Movie Review: "Casino Royale"
While I've always been a James Bond fan, the last two movies really let me down; while you normally have to suspend disbelief a little bit, they were just over the top. (I admit that my opinion might be slanted because of the absolutely ridiculous submarine finale of "The World Is Not Enough".) I like the films in which Bond is portrayed as the cold-blooded assassin, because let's face it -- that's what he is. Needless to say, I didn't like Roger Moore as Bond.
The makers of Casino Royale were smart -- they "reset" the Bond character back to the beginning of his "00" career, and set it in the present day. While I was disappointed that they seemed to imply that his military background was in the SAS rather than the Navy, everything else worked very well. You get the feeling that Bond is still "learning the ropes" as a Double-O; he makes mistakes, he studies his face in the mirror, he wonders if he's losing his soul -- in other words, the character is more complex than we've seen him in quite a while. (My oldest son thought it made him too "wussified", but I thought it made for a better story.)
The new Bond, Daniel Craig, did a good job -- I'm not saying that he did better than Sean Connery would have done in his prime with the same script, but he was believable as Bond. SubBasket thought he was quite good looking and buff; I had no opinion on that score.
One quick spoiler: If you see it, don't start collecting your stuff to leave when Bond is canoodling with the girl after the mission is "done" -- there's still quite a bit of movie left. Overall, I think it was my favorite Bond movie ever -- even better than From Russia With Love -- and probably the best movie I've seen all year. I give it 4 1/2 thigh-clenching torture scenes out of five.