johnlink ranks CASINO ROYALE (2006)

Got in a copy of SPECTRE and put it on. Spent the first ten minutes of the thing talking to my wife about what had happened in the previous three films. We were foggy enough that we stopped it and decided to give them all a run one more time. Not sure that was necessary, but I don’t mind an excuse to watch CASINO ROYALE again.


I watched CASINO ROYALE (2006) on 4.2.16. It was my third viewing of the film. I did do a writeup on this back in 2012, so this is a reranking.

The clever bits of CASINO ROYALE – the self-referential bits – are quaint now. The idea of Bond not caring about whether is martini is shaken or stirred isn’t really funny anymore. The walking out on a woman rather than sleeping with her doesn’t have the same impact. Bond only wearing his nicest clothes reluctantly fails to land like it might have in 2006.

And all of those things are for the better. After this new generation of Bond – the Daniel Craig years – has had some time to percolate, we just don’t notice how different it all is. Craig’s Bond is not heartless or careless at the start of CASINO ROYALE, but he is certainly callous. Through the course of the movie, though, we do learn why he might become the man he does. His love for Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) becomes compromised. We see a switch go off after it does. CASINO ROYALE was not just about rebooting Bond, but about defining Bond.

This is not always an action movie. It is easy to forget just how much of this film takes place around a poker table. A couple of action scenes that run through this poker game almost feel forced – as if the movie knows it is working too carefully. But the movie earns these deep exhales, because the action in the opening act is so strong. The Parkour scene, in particular, is one of the great action sequences in Bond film history, and it takes place in the first fifteen minutes of the film.

The opening scene, too, is really nice. Really smart. It opens in black-and-white and we are introduced to the icon as a man not quite yet qualified to be a ‘double 0’. We get to watch the moment he makes the grade, and the film goes from black-and-white to color in that moment. It’s a nice bit.

The villain here, Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, isn’t super strong. His blood tears feel more like a cheap throwback to Bond films of past than it does a legitimate character quirk. He does get a great and memorable scene of torture, only to find out he is a very small fish in a pond much larger than we thought. Knowing where the series goes now, it is nice to see how much care went into growing Spectre as an organization. This new concept  – of giving an actor a run at James Bond for a several movie character arc before rebooting it entirely   – is a smart concept.

Watching CASINO ROYALE for the third time, it is nice to report that it has gotten better with age. Other than the flip phones, it does not feel old at all. It feels like a Bond movie that will still be great in another generation. And that is something that may not be true of all too many Bond films since the early days of Connery.



The parkour scene is worth a point all on its own. A brilliant scene of free running and fighting which ends in a truly surprising way.


FINAL SCORE: 8.25 out of 10




~ by johnlink00 on April 6, 2016.

One Response to “johnlink ranks CASINO ROYALE (2006)”

  1. Nice review. It’s pretty crazy, but still worth the watch.

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