*** Official CASINO ROYALE Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Paul_Scott, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

    Jul 19, 2002
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    This film , ultimately , really did surprise me. I knew the franchise was getting a kick in the pants, but I wasn't expecting that the end product would be that radically different. Make no mistake, this is not your fathers 21st You Only Live Twice remake. This isn't even License To Kill (one of the few in the series I actually love).
    Almost everything about this one turns the franchise on its head, and I just don't think thats a bad thing. By finally breaking away from the need to remake the more iconic entries in the series, and dispensing with trying to find another substitute for Sean Connery, this series finally gets its soul back and comes across as worthy of being mentioned in the same breath with those 40 year old trendsetters.
    Hard to think of a way of reviewing this without bringing up spoilers (I never read the book).
    I'll just say that I greatly enjoyed it- I'm honestly exicted to see where this stuff is going now- and Eva Green's Vesper is my absolute all time favorite Bond girl. I can't think of any other that comes close. the chemistry between the two is excellant, and the relationship between them is ultimately more satisfying and bombastic than any of the action sequences, which are actually well done. The comparisions to Bourne are not without merit- and fans of the series that were worried, may not be placated by this one after all. The focus is definitely on the human side of the equation, and I think thats a refreshing change (for this series). I also finally like Dame Dench in the role of M. With Craig, the character works and I would look forward to seeing the relationship develop over subsequent films.
    Also props to the score. the iconic theme only shows up once that I'm aware of, but the rest of the score is a welcome return to more old school, and less electronica.

    A solid B+ for now ( but I expect this one to get even better upon future viewings)
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Casino Royale". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    I saw it, but didn't much like Daniel Craig in the role as James Bond. There are scenes in the film where his stoic blue eyes do make him look like one of the heads on Easter Island. He was so robotic and just off-putting in the first main act of the film. I don't find him all that charming or debonair (even if it's "Bond Begins", Bond should have this intangible from the get-go). He's just hard to look at with those cold steel blue eyes, just odd looking to me if you're going to prop him up as the next James Bond for a new generation. I missed the sense of irony that Brosnan's eyebrows would communicate in dire situations. Sure, we get more muscles with Craig, but we also get more running, lost of running, way too much running...

    The 2nd act was too long and uninteresting when it comes to the actual poker play at the Casino Royale. I didn't really buy the love affair between Bond and Vesper, it felt not as intimate as it should have been. I blame it on the directing and somewhat on the screenplay. Eva Green's intro on the train was a hampered by her accent in the verbal sparring between Vesper and Bond, as her dialogue was tougher to understand than it should have been.

    The 3rd act is too rushed in spots, and rather pedestrian in 2nd unit action sequences. It wrapped up too quickly given the bloated 2nd act. The plot just wasn't all that interesting to me.

    I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+.
  4. Bill Street

    Bill Street Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 18, 2002
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    I think Casino Royale ranks up there with the best Bonds as far as relative believability, time spent on character development, and showing possibly for the first time since OHMSS, that the kind of violence that Bond is involved in has consequences. The scene in the shower with Vesper says a lot about how real people would react to being involved in murder.

    Along the same theme, I loved that this Bond gets hurt and shows pain. It's such a relief from all the over the top Bond action sequences in the past where the villain's giant lair is blown up and out walks Bond without even his hair mussed up. One thing that has been missing from the movies as opposed to the books is the sense that Bond is not invulnerable, he's a survivor. Most Bond books I've read have him doing great dangerous things and accomplishing his tasks, but usually he is severely banged up and in some cases barely survives. This is much more believable.

    Daniel Craig is an interesting choice for Bond. Those that were worried that he would become too PC will be glad to see that Craig plays a real "pipe swinging Bond". I love the grit and determination and the real sense of danger that he exudes.

    I wonder though, if he really makes me think of James Bond. While I think he does a great job and enjoy his take on the character, it's sometimes still hard to think of him James Bond. I guess its the 40 years of dark headed leading men that has a lot to do with it, but while I enjoyed all of it, there were parts that just didn't feel like a James Bond movie.

    I thought the direction was great, and the screenplay, obviously aided by Paul Haggis was one of the best Bond screenplays in a long time. The film did run about 20 minutes too long, though, and some of the latter part's Bond and Vesper relationship just didn't quite jibe.

    My ultimate opinion is that this film is first rate and I appreciate its uniqueness and hope that this dissimilarity to past Bond films doesn't punish it at the box office.
  5. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

    May 9, 2002
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    No time to write a long review, but I did enjoy the film a great deal. Craig was very good as Bond and he certainly is one of the best actors to portray him. I doubt he'll ever be considered the best Bond, however, due to the fact that he just doesn't have as much charisma as some of the other guys.

    Campbell did better with this material than with GoldenEye, but I still don't really find a lot of inspiration in his direction. He does a serviceable job here, nothing special.

    Liked the music quite a bit, and thought it evolved very nicely over the course of the film.

    LOVED the opening of the film and the lead-in to the credits.


    1. "Monkey man" in the chase in Madagascar. Just a bit ridiculous some of the feats he was pulling off...way too over the top even for a Bond film (especially with no background that the character had those kind of special abilities).

    2. The decision to substitute Texas Hold Em for Baccarat (which was the game played in the book) ended up taking away from the film, for me. And they certainly didn't play up the fact that they were playing Texas Hold Em, so I'm a bit puzzled as to why they made the change. Baccarat would have worked in this film and would have fit better with the elegance of the Casino Royale itself.

    That's it for criticisms, and the second one is a nit. I definitely recommend this film, and it is definitely a worthy entry in the series.
  6. Mike.P

    Mike.P Second Unit

    Dec 10, 2004
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    This is the Bond I've been waiting for.

    Better then the Departed (yes, different I know, but nonetheless I feel the need to say it).


    Daniel Craig, you win. And Eva Green, I loved you before, and now you've stolen (and broken) my heart.

    This isn't a good bond film, this is a good film film. I realize it will never garner any sort of award consideration, but that is of no fault of its own.
  7. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

    Sep 13, 1999
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    Dialogue was a bit try hard.
    Music was good.
    Craig and Judi were good. Eva was ok.

    Cinema was BAD.
    Sony product placement all over. Blu Ray players!

    Best recent Bond - Brosnan looks like a prissy sissy in comparison.
  8. MattFini

    MattFini Supporting Actor

    May 7, 2004
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    Saw it tonight. Absolutely fantastic film....through and through.

    As a lifelong Bond fan, I was worried sick about this one from its inception. From the casting of Craig (who seemed wrong to me) to the loose variations on all of the Bond traditions. I felt like the filmmakers were going to shake things up to a point where the things that make 007 films 007 films would be unrecognizable.

    Thankfully I was wrong.

    From the stylishly quick and vicious pre-credits sequence to the brilliant ending, I COULD NOT have been any happier with this one. Not only is Casino Royale one of the very best 007 films in the entire canon, but in my eyes this is the best film of the year.

    The script by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade is phenomenally tight. The plot has been expanded considerably from Ian Fleming's novel, but it hits all the necessary notes. In my opinion, this is far more important in weighing this adaptation's successes against its literary counterpart. So several things have been omitted from the film: the terrorist bombing that nearly kills Bond, the paranoid 007 who subtly traps his hotel room before leaving it, etc. It still gives us the right notes that take the James Bond character on the necessary arc to get him to where he needs to be at the end of the film. I liked the expansions to the story and while I was slightly disappointed that the film didn't end in the same setting that the novel did, the climax was rousing and suspenseful. To the point: it worked just as well even if different.

    Martin Campbell helms his second James Bond film and does a tremendous job at it. There is no question that this is the best Bond film since GoldenEye-it may even be superior (though I'd like to see it again before I start saying how it stacks up against my favorites). The action is GRITTY and VIOLENT. Gone are all of the CGI effects that littered the last few films, the action here is effective, exciting and refreshingly old school.

    Even with a length of almost 2 hours and 30 minutes, Campbell keeps Casino Royale moving along at a furious pace. The action comes at satisfying intervals and produces dollops of suspense. Honestly, this is the first time since From Russia With Love that a James Bond film has been suspenseful. I was thrilled to have that element back...it's been missed for a long while.

    Daniel Craig fills the shoes of Bond flawlessly...as the film started I had NO trouble accepting him as the character. Casino Royale allows for our hero to have an emotional arc and Craig brings him to life effortlessly. This Bond is a real man who feels regret, sorrow, anger, pity...in short, he's effortlessly human.

    As Le Chiffre, Mads Mikkelsen is one of 007's greatest enemies in a long while. He's not the archetypal Bond villain, true, but he oozes venom with little more than a nasty gaze. The scenes where he and Craig face off at a poker table are among the best in the film because of their abilities to say so much without speaking.

    The rest of the cast does an amiable job. I'm not the biggest fan of Eva Green but her performance is good. I personally would've liked to have seen someone attractive play the part but I digress...

    It was great seeing Giancarlo Gianinni back on the screen as well...more of him is always a good thing.

    If there was one thing I didn't like (and it's minor), it was the implication that 'M' is more than an official title given to the head of MI6 and that it was actually part of the Judi Dench character's name. It was the only thing that truly disrupts the continuity of the other films but I'm willing to overlook such a minor quibble.

    Casino Royale is a homerun in my eyes. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more. A wonderful experience at the movies that delivers thrills, action, suspense, drama....all in a film with a good script and great performances. In short: a great film!

    You don't have to be a Bond fan to love this one!

    Highly recommended.
  9. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

    Jan 3, 2002
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    First off, an absolutely terrible opening credits song.
    Didn't like the credit sequence at all, looked like something from a cheap video game.
    But then I started to like the movie. Sure, Craig will never make me forget Connery (and those who say he's better...wow), and I read some of the 'surprises' a mile away, but at least there was no Halle Berry in sight.
    The running sequence was disappointing, was done better in District B13. Texas Holdem seemed to cheapen the whole casino section; I expect something a little more exotic, not something I see on TV every week.
    Nice to see 'M' a little more.
    The Sony product placement was totally out of control!
    And I really hope that SPECTRE
    makes an appearance in the next Bond. Nice to see a little open-endness to that particular point.
    3 stars outta 5.
  10. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

    Dec 14, 2000
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    I agree. I had to practically drag my wife to the theater see it with me, but she loved it too!

    The Sony product placement was a bit much, but I guess fans of the film may be forced to buy Blu-ray.
  11. Dave Ringkor

    Dave Ringkor Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 20, 1998
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    My wife dragged ME to the theater to see it. Well she didn't actually drag me, but she suggested we go, and I of course was okay with that. :)

    We both loved the film. My wife, because evidently Craig is "yummy," but I loved everything else about, including the theme song, which is currently stuck in my head. (We just came back from the theater not too long ago.)

    My first thought after the opening foot chase scene with all the three-storey jumping was oh no, here we go again with the physics-defying action. But after that sequence the movie was completely realistic. I almost got the sense that they stuck the outrageous action sequence at the beginning of the movie to serve as a bit of continuity with previous films, and then segue into the "new" James Bond, portrayed as written, without the camp and the invisible cars and cartoonish villains and sharks with lasers on their heads and girls with names like Goodhead and Pussy -- in fact, I appreciated the joke about Vesper's alias being "Broadchest."

    My question now is where do they go from here? This was a movie based on the first (?) James Bond novel, updated for today's technological and political climate, but retaining Bond's youth and inexperience. As far as I know, Ian Flemming's work has been exhausted and there aren't any other novels or short stories on which to base future films. So will the next film's plot be completely new as the more recent Bond films' plots had been, and will Bond go back to being the best agent MI6 has?
  12. Aryn Leroux

    Aryn Leroux Screenwriter

    Aug 19, 2001
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    I thought the Movie was really good. I don't think it qualifies as a Bond Film though. It had none of the charm that most of the bond films have. It was very dreary of a film and that is not a bad thing, like i said i liked it.

    But It coulda easily not have been a bond film at all, that is how distant it removed itself from the franchise. I don't mind them starting fresh, but there are certain things you must keep if you wanna call it Bond and to me that is the classic bond theme. No sign of it till the end of the movie was very dissapointing to me.

    I give it 3 stars... As a Bond Movie: 2 Stars
  13. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

    Nov 19, 2004
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    Mos Eisley Spaceport
    Real Name:
    Brett Meyer

    Best film of the year. Check that ... best film experience of the year.

    I thoroughly enjoyed every frame of it. I'm a Bond fan but more than that, I'm a movie fan. I appreciated the seriousness of the film -- it's grit and violence. But I also appreciated the great story -- excellent characterizations from Bond to Vesper, M and the villain.

    I'm a sucker for gadgets and humor but not at the expense of tone. In parts, CR is funny but not campy. That's a big difference.

    The script crackles. The performances are uniformly excellent. Craig owns it, Eva Green is my favorite Bond girl ever, and the I look forward to seeing Felix Leiter in the future. The action scenes are hyper-real and memorable.

    So many great scenes. My favorite: (TIE) between the shower scene, the poker game and the rope torture.

    All in all, a pleasure to watch. I can't wait to see it again. Moreover, I can't wait to see what comes next.
  14. Grant H

    Grant H Cinematographer

    Jul 24, 2002
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    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    I thought she was nice to look at before (kind of hard to forget The Dreamers), but she's only gotten better looking over the years. WOWWWWWWWWWW!! I totally bought Bond's distraction at the table during the film because I was doing the exact same thing!

    I was the first to detract Craig when the news first hit he'd be Bond, but he delivered in spades! He didn't even strike me as too short, even though there were occasions an obviously taller person strode by him. This guy makes up for his...shortcomings. And how can anyone attack his eyes? That had to have been a huge selling point in casting him. The fact that his eyes are so penetratingly blue they could knock someone over is awesome. Really adds something to the him as far as conveying the power of the character with his looks. I said to the guy at work, Craig looks like Bond would look on the show MI:5. He isn't Hollywood good looks. He's the British idea of good looks.

    Charisma?! That's mostly what he has. So much of it, that the few shots of him where he looks genuinely handsome are enough to sell him as Bond. He has so much presence and power about him that I buy women wanting him. Rather than fast-fading, aging pretty-boy looks with no power from the neck down. He also succeeds in making an easily unlikeable character likeable, a feat not so easy to pull off (one I don't think Brosnan accomplished in the slightest, but he didn't accomplish much else for me either). Maybe he's got just the right amount of being pleased with himself...I don't know, but I just liked him. And more and more with each little victory he enjoyed.

    In a way, I think the script cut him a bit of a break (but given fans' reaction to his casting it more than evens out I think) in that he didn't have the pressure to be the ideal Bond people have in their minds since he can actually play an evolving character. They tried to do some character stuff with Brosnan, but it just never really worked--pretty much recanted and amitted "this character is past evolving," which was the truth. Craig gets to really become that guy in the tuxedo who can handle anything. I said to a guy at work it was kind of like having a British Bruce Willis venture down the path to Bondom. Except Craig does have that unshakeable aspect to him already, which is great. To me, Bond HAS always been the guy who never breaks a sweat or gets his hair messed up (part of why the ultra-casual, less oozing machismo cool Moore will always have a place in my heart), except now they've actually found the proper blend with reality and found something better. Craig can get beaten to a pulp, but, psychologically, he IS that guy. It's so easy to see him growing to be the character that won't be phased by anything. A guy who's seen and done it all. Nothing he can't handle. Who can take it all in stride. Gone is the tense/intense, asthmatic, limp-wristed Brosnan. This guy's just doing his job. Another day at the office. Awesome! And he can put his own stamp on the one-liners really well! (How awesome was that vodka martini bit though?!)

    I think this film is on track to being the anithesis of Superman Returns for me. I enjoyed my viewing, but was left thinking about to what degree I enjoyed it. I'm now REALLY anxious to see it again. The action scenes almost ruined it for me thanks to the presentation at my theater. I dreaded each one because it was so loud...and yet the volume seemed necessary for the dialoge. If the presentation had been up to par, my enjoyment of the film would have been better. Also, 3 hours+ (between getting there early to finda good seat, which was necessary, and sitting through endless previews) in a theater seat with cramped legroom detracted from the experience as well. It will be great to watch this at home.
  15. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter

    Aug 25, 1999
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    If this was the first James Bond film ever, I'd give it high marks. But the departure from the "traditional" Bond film was too much for me. Call me a traditionalist or even a sentimentalist. This just didn't feel like James Bond to me. 3.5 stars out of 5.

    BTW, I loved the Omega mention and many shots of his watch. But that's only because that particular Omega model is the one I wear! [​IMG]

  16. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Nov 5, 1998
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    -copy from 2006 film thread-

    Casino Royale
    8.5 of 10

    It honestly could have been in the running for best Bond film ever, but then the script bogged down about 3/4 through as it tried to leverage in some emotions to carry into the final act. The result was a terrible lull that really plays awkward in the pacing.

    It also spent too much screen time on some early action scenes. Take a few minutes out of those and move them closer to the end to keep the audience interested and the pace up.

    The strengths are that the tone is probably the best it's ever been in a Bond film. Along the lines of Unforgiven it redefines killing in the Bond genre which gives it a greater intensity in the film. In turn this enhances Bond as a character, he comes off as a truly special individual, someone who is alone in his ability to go to a harsher level of action much like Clint was in Unforgiven.

    I didn't like the way they forced poker into the film and it was made worse by the running commentary within the script. It also played out too simplistic because of this. But the idea of Bond being needed for his ability to think within that society as a contrast against his killing ability comes off better in CR than perhaps any film.

    Ultimately Craig is the nastiest, hardest Bond yet. He's not as suave as Connery, but when he kills you believe it. He has an edge to him that suggests an underlying level of cruelty that enables him to be the complete superspy rather than just the ultimate playboy.

    The gadget aspect was also nicely understated, something the series badly needed. Gadgets are still there, but this is less far-fetched than even the Mission Impossible series. It's fun to have bits and pieces, but it was getting to the point that Bond's talent was being surplanted by the array of gadgets available to him.

    Tighten up that script and this moves beyond just being a good Bond film and into best of the year period status. I wish it had made it to that level myself, we need more action films competitive on the great filmmaking level.

    I had the exact opposite reaction on this count. Loved the opening credits and the song.
  17. Josh.C

    Josh.C Second Unit

    Dec 20, 2005
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    Make that a double HUH???? Grant,

    I think Eva Green is probably the most naturally beautiful woman to ever be in a Bond Film. She is stunning in every way. I can't wait to see her in future films.

    What a knockout!

    If I weren't a married man.........(and if I was a billionare or looked like Brad Pitt [​IMG])
  18. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Mar 15, 1999
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    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    Saw this last night and while I consider myself a casual Bond fan I did enjoy this, but I also had some problems with it.

    First off was that dude he was chasing and all the jumping around he did, I actually thought for a moment that Bond had somehow found himself inside the Matrix, I thought to myself that this guy is pretty agile for being a third world thug or whatever he was supposed to be.

    I'm also still getting used to Craig as 007, I agree that he came off a bit odd in the first half of the film and he didn't seem as suave as Brosnan was, plus I thought that he looked too much like Steve McQueen and while that isn't a bad thing because I love McQueen, it took me out of the character sometimes.

    The poker game went on way too long IMO, it was fun to watch but it was just too long, Bond being slipped the near-fatal mickey was a nice way to break it up I thought.

    I didn't know this was supposed to be a quasi prequel, but it does make sense since I began to question why Bond was allowing himself to fall in love so easily when he's always been a love-em and leave-em kind of guy in the past, but his experience with Eva Green's character would probably be enough to send him down that road.

    Probably my biggest gripe, though...no Q! I love Q and all the gadgets he gives Bond, they could have at least introduced him if this was supposed to be the beginning of things.

    I also don't know about that whole concept of sinking a building into the nile so easily by simply shooting what looked like giant balloons, if buildings there are that easy to bring down then i'm reluctant to go there, or at least walk into one. [​IMG]

    Anyhoo, the action sizzled, the women were hot, and in contrast to those who love Eva, and yes she was gorgeous, I have always been partial to Ivana Milicevic who was under used here I thought. Okay you caught me, I just wanted to see more of her because I think she's insanely gorgeous. [​IMG]

    Great first entry for Craig and I look foreward to Bond's return as always promised.

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