Gone are the days of the cheesy one liners, cringe worthy action scenes and the overall campiness of this franchise past… Bond is back rejuvenated and better than ever. Casino Royale reinvents James Bond, rebooting the iconic character to become more grounded and flawed in his actions, making this film join the conversation of being one of the greatest James Bond films to be made.
Casino Royale is set during James Bond’s early years in his MI6 employment as we see him start to earn the “licence to kill” moniker. No longer do we get to see James Bond escape difficult situations with ease, as we get to see James Bond cockiness and flaws creep up throughout these films as he learns and adapts to his mistakes. The controversy surrounding Daniel Craig being cast as James Bond is quickly put to bed as he delivers a stellar performance as the 007 agent. Craig is able to balance the physical toughness that is required to play this role while also showing the charming and suave that the James Bond character is notorious for. The supporting cast also deliver a fantastic performance with Eva Green’s Vesper being the perfect Bond call making him fall in love, something we haven’t seen before. Mads Mikkelsen, Le Chiffre, is the perfect starting antagonist for this new iteration of Bond as he is calculating and always one step ahead of James Bond, however what he does lack is the menacing trait a James Bond villain should have.
15 years on from its release and Casino Royale still holds up visually. Most of the action pieces use practical effects for its explosions, car chases and underwater scenes, making this film feel more authentic. The location choices for this film fits the tone of Casino Royale perfectly with filming in the United Kingdom, Bahamas and Venice where the majority of the film’s third act is set. David Arnold composes a classic orchestral score full of horn based instruments which is synonymous with the James Bond franchise. Arnold also adapts Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” opening track throughout the film with the song’s tune played in an orchestral spin. The main theme for James Bond was not used throughout the film, but in the film’s closing moments we are hit with the classic tune as it slowly swells and explodes into the iconic theme we associate with this character.
Casino Royale was the perfect starting point to introduce James Bond to a new generation of viewers. Having the character more grounded and flawed helps with growth and development for James Bond in future installments. I think it’s safe to say that Casino Royale and Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond has etched itself into cinema history.