Casino Royale - Born Again Bond

Duration: 144min
Category: action
Available: On DVD
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I am a convert to Bond.

Iíve never really been taken in with the whole Bond phenomenon in the past. With the exception of a few films, From Russia With Love specifically, I find most Bond movies muddled and generic. They were always missing something. I think that something has been found in the 21st Bond film Casino Royale.

Going back to the storyís roots, exploring what makes Bond Bond and de-emphasising the more fantastic elements, Casino Royale moves 007 into another new direction. Itís a direction I enjoyed quite a bit.

Casino Royale is a tight and often intense action thriller whose story is more consistent and compelling than the spyís previous outings. It manages to be classic and contemporary at the same time. For example, its poker theme is at once archetypal spy plot and of-the-moment zeitgeist.

Much has been made of Daniel Craigís casting as the main character just as much had been made about Pierce Brosnan when he won the role. Iím sure each new Bond has had to face this. Craigís Bond is rough and real, a much more suitable combo than the polished Bonds of the past. Heís also the sexiest ugly man Iíve ever seen. He gives hope to ugly guys everywhere that yes, they too can get the girl.

Most importantly, there is an emotional resonance to Casino Royale that just isn't there with most others. There are scenes in this film that you wouldn't find in the rest. There is a scene with Bond cleaning himself up after a fight that makes this film but would have seemed out of place in, say Octopussy. Also, there is a drowning scene that is bitterly intense and disturbing. It's essential for the whole piece to fit together and it's emotionally destroying.

I believe long time fans will be impressed with this rejuvenation of the franchise. Itís also a great place to start for newbies. And for those who are blah about Bond, like I was for a long time, Casino Royale is a fresh reminder of why this is one of the most successful movie series of all time. I just might have to give some of the previous films another chance.

Review By: Collin Smith

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