Casino Royale: A New Type of Bond

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2006.  A huge fuss was being made by fans and the media, prior to Casino Royale’s release.  One of the most famous film characters in the world was going to be played by……a blonde actor.  Yes, really.  The fuss over hair colour.

Daniel Craig, a perfectly respectable actor, who had shown his fine acting ability in Our Friends in the North, Layer Cake and Enduring Love, would usher in a new era for James Bond in the new post-Jason Bourne world.

Casino

My thoughts were only to feel sorry for Pierce Brosnan who had breathed new life into the Bond franchise in 1995 with Goldeneye.  To many, it certainly appeared that he had been unceremoniously dropped, although to be fair, Die Another Day was pretty dire.  This should not have been on Brosnan’s shoulders though.

James Bond has always adapted to suit the time the films are made in.  Sean Connery with his 60’s, misogynistic James Bond.  George Lazenby with his underrated Bond, Roger Moore with his 80’s tongue-(firmly)-in-cheek Bond, Timothy Dalton with probably the closest Bond to the novels until Craig and Pierce with his twinkly-eyed, charming Bond.  

Having two brothers, I grew up watching Bond films, but for me, Casino Royale is by far the best Bond of the lot.  Probably followed by Skyfall, The Living Daylights and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Casino Royale is more in the same vein as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  In fact, to read the plot, before viewing the film, it does not sound particularly exciting, but this could not be more wrong.

So many women are now watching Bond films because of Casino Royale.

The opening sequence, shot in the shadows, followed by the fantastic retro credits to the brilliant track by Chris Cornell (You Know my Name) made such a welcome change to the previously cheesy naked swaying women of the old films.

James Bond – Daniel Craig

The film’s pace is just right.  Exciting and fast where it needs to be and tender and emotive in other moments.

Bond and Vesper

Eva Green, as Vesper Lynd, is a brilliant foil to Craig’s Bond.  In my opinion, sharp as a tack, she is the most beautiful and stylish Bond girl of them all.  Less is more.

Vesper, to Bond: “…by the cut of your suit, you went to Oxford, or wherever.  Naturally you think human beings dress like that, but you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come from money, and your school friends never let you forget it, which means that you were at that school by the grace of someone else’s charity: hence that chip on your shoulder…”

Vesper Lynd (Eva Green)

As Casino Royale wipes the Bond slate clean, this is Bond’s first ’00’ mission.  Bond has to take part in a high stakes poker game in Montenegro whilst investigating one of the players, Le Chiffre, who is part of a shadowy investigation, Quantum.

James Bond with Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright)

The locations do not disappoint with an exciting chase in Madagascar, a dalliance in the Bahamas, gambling in Montenegro, a flirtation with Venice and, my favourite, Lake Como.

Daniel Craig has given us a Bond for our time.  Tough and cold when the job calls for it, but not infallible, or immune to emotion.  Quantum of Solace was a disappointment after Casino Royale, but you can forgive the team behind the Bond films because they then gave us the amazing Skyfall.  More on that another time.

Trivia:

Quentin Tarantino wanted to make Casino Royale with Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman as Vesper Lynd

Three Aston Martin DBS cars were destroyed in the scene where the car rolls

The “Vesper” drink consists of three parts gin (Gordon’s), one part vodka and half part of Kina Lillet (not available – nowadays the substitute is Lillet Blanc).  These are shaken over ice, until cold and served in a cocktail glass with a lemon peel garnish.

The Madagascar parkour chase took six weeks to film

Images: http://www.jamesbond.wiki.com and IMDb

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8 thoughts on “Casino Royale: A New Type of Bond

    • Yes, the whole fuss over hair colour was pretty daft! My second favourite Bond is Roger Moore, but that’s partly because he is such a lovely man in real life and he was Bond when I was a child.

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  1. I am actually one of those people who thinks that Craig should have died his hair black to play Bond. One would not play any historical character with the wrong hair color, why Bond? But I have read all the Ian Fleming novels and watched all the films so, yes, I am one of those people:) I agree with you that Timothy Dalton physically is the closest to the original grittty Fleming Bond (minus the scar) and Casino Royale is the closest to Bond’s actual character. Also a big fan of OHMSS, but I don’t have a favorite Bond as each seems to belong to his own era.

    Two other trivia things:

    -There is a 1967 Casino Royale film with Peter Sellers, David Niven & a bunch of famous actors ….pretty awful but meant to be a spoof comedy.
    -From Russia with Love was supposedly one of President Kennedy’s favorite novels.

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    • If it was Elizabeth I, where it is intrinsic to her that she had the right look, I would agree with you…..but as it’s Bond, I do feel it’s more about presence, charisma and coolness. Mind you, had I read the books, I would probably feel the same as you. That said, it’s nice to have somebody agree regarding Timothy Dalton. So many people say ‘really?!’ when I say he was underrated.

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  2. Could not agree more! I grew up watching the Bond films, and while I loved the cheesy absurdity of the earlier movies, Casino Royale marked an important turn (for the better, in my opinion) in the franchise. And I remember when people were having hissies about his hair color, and all I could think was “He’s a great actor, I think he’s perfect for the role.” And now he’s one of my favorite Bonds and the franchise got a lot less misogynistic to boot, which is nice because I feel less guilty about being a fan.

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    • You are right. They are definitely less misogynistic and the women don’t simper! The next Bond, following Skyfall, is set to shoot next year with Sam Mendes at the helm again. I hope it’s as good.

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