CASINO ROYALE introduces James Bond before he holds his license
to kill, But Bond is no less dangerous, and with two professional
assassinations in quick succession, he is elevated to "00"
status. "M" (Judi Dench), head of the British Secret
Service, sends the newly-promoted 007 on his first mission
that takes him to Madagascar, the Bahamas and eventually leads
him to Montenegro to face one-eyed Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen),
a ruthless financier under threat from his terrorist clientele,
who is attempting to restore his funds in a high-stakes poker
game at the Casino Royale. "M" places Bond under
the watchful eye of beautiful Treasury official Vesper Lynd.
At first skeptical of what value Vesper can provide, Bond's
interest in her deepens as they brave danger together and
even torture at the hands of Le Chiffre. The marathon poker
game proceeds with dirty tricks and violence the stakes beyond
blood money and reaching a terrifying climax.
Despite being either a miss-or-hit exercise, Hollywood
is still into the trend of rebooting age old franchises that
every past comic characters, television shows and movies are
unearthed and given a face-lift for the movie-goers of today.
granduncle of superspy, James Bond is not spared either. The
last reboot was the Martin Campbell’s directed, Pierce
Brosnan’s starrer, "Goldeneye" in 1995. To
the surprise of many, Uncle Brosnan never got to reprise the
famous 007 for the fifth time despite "Die Another Day"
hitting an all-time high in the box-office.
was a near public outcry when a then relatively unknown British
actor Daniel Craig was cast as the new James Bond. Craig possesses
none of the suaveness of Sean Connery, Brosnan or even Roger
Moore and he looks a tad shorter than his predecessors. That’s
when we knew the producers behind the lucrative Bond franchise
are indeed committed on a reboot.
Royale" for the uninitiated is creator Ian Fleming’s
first novella. If you wish to know why it took so long for
the movie version to appear on the big screen, I’m afraid
it will take as long as a TVB drama serial to pan every detail
out. "Royale" is about Bond’s first mission
as a “00” and he is dispatched by 'M' to participate
in a poker game at Montenegro in order to stop a terrorist
named Le Chiffre.
original Ian Fleming’s book is not exactly a page turner,
it took it’s time to develop the characters and plot.
Fortunately Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis (Crash)
did a marvelous job balancing the action and incorporating
the juice of Fleming’s story into the movie.
a runtime of 144 minutes, expect certain scenes to be rather
slowly-paced especially the poker games sequences. In addition,
James Bond has to go through the obligatory love scenes with
Bond girl, Vesper Lynd (the so babelicious Eva Green). But
Daniel Craig manages to convincingly pull off 007 in the end.
The new Bond is tough as nails, rugged as hell and will send
girls soothing with that piece of baby blue bathing suit.
Watch out for a nerve-wrecking scene where Bond has a near-death
experience after being poisoned. Damn, it’s not easy
to be a 007.
back Martin Campbell to helm "Casino Royale" is
definitely a good choice. The old school director relies a
lot on physical effects and works with stunt choreographer,
Gary Powell to bring us dazzling action sequences beginning
with a free running chase scene in the opening which will
have you open your mouth in awe. If this is not enough, an
exhilarating car chase on an airport runway in the middle
of the movie will jolt your senses.
a certain reminiscence to the gritty "Bourne" trilogy,
"Casino Royale" marks a successful reboot of the
James Bond franchise. Gone are the days where Bond’s
fighting skills and sleuthing are overshadowed by fancy, unimaginable
gadgets. Like you and me, he uses an ordinary Sony Ericsson
cellphone, a VIAO notebook but prove to be worthy of the British
secret service because the man fights like a gorilla and runs
like a cheetah though vulnerable at the privates.
the credits start to roll, we are practically left shaken
and stirred, we want more.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This 3-disc collector’s edition is obviously
released in conjunction with the latest Bond movie, "Quantum
of Solace" and yes, the answer is yes. You should get
this one to be part of your video library.
one contains the feature movie with two commentaries tracks.
The first, Commentary with Director Martin Campbell
and producer Michael G. Wilson, the two banter and
supply the listeners with anecdotes, snippets from the production
of “Casino Royale”. You get to know where are
the various sequences being shot at and how certain elements
of the story evolve to the one seen on screen etc. Very addictive
second, Crew Commentary track has its inputs
from the "Casino Royale" crews including if I’m
not wrong the costume designer, director of photography, composer
and effects supervisor. It’s a very crowded track with
each member jostling to contribute nuggets of information.
featurettes on Disc two are similar to the ones found in the
previous 2-disc Special Edition release. Becoming
Bond is a 27 minutes feature that has Craig talks
about becoming Bond and also an impressive press junket which
had the British Royal Marines involved.
James Bond: For Real lasts 24 minutes and
you can get to see for yourself how the stunts are executed
especially the free-running sequences which I mentioned in
Hosted by former Bond girl, Maryam d'Abo Bond Girls
Are Forever seems like a tribute to all the Bond
girls in the series. The 49 minutes feature consists of interviews
with Ursula Andress from "Dr. No", Jane Seymour
from "Live and Let Die”, Halle Berry from "Die
Another Day" and many more. Disc Two is rounded off by
the Music Video: "You Know My Name"
by Chris Cornell.
Three contains the much touted newly added features. Five
Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes running
a short 7 minutes start off the DVD, probably they will be
incorporated into a director’s cut or something in the
The Road to Casino Royale (26 mins) traces
the tumultuous history of bringing Casino Royale to the big
screen from the ‘50s to the present.
You want to know more about James Bond’s creator, Ian
Fleming? Ian Fleming’s creation is
a 21 minutes feature that touches on the flamboyant writer’s
life from his intelligence work in World War II to his writing
James Bond in Bahamas (24 mins) is a flashback to
the various past Bond movies such as "Thunderball",
"You Only Live Twice", "Live and Let Die"
to "Casino Royale" who had location shots in the
beautiful oceanic Bahamas island.
Ian Fleming: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming
(24 mins) is yet another facts heavy feature that touches
on Fleming’s real-life buddy, Ivar Bryce who is a big
influence to Fleming’s writings and the history of the
I particularly adore this 23 minutes feature, Death
In Venice. We go behind-the-scenes on how the effects
crew make the sinking palazoo sequence comes to life using
miniatures and a complicated sinking mechanism built on the
legendary 007 soundstage at Pinewood Studio for the closeup
shots of the Eva Green’s character being trapped in
The founder of Free-running, Sebastian Foucan who also appeared
as a villain in the opening scene talks about how free running
came about in this 13 minutes feature, The Art of
Catching A Plane lasts 13 minutes and details
the storyboarding to the final filmed sequence. What’s
surprising is a deleted shot of a car crashing to a plane
given the sequence is already filmed and the tedious logistics
The third disc is rounded up by a filmmakers profiles
and a storyboard of the movie’s opening
scene - freerun chase sequence.
the relatively quiet poker scenes dominate the main plot,
the Dolby Digital 5.1 on the whole is absolutely a knock-out
and the pumping score by David Arnold contributes to the excitement.
The Bahamas never look so perfect onscreen, the transfer comes
across as natural and vibrant. A damn fine-looking DVD and
it sound good as well.
by Linus Tee