Monday, October 4, 2021

Casino Royale

The game has changed.

What a stark and memorable way to start an entire new era to Bond. Undoubtedly throughout the course of the series the films have had loose continuity and you can track the career of Bond from the early 60s to after the Cold War, but Barbara Broccoli and the producers of EON took some inspiration from Batman Begins and wanted the series to be rebooted and modernized to staggering effect in my estimation. Casino Royale is an excellent Bond film, the filmmakers knew exactly what they wanted and how to do it. Daniel Craig, despite the howls of heresy and betrayal to have a blonde Bond, is probably the closest iteration of Ian Fleming's books while still having the charm of Moore, the action man status of Brosnan, and the intensity of Dalton, yet nevertheless takes the role as his own and does exceptional work being a much more less experienced, reckless, and cold blooded killer. That's why I really stood up for Dalton cause I knew this was what they wanted and they refined it more for this era. I do truly believe Eva Green is objectively one of the best Bond girls, not only because of her relationship with James and I still to this day stand by the only women he ever loved was Vesper and Tracy, but because they give her such an amazing character with attitude and undeniable charm that compliments Craig so damn well. I'm not even going to spiral down that rabbit hole of praising Eva Green, cause I would be here for the next decade so we will move on. And of course they got my man, my sexy man, Mads Mikkelsen playing the villain. He's perfect, they gave him just enough to make him honestly one of the most striking physiques of the entire series, with the slight Pleasance scar, the blood tears, it's a wonderful performance and will no doubt be incredibly difficult to top in the upcoming films. I cannot even begin to say how happy I am they kept Judi Dench onboard for this revival, they could have so easily recast this role but they brought her back and I can understand why, they needed some familiar face in the production to better gauge the change for audiences. And she is my M, she was the first M I ever saw and is still my favorite though Bernard Lee was grand throughout his tenure, so I'm just so thrilled it wasn't a 4 movie stint for her. I am not even able to discern which is better, the cast or just the total production value. This is the best looking film of the series, and I don't just mean because of the modern age filmmaking, the set design is nothing short of magnificent, the locations could not look better, the action is thrilling with a capital T, I can forgive entirely the lack of gadgets because of how well done these action beats are. You think I would find it inexcusable that we don't have any gadgets, that John Cleese did not get to return as our Quartermaster (which still breaks my heart to this day because he had unconditional love and respect for the part), but I can understand why they wanted to take a very realistic approach and it obviously payed off in aces. It's not even a question in my mind that this is top 10 material, it gets nothing but 4 stars, 8.5/10. This could be someone's jumping on point for the series before they get to something spectacular like The Spy Who Loved Me or more espionage antics like From Russia With Love, so I do believe it deserves the praise and recognition. Will the trend continue? Only one way to find out as we look at Quantum Of Solace tomorrow.

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