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Nov. 22, 2006

'Royale' fun

by Pia Nargundkar, Online Editor-in-Chief
A blond Bond? Longtime fans of 007 were shocked with the choice of Daniel Craig to succeed the charming Pierce Brosnan in the long running James Bond movie series. Yet, Craig, with his piercing blue eyes, makes an outstanding, though colder, James Bond in the new "Casino Royale."

Originally created by writer Ian Fleming in 1952, James Bond is a top agent in the British Secret Service (MI6). A charismatic ladies' man as well, Bond, whose codename is 007, has saved the world (and gotten the girl) in 21 movies over 40 years. Craig is the sixth man to play the role.
"Casino Royale" takes a step back, adapting Fleming's first 007 novel to modern times.

Bond's first 007 mission has him playing in a high-stakes poker game with internationally-known professional gamblers. The organizer of the game is the main villain, Le Chiffre (whose name translates to "The Figure" in French), a banker for various terrorist organizations around the globe. Le Chiffre, having lost his clients' money, needs a way to gain it back fast before the clients find out and kill him. MI6 sends Bond, the Secret Service's best card player, to play in the game, knowing that if Le Chiffre loses, it will be the end of his organization. The game, played at Le Casino Royale in Montenegro, is the centerpiece of the film.

As usual, the movie is packed with action without long scenes full of guns shooting, glass shattering and people dying, it just wouldn't be a Bond movie. And of course there are the cute scenes between 007 and the latest Bond girl, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). Lynd, an accountant for Her Majesty's Treasury, is assigned to make sure that Bond appropriately uses the funds provided by MI6 for the game. For a change, Bond's love interest is an intelligent, quick-witted woman and rather indifferent to his persisting charm.

The witty banter between Bond and Lynd provides breaks between the action, and is furthered by the convincing acting on part of Craig and Green. The Bond that Craig portrays is Bond in the beginning before he gets his smooth, confident ways. Craig's Bond starts out overly cocky and cold-hearted but gradually begins to acquire the typical Bond characteristics. The only returning character is M (Judi Dench), Bond's boss at MI6. Dench delivers a fabulous performance, as always, perfectly portraying the stern yet caring head of the British Secret Service in her fifth Bond film.

The movie, filmed mostly in the Czech Republic, the Bahamas and Venice, was beautifully shot, with spectacular overhead views and intense action scenes. Additionally, unlike other recent Bond movies, "Royale" takes the 007 series back to what it centered on in the '60s character and plot. While the last Bond movie, "Die Another Day" was criticized for its excessive use of high-tech gadgets, "Casino Royale" focuses on the shaping of the novice Bond and provides a satisfying story line.

The future of the 007 series looks bright as the new Bond proves his critics wrong with a solid, entertaining performance and wit as dry as his martini shaken, not stirred.

"Casino Royale" is rated PG-13 for violent action, a scene of torture, sexual content and nudity. It is playing in area theaters.



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  • Bond fan on November 22, 2006 at 12:15 PM
    Actually, asked if he wanted his martini shaken or stirred, Bond responded, "Do i look like a give a damn?"
  • Josh Griner on November 22, 2006 at 1:55 PM
    THis movie was my favorite movie of 2006. I admit, I did hold doubts about Craig (Before the trailer came out), but boy did he prove me wrong. Now I cant see anyone else as James Bond.
  • vJ on November 22, 2006 at 5:02 PM
    Wow, nice review Pia, I'm glad that Bond is not being criticized anymore. And nice job beating Phil and whatever other guys in the NFL predictions, From what I've been reading, it seems like you're the only one who knows what she's talking about, so good job!
  • Bond Fan on November 23, 2006 at 12:19 AM
    i thought it didnt match up to the standards. It didnt have any of the qwerky and cheesey James Bond stuff: no gadgets, no special cars, no tight guns and no MUSIC. The music is the best part. Although I do understand some of it, because he was becoming James Bond. It was just trying to do to much and rewrite the classic James Bond.
  • o yea on November 24, 2006 at 7:08 PM
    this movie was extremely sexy
  • 007 on November 26, 2006 at 11:46 AM
    this movie was so tight! sooo much better than die another day, that one was soo bad. i really enjoyed it even though it got really confusing and im still not sure what happened! (his eyes are amaazing)
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