Sony's Casino Royale-Daniel Craig's First Bond is a Blast

Everyone has a past. Every legend has a beginning. Discover how James...became Bond.

Casino Royale is a 2006 spy film directed by Martin Campbell, written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis, produced by Eon Productions, MGM Pictures, and Columbia Pictures, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. The film is based on Ian Fleming's 1953 novel, Casino Royale. It stars Daniel Craig and Eva Green. The film was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the twenty-first film in the 007 film series, but the first in the Daniel Craig era. It was preceded by Die Another Day and followed by Quantum of Solace.


“The name's Bond. James Bond.” -James Bond

Plot


After receiving license to kill, James Bond is sent to Madagascar, whereupon he discovers a man named Le Chiffre dealing out weapons to terrorist organizations. MI6 discovers that Le Chiffre is attempting to get money in a high-stakes poker game at the world-renowned Casino Royale. 007 is sent to beat Le Chiffre at the casino, but there is more to the game than meets the eye.


Positive Aspects


The first thing is the suspense. Throughout the whole film, there is a fantastic sense of tension and danger. It is very present in the poker game, especially after Bond gets poisoned. Even after it seems like the main conflict is resolved, something still feels wrong, and the movie does a really good job of establishing that suspenseful tone.


The acting in the movie is great. People were originally skeptic of Daniel Craig as James Bond, but he just disappears into Ian Fleming's classic spy. He takes the role in a darker direction, and it really works. He also shows a caring and emotional side of 007, which we don't see very often. Eva Green is pretty good also. She has great chemistry with Daniel Craig, which makes the end of the film sad. Throughout the movie, it feels like Vesper is hiding something, and Eva Green does a great job of portraying that. Judi Dench is perfect as M, still delivering a strong sense of leadership. Mads Mikkelsen is perfect for Le Chiffre, and he is very creepy and suspicious as the titular villain.


The plot is good. It isn't the strongest of the Daniel Craig Bond films, but it still delivers on most of the aspects. It has a good core storyline, and the final sequence and twist really works well.


The final thing is the direction. The poker scene has almost no music, and it divides its camera time between facial shots of Bond, Le Chiffre, Vesper, Mantis, Felix Leiter, and the table. It does an amazing job of building suspense, and there is some really great face acting from Craig and Mikkelsen. There are other cool shots as well, such as when Bond nearly runs over Vesper with his car.


Negative Aspects


The first thing is Le Chiffre. While Mads Mikkelsen is a great actor for the role, Le Chiffre is not a very strong antagonist. He doesn't really do much besides poison Bond and then whip his balls a bunch of times with a rope. I think, while the movie has a lot of strong points, Le Chiffre is not a good villain and a bad part of a good movie.


I also think that the whole "Mantis works for Le Chiffre" doesn't make sense and isn't explained at all. He appears as a protagonist in the next film and it made the final parts jumbled and confusing.


The second thing is that the first 30 minutes of the film are a bit confusing. The plot isn't exactly directly explained, which is a good thing, but it could be confusing if you are a kid.


That's all that I've got for this film.


Final Score


This is an incredibly strong start to a new era of 007 films. Despite a weak villain, the film has great acting, direction and suspense, which is what you want from a Bond film.


I'll give it a Savory rating. Age range is 10+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Casino Royale"


Fun Factor: 7.5/10

Acting: 7.5/10 Characters: 7.5/10

Story: 6.5/10

Quality: 7/10


WHERE TO WATCH

Netflix: Available with subscription

Amazon Prime Video: Available for rent

Apple TV+: Available for rent


Directed by Martin Campbell


Released on November 17, 2006


Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing themes and behavior, minor sexual elements, thematic elements


2 hours and 24 minutes


Daniel Craig as James Bond

Eva Green as Vesper Lynd

Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre

Judi Dench as M

Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter

Giancarlo Gianni as Rene Mathis

Jesper Christensen as Mr. White