Heavily Hyped But Still A Good Action Movie

Things weren’t looking too promising when new Bond Daniel Craig was unveiled to the general public . Due to health and safety regulations Craig was required by law to wear a life jacket as the speedboat he was in shot along the Thames and stopped in front of a crowd of not very enthusiastic paparazzi . Craig didn’t do his cause much good by his awkward mannerisms that seemed to shout ” I’m actually a serious thespian and all this publicity is slightly annoying to a self respecting luvvie like myself ” On top of that the press were very vocal in stating that this Bond had blonde hair and would never be taken seriously as Ian Fleming’s superhero . It’s impossible to believe this now but very few people thought Daniel Craig would be any type of success in the role

To their credit the producers have gone back and rewritten history . CASINO ROYALE was the first Bond novel and so this cinematic version of CASINO ROYALE is effectively the first Bond movie with previous entries DR NO to DIE ANOTHER DAY being conveniently forgotten about . It was a massive gamble to take but the producers just about manage to pull it off . What it does is make Bond a far more rounded character rather than the cartoonish parody he was in the lesser Moore films or DIE ANOTHER DAY . It also leaves more scope for future films in the franchise since we an introductory scene for CIA agent Felix Leiter who ” disagreed with something that ate him ” in LICENCE TO KILL . Unfortunately he’s not given much to do here or in the later QUANTUM OF SOLACE . It seems strange with hindsight that Leiter was brought back in this case

Despite the hype surrounding CR which many people claim is the greatest Bond movie ever there are a few flaws to it . One is that it follows the novel a bit too closely in the second half . In the novel Le Chiffre doesn’t really do anything evil except play cards and wallop Bond in the genitals and this is recreated on screen . However this is rather small fry for a movie bad guy and you do find yourself wishing his cruelty could have fleshed out more . There’s also an obligatory daft sequence where a defibrillator comes in to play which leads you to ask if Bond’s a clairvoyant . CR also feels overlong by about half an hour

That said the first half is superb and the African scenes where Bond pursues his quarry back to the embassy are amongst the most exciting action sequences you will see in any movie . Likewise the attempted bombing at Miami airport that shows Bond can be a callous assassin when he has to be . Craig is wonderful in the role and he’s helped in no small part by a lack of comedy situations and characters as seen in previous entries . Some people might miss Q and his gadgets but I didn’t . I much preferred this serious character driven Bond

CASINO ROYALE breathes new life in to a cinema franchise that is over 40 years old . Many critics describe it as the best Bond ever but I have to disagree because what stops it being so is that suffers from a rather weak second half where it sticks too rigedly to the book but for the first hour and twenty minutes I was compelled by this reinvention of James Bond 007