Posted by Danger Boy on November 19, 2006
Casino Royale is the best James Bond picture since “Goldfinger.” There have been many Bond films that were highly entertaining and compelling entries into the franchise. Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me, Licensed to Kill, and Goldeneye were a few of my favorites. But for sheer thrills and character-driven drama, Casino Royale is it.
For the longest time I have damned the producers of the Bond pictures, Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, for always sticking to the formula, for not taking risks, for always dismissing the declining box-office on the merits or demerits of the man playing Bond. But the onus always rested on the producers, not the actors. For the record, I really liked Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan in the role. They each brought something to the character that I responded to. Dalton brought a sobriety to the role, something akin to a Shakespearean-trained actor. Brosnan brought movie-star charisma and charm to the role. But neither one of them were really given the chance to expand on the character, aside from a few tantalizing false starts. Dalton could’ve explored Bond’s sadism a bit more in “License to Kill,” while Brosnan had a chance to delve into Bond’s dark side after spending fourteen months in a North Korean prison in “Die Another Day.”
Finally, the producers recognized the writing on the walls (or perhaps they saw why “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy” worked so well) and have produced a Bond picture that stays true to the character, but makes him multi-dimensional. It is exciting, bloody, surprising, and funny. Exceptional stunt-work has made a triumphant return, while CGI has been limited (thankfully).
Finally, I saw a Bond picture that made me give a damn about James.
See the reviews for the film’s merits. Or better yet, see the film yourself. It is outstanding.
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