?

I can't speak for everyone, but for me, all I'll say is this: Yes, definitely.

Casino Royale brings us something new. And not just with a blond Bond, or reboot. No, this film brings in everything that makes the spy win our hearts: women, mystery, excitement, danger, glamour and most of all, enjoyment. And yet at the same time, it gives us a feeling of freshness, modern look and feel and something which can bring back the series.

The film is adapted from Fleming's first novel, taking many elements from its plot. However, the first half feels like a lead up to when the book takes place, Bond travelling to Casino Royale to play his hand against the evil Le Chiffre, on the run from his own people after losing stocks on a failed terrorist attack. The PTS starts, for the first time in Bond history, without a gun barrel, and the whole sequence is shot in a noir style, flashbacks being used to show Bond's first two kills to get his all important OO number. From the very first few moments of 'Royale' we can clearly see that this new Bond film seems to have a touch of grittiness in it. Its brutal -ness, its down to earth style which mixes itself in over the top fashion, is what gives the film its distinctive touch, making it what it is. And as well as this, from the very first moment Craig is introduced, his presence as Bond brings the movie a level higher, the actor playing it with a mixture of charm, humour and human exterior. This Bond bleeds, gets knocked around in a foot chase, chugs down glasses of whisky after fights and still has the ability to smile, walk out and crack a one liner to his villain or charm a woman he has just met into sleeping with him. And at the same time, he's a newbie Bond, does his job and keeps to himself, even going off and away from MI6's command to follow up a simple lead. He also makes mistakes, gets people killed and gets caught up in the moment of things, even going as far as to nearly kill the villain against orders. And mainly for the greater good. And to me, this is what makes Craig's Bond so unique; his determination to do his job, against allies and enemies, for whatever greater good it may be, whether following up a bombing plot or for getting a lead regardless. And he'll be reckless in the process, yet smart. He knows what he's doing, and this James Bond, bigger and better, will do anything to find what he's looking for.

Yes, Casino Royale is definitely one of the roughest Bond flicks we've seen on our screens in a long time. And yet, keeping with the Ian Fleming style of beautiful women and over the top villains and glamour, 'Royale' doesn't fail with a variety of actors and actresses, Eva Green playing the movie's heroine Vesper Lynd and Mads Mikellson playing the smart, devious and scarred villain Le Chiffre. Judi Dench also returns as M, bringing a brand new take on the spy/boss relationship, and Giancarlo Giannini joins the cast as the likable Rene Mathis. Each actor helps build up the talented set up to the film, each one playing a part in making Fleming's story come to life in a modern fashion. It's a true Bond story, a villain with a unique appearance and demeanor, our lovely girl, the charming ally and our hero in the spot light. All taking place in the high end location of Montenegro for the film's second half. And also, following Fleming's novel, it completes itself with twists and turns and a shocking betrayal. Add over the top action, bulking up the suspense for a grand finale, crude Fleming-esque humour when needed and some lighter touches of the element, and a flare of dramatic direction, this all fits together nicely and logically and Royale completes itself as a modern adaptation of a great novel, and a milestone for the Bond series. And even with the change in minor elements and an entertaining build up, I can still recognise it as that stunning adventure I read long ago. In short, this is still James Bond, new, faster and darker, and yet he's still the same man who wore his tuxedo with pride, charmed his women and drank his fair share of drinks.

In all, I think Casino Royale has it all, and gels the elements together so well. Humour, over the top-ness, tension, characterisation and a more human portrayal of our hero. And with a top class cast to back it up, and its own unique take and very look, it creates the feeling of going back to the classics of Bond; Dr. No, From Russia With Love. It has its own look and cinematography, 'wow' factor and timeless effect. And to me, these all come together to make a great Bond film, and film in general. And as for our blond haired lead? He has the coolness of Connery, the darkness and human side of Dalton and the charm of Moore. And with his own Bond's new take on the role, and ability, the man impresses, and is enough to have me sold on his performance. James Bond is back, and all in all, he never looked better!

"Casino Royale" by Louis Armstrong
Casino Royale is a fairly entertaining film, with two major flaws: too much action, and too flashy dialogue. These are complaints levelled at it quite often, and for good reason. While the story is down-to-earth and intriguing, the action and dialogue largely work against it. I guess that's what you get when you inject talented actors and a boatload of Fleming into a Brosnan flick; the result totters on the divide between greatness and suckitude.

One of the absolute worst action sequences in a Bond film is when our hero is poisoned, but unrealistically saved from death by a defibrillator in his Aston Martin. The stairwell fight, which develops love interest Vesper Lynd's distaste for Bond's line of work, displays the ruthlessness of the men villain Le Chiffre owe money, and shows a heavily bleeding Bond's vulnerability, is superb. But the next interruption to the movie's central poker game, a heart attack which serves only to set up a punchline, is a real kick in the nuts. I've thought about it some, and I can think of no reason the cane/gun trick from Ian Fleming's novel wouldn't have sufficed at this point to demonstrate Le Chiffre's determination in offing Bond. At least it was creative, and wouldn't have meant Bond leaving the table again. The free-running sequence and airport sequence go on far too long and because of this play out almost like comedy. Every time Mollaka does a stunt, we cut back to Bond to see how he'll equal or better it. Sort of like a dance-off. In the airport scene, it seems as if the bad guy is trying his level best to ram into as many vehicles as possible. The movie is desperate to impress the viewer in this respect. And the crazy antics of the sinking house climax and Vesper's OTT suicide distract from what the audience needs to digest plot-wise.

Also annoying is how verbose the film's dialogue is. When Bond breaks into his boss' apartment, M slings provocative threats and insults at him in a very unprofessional (but to some, very entertaining) way. More realistically, his boss would've fired him. Instead, she decides to tell the audience, under the guise of a chewing out, how we should be feeling about 007. Bond and Vesper are out of control in the train scene, pulling cute character analysis out their asses. I never really feel the couple are in love - they spend their conversations being flash with each other, with little affection shown. There is no mention of food or vacation spots during their dinner, like in the novel; about halfway through, their unsubtle talk becomes a mess that isn't even amusing. Was Paul Haggis the right choice to polish the script? He added a lot of flowery wit unsuitable for Bond, simply dressing up the type of unconvincing expository dialogue found in Brosnan's later outings. Remember boys, show, don't tell.

Daniel Craig brings both a serious demeanour and a schoolboy cheek to Bond. While on assignment, however, the character seems to be written as some kind of remorseless bad-boy, which is unfortunate. The film's humour is fine and all, but I kept wondering when Bond would stop trying to wow Vesper and actually show himself to her. There's no tension to speak of, as he's too busy being an amateur playa or verbally spelling out the romantic subplot. Anyway, on the topic of presence: Craig has it in spades, thanks to shockingly blue eyes and a naturally cruel-looking face. He doesn't command attention, but James Bond shouldn't. If you stop and look him in the eye, you sense an aura of danger or excitement. But other than that? Not much - and it works.

Ultimately, this movie proved two things: Craig's Bond demands a better film, and Bond films demand Fleming. Period. Comma. Backspace.

"Casino Royale" by Mr Brown
This film does a great job of grasping the audience right from the beginning. The pre-titles sequence doesn’t follow the normal formula, either. First and foremost, it doesn’t start off with the traditional gun barrel and, instead, ends with it. The pre-titles are also in grayscale – something we had never seen before in a James Bond film. Finally, the scenes take place in James Bond’s past. The crew involved with these scenes did an outstanding job. In noir-fashion, we see James Bond earn his legendary double-oh number. The bathroom fight brought me back to the Dalton era. In this scene, James Bond is in his most brutal form. Between slamming the enemy into the urinals and drowning him in a sink, these flashbacks certainly deliver thrills. We also see how cold James Bond can really be when he shoots Dryden (the 00-section chief). A quickly-cut shot shows a family photo on Dryden’s desk as the bullet strikes him. And at last, we also get an idea of how the gun barrel sequence came to be.

As great as that all may sound, I think this is the first and final solid aspect of the film. Once again, in true cinematic James Bond fashion, this film loosely adapts the classic Ian Fleming novel.

Perhaps one of the better aspects of the film includes the characters. Vesper Lynd and Rene Mathis were portrayed quite well, in my opinion. Eva Green did a great job of playing James Bond’s lover. She was certainly the best Bond girl we’ve been given since Sophie Marceau or Izabella Scorupco. Giancarlo Giannini’s portrayal of Rene Mathis was exceptional and the character ranks up there with the greatest allies of the series. On the other hand, the fates of each character were poorly written. With Vesper, the masterminds Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis turn Fleming’s sleeping pill suicide into a drowning in an elevator. They also (pointlessly) turn Mathis into a potential informant for Le Chiffre, and therefore he is tasered and taken off for imprisonment by the end of the film. As far as Mad Mikkelsen’s performance as Le Chiffre goes, I could take it or leave it. It was certainly a more glamorized, MTV-generation version of the character. In the novel, Le Chiffre was not model material. I would prefer Peter Lorre’s version of the character any day. The producers also introduce Felix Leiter in this film, portrayed by Jeffrey Wright. I saw this performance as very limited, thanks to the writers. Wright did not have much to work with here, and therefore, was not able to shine as he has done in some other films that he’s been in. Judi Dench is also brought back as M – which is another disgrace to Fleming’s novel. Instead of acting as Bond’s boss in the film, she more or less acts like his mother. It gets annoying after a while, to be honest. Other performances in the film were limite; none of them come off as memorable or worth a mention.

David Arnold also offers us another uninspired score. I consider the score to be one of the worst of the series. It’s dull, lifeless, unoriginal, and doesn’t even come close to the works of John Barry or Eric Serra. That said, I think I’ve given the score to this film more attention than it deserves.

Chris Cornell’s theme song was decent; made in more of “Live and Let Die” style, it certainly provided for an interesting title track. The vocals are great (coming from a Cornell fan), but the lyrics are pretty simple. It’s not the worst of the series, and not the best either. It works well with the film, though.

My major problem with this film is the ridiculous action and the poor adaptation of the novel – they go hand in hand. The story seems to be propelled by lack-luster action. The only scenes that stand up to the film’s opening include the casino scenes and the moments before the end titles. Other than that, the rest of the film carries that MTV-generation appeal. I really can’t find the difference between this James Bond film and the films of the supposedly “out-of-control” Pierce Brosnan era. When you shred away the thin, outer coating, they’re still the exact same things – generic action films made to generate loads of cash. The most outrageous scene of “Casino Royale”, though, has to be the falling house in Venice. If this house were made of ice, it would really be no different than one of those scenes in “Die Another Day”.

The brutal take on James Bond goes a bit too far, also – to the point in which it seems to mimic Jason Bourne, rather than Ian Fleming’s character. You can really notice this at Miami International with Bond’s attire. Jason Bourne can wear blue jeans and casual jackets – not James Bond. And what was with the sadistic smirk after killing Carlos? It made Bond come off as some sort of psychopath. What was with the deliberate disobedience? Had a fresh agent thoughtlessly killed a suspect against the instructions of his superior, I doubt he’d be in the service for much longer. While Bond can be a cold assassin at times, there has to be a line drawn. He is not some psycho on a killing spree.

The first few viewings of “Casino Royale” were satisfying, I must admit. It was a new Bond, and a new take on Bond, too. After a while, though, this film started losing its appeal with me, and the flaws started standing out a bit more. If you’re into generic action and cringe-worthy love scenes, then this is the film for you. However, you could also get that out of a random Arnold Schwarzenegger film if you wanted to. Though the series does not have a reputation for faithfully adapting Fleming’s novels, I think the writers could have at least made an honest attempt. Instead, this is not Ian Fleming’s “Casino Royale” … it is Eon Productions’ “Casino Royale”. They maintained the basic plot, and changed mostly everything else. Even that genital mutilation/torture scene from the novel was turned into a joke.

I do not see how this is any more of a James Bond film as “Moonraker” or “Die Another Day”. It provides ridiculous action and trend-following, rather than trend-setting.

In the end, an official, faithful adaptation of Ian Fleming’s classic novel went to waste. What a shame.

"Casino Royale" by MOOREDIFINITVE
A few vital elements have to fall into place for a Bond movie to rate in the upper echelon of classics. Eventually, all movies become a classic but certain ones catch the "first time watcher" by surprise and begin their 007 fanaticism.

Casino Royale certainly works with a full boat of Bondian characteristics, what with Le Chiffre weeping blood, his complete disregard for human life and his hand in the world’s top terrorists pockets, he fits the bill as a good villain. His best delivery by far, "I'm going have to call you on that one," shows the eventual fear every enemy has of James Bond.

Bond's weakness must be displayed in a classic. Women are a difficult challenge for him. While shooting a moving target from 100 feet away looks like a walk in the park, courting a beautiful women and maintaining a professional relationship with her is a bit more difficult.

Dear Vesper, our mysterious Bond girl provides a thrilling challenge for 007. Her dark undertones hint at the events to come. We don't want to believe she will die but know deep down this is her ultimate destiny. This sets the tone for the series and haunts him for years to come. If one day Bond ceases to exist, we know a lady will be involved.

Overall, Casino Royale is a good way to spend your evening. Relish in the scenery at Montenegro, enjoy watching how Bond gets his hands on the ultimate car, the Aston Martin DB5 and discover Bond’s affection for gambling. We embark on the beginning of key relationships in this film, truly a treat for the enthusiast.

Casino Royale is "the worlds" Bond; the first in a series that allows the producers to let their imagination run wild and solidify the James Bond character for generations to have to start somewhere.