May 04, 2012
It's also nice to see a plot that isn't Cold War-driven. After seeing enough of them from Connery to Brosnan, you start to wonder if these movies aren't anything more than sugar-coated propaganda pieces trying to make Western culture appear virile and tough.
Instead, Casino Royale tackles the next soon-to-be-exhausted (if it hasn't been already) criminal activity du jour, terrorism. There are plenty of action sequences to sate the palate of any James Bond junkie. What's more fun are the poker scenes at the casino where Bond matches wits with a seedy terrorist investor, and the interplay between Bond and a fellow secret agent (Eva Green), although Green herself isn't all that memorable, and is at times far too fragile. You start to yearn for a tougher heroine. (There have been a few in the past, if memory serves).
Casino Royale has its weak points, too, however. It rumbles along for nearly two hours and thirty minutes, and while there are memorable scenes, by the end you feel you've been pommeled just as much as the hero, who incurs a considerable amount of physical damage. But Craig's performance and the movie as a whole are strong, seeing this series off to a successful and hopeful reboot when it appeared nothing fresh could be offered.
It was written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis, and based on the novel by Ian Fleming. Directed by Martin With Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, and Simon Abkarian.