Actor: Daniel Craig
US Release Date: 17 November 2006
US gross, $ 167.4 million (Largest gross for a Bond Movie)
Worldwide gross, $ 588.0 million (Most successful Bond movie. Ever.)
Locations: Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Italy and the UK.
Source for above info: " the " CASINO ROYALE - Press Release.
The movie starts without the trademark opening shot of Bond shooting into the camera. The movie starts with a black and white prologue which shows James Bond earning his double-o licence. You see you have to kill twice to attain 00 status. The 0 thus stands for each kill. The first victim dies a bloody death literally at the hands of Bond in a washroom. The second is a standard execution of a rogue operator.
James Bond: M really doesn’t mind you making a little money on the side, Dryden. She would just prefer it wasn’t by selling secrets.
After James Bond shoots the guy in the washroom, the scene becomes the gun barrel opener and the film bursts back in to color. This is followed by Daniel Kleinman's titles which for the first time are without any cavorting girls. Then Soundgarden/Audioslave leader Chris Cornell starts crooning over the titles for "You know my name" which is a totally sucky song.
Four years after Die Another Day , we get another Bond movie. But this time we have another Bond - Daniel Craig last seen in movies such as Lara Croft, L4YER CAKE and Munich. Daniel didn’t look James Bond like in any of these movies and all the fans (including yours truly) were shocked at the kick off of Brosnan and the induction of Craig. It didn’t help matters that Craig was blonde and wore a very un-Bond-like life jacket when he was introduced as Bond. Everybody was keeping their fingers crossed for the movie. At least let him not suck as Lazenby did! The opening of the movie establishes that Craig's Bond is a fisticuff kind of Bond who can kill a person with his bare hands.
Earlier we had a 007 who could swim with sharks, anacondas and moonwalk in outer space. The prologue doesn’t give that feel and you get into a very different Bond movie.
Next we see a sequence which will surely rank among the top 5 Bond action sequences of all time. Bond goes to Madagascar in search of a terrorist who incidentally is an expert in the art of parkour. Parkour is a physical discipline of French origin in which the participant called a traceur passes obstacles in the fastest and most direct manner possible, using skills such as jumping, vaulting and climbing. The terrorist Mollaka (Parkour star Sébastien Foucan) is in Madagascar at a mongoose/cobra fight. He notices the surveillance and then leads Bond on a high speed foot chase through the jungle and through a construction site. He ends up at the Nambutu Embassy, where he was an employee. If it were Brosnan's or Moore's Bond, then he would have whipped out a gadget and caught the terrorist, but Craig's Bond chases after him and beats down the opposition to submission using his bare fists. This chase proves that Craig's Bond has the guts to handle whatever is thrown at him.
As the Mollaka affair was in public view, MI6 gets a dressing down from the British press. M naturally gets angry at Bond (who breaks into her house to get a few details).
M: I knew it was too early to promote you.
James Bond: Well, I understand double-ohs have a very short life expectancy. So your mistake will be short-lived.
Bond takes Mollaka's cell phone which leads him to Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian) in the Bahamas. Here he meets eye candy Solange (Caterina Murino) who is Dimitrios's wife. As Dimitrios doesn’t pay much attention to her, she gets attracted to Bond who tries to pump her for some information.
James Bond: Can I ask you a personal question?
Solange: Now would seem an appropriate time.
Just when James is getting down to business, he understands that Dimitrios is off to Miami, so James leaves Solange (who is the sacrificial chick of this movie) to get after Dimitrios. He orders champagne from room service and goes away to the task at hand. Now the chase which begins at a "Bodyworks" exhibition ends with a high-speed runway fight in which the terrorist wants to blow up the world's biggest new jetliner. Again Bond wins the day using just his wits, fists and mobile phone.
Now the actual plot kicks in. Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) is a financer to the terrorists and can move funds from and to any part of the world. He had bet some "put" options on the company which made the airline which was to be blown by the terrorist. He hoped that the plane will be blown, the company bankrupted and he makes millions after cashing in the "puts". But because of Bond's interference, Le Chiffre is in the red for 115 million dollars which belongs to terrorists. Hence to win more than $100 million he arranges a high-stakes poker showdown at the Casino Royale in Montenegro.
Bond is the best poker player in MI6, so M decides to fund his $10 million buy-in to the tournament and assigns Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) to oversee him and to decide whether Bond should be given a $5 million re-buy, should the occasion arise. M's idea is that Le Chiffre will lose and then will turn over to the good guys for money and will spill all the beans on the terror network.
Vesper Lynd: I'm the money.
James Bond: Every penny of it.
This is followed by a ride in a EuroTrain and some sparkling dialogue between Bond and Vesper.
Vesper Lynd: Am I going to have a problem with you, Bond?
James Bond: No, don’t worry. You're not my type.
Vesper Lynd: Smart?
James Bond: Single.
James and Vesper come to Montenegro where they meet up with Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) who is their local contact. After some verbal jousting with Le Chiffre the game begins.
Here the director Martin Campbell plays a cool card and intersperses the card games with thrilling action and cool dialogue. The staring contest between Bond and Le Chiffre is awesome and to explain the details of the game sequence here would be a spoiler.
One fantastic sequence here is a stairwell fight where Bond beats the crap out of two bad guys. Also later Bond is poisoned and reminiscent of the sequence in Pulp Fiction has to kick start his heart again. Previously a microchip implant transmitter had been injected into Bond's arm. This device is both a tracking device and a medical monitor. When Bond is poisoned, Bond's vital signs are transmitted directly to MI6 which enables MI6 personnel to remotely diagnose the poison used, and immediately advise Bond on how to use the defibrillator to the heart.
James Bond: Sorry, that last hand nearly killed me.
During the card game, James meets up with Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) with whom he would build up a long friendship later in his career. Felix helps him out at a very delicate stage of the game and James agrees to give Le Chiffre over to the CIA should he win the game. Finally in a battle of nerves, Bond triumphs and wins the pot of about 150 million dollars. Le Chiffre is devastated and then retorts by kidnapping Vesper. Bond is trapped in the pursuit and then is tortured to get the password for the money transfer. Constrained nude to a bottomed-out chair, Bond is tortured by Le Chiffre who repeatedly hits Bond's exposed parts with a hard-tipped rope. Bond doesn’t give in to the torture and taunts Le Chiffre with his trademark humor.
James Bond: Now the whole world's gonna know that you died scratching my balls!
Then there is an unexpected twist in the tale and Bond and Vesper are saved from the ordeal. Bond is recuperating at a clinic and falls head over heels over Vesper.
Vesper: If the only thing left of you was your smile and your little finger, you'd still be more of a man than anyone else.
James Bond: That's because you know what I can do with my little finger...
Vesper Lynd: You're not going to let me in there. You've got your armor back on.
James Bond: I have no armor left. You've stripped it from me. Whatever is left of me - whatever is left of me - whatever I am - I'm yours.
Bond emails his resignation to M and decides to leave a life with Vesper away from killing and torture.
But as things will not end up happily for Bond, the tables are turned and we end up with a final showdown in a sinking building in Venice. After the dust has settled, Bond decides to move on to the next task and starts discussing with M about the next steps.
M: If you do need time, James...
James Bond: Why would I need time? The job is done. The bitch is dead.
The movie ends on somewhat a high note as Bond starts tracking who is really behind all the mess and manages to entrap the person. Here we get the trademark introduction for the first time
James Bond: The name's Bond... James Bond.
and the movie ends with the James Bond tune (for the first time in the movie) with us hankering to see what happens next.
The first thing that comes to mind after watching this movie is that Daniel Craig is James Bond. It took Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan three movies to get Bond right. Lazenby and Dalton never got Bond right. Craig manages to get Bond right in his first movie itself. It is impossible to imagine Pierce Brosnan doing the stuff which Craig manages to do in the movie. The direction the series has taken is really commendable and has breathed fresh air into the franchise.
The formula is thrown down the drain and with it goes out Moneypenny, Q, the gadgets and the invisible cars. The only gadget that Bond uses is the standard mobile phone. This is a Bond who works by his wits and fists. This really works. Even the Bond girls are not your standard issue Bikini Bombshells. Solange is eye candy but works towards moving the plot forward. Eva Green (famous for appearing in her birthday suit in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers) does a commendable performance and doesn’t even appear in a swimming suit. She is not the standard issue bimbos but is a girl for whom Bond cares for and have acting chops.
Not since Sean Connery had we seen a Bond who could kill with his bare hands. Acting wise, Daniel might be the best actor among all the Bond actors (Sean included). If he goes strength to strength in the next Bond movies, it might not be long since people forget that Sean was Bond. This makes this movie a great Bond movie in decades. Director Martin Campbell is normally known to be a hack and make low brow popcorn films like the Zorro films, Vertical Limit and other crap. He made Goldeneye, but it was not as great as this. It looks like the script by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis worked its magic here. Craig and the script seems to have motivated Campbell to do something other than the normal. Kudos to Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (EON) for taking the bold step forward.
With the fantastic openings throughout the world for this movie and the critical appreciation of this movie, James Bond returns in Quantum of Solace .
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