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Film Review: Casino Royale (2006)

Updated on June 12, 2017
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 2006, Martin Campbell released Casino Royale, based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, as the 21st entry into the James Bond series. Starring Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Ludger Pistor, Tobias Menzies, Tsai Chin, and Jesper Christensen, the film grossed $599 million at the box office.

Synopsis

After Bond earns his 00 status, he is sent to track down a terrorist financier known as Le Chiffre. Once he does, Bond must win a high-stakes game of poker in order to bankrupt and turn him against his clients.

Review

Casino Royale is quite successful as a continuity reboot, effectively showing how James Bond turned into the spy audiences have come to know and love. The film starts off very well in the cold open, showing Bond’s first kills, establishing how he earned 00 status. This portrays him as someone who’s going to spend his career as a combat pragmatist, using the environment to his advantage, seen with the sinks, as well as how he's going to be one step ahead of his targets, shown in how he took out the pistol’s clip. He also demonstrates expert analysis in finding out Le Chiffre’s tell during the poker game.

However, audiences already knew Bond is adept at taking the advantage during his kills and analyses. What they weren't aware of though, is how Bond came to be the womanizer with trust issues that had been portrayed in the 20 previous films. This film explains it all with Vesper Lynd, who accompanies Bond to the tournament and poses as his wife. But as the film continues, the two end up falling in love and Bond is goes so far as to resign from MI6 to be with her, establishing her as the love of his life in this continuity. Eventually, he finds she betrayed him as a result of blackmail and stopped stopped Bond from rescuing her. From this, Bond evidently never gets over her or her betrayal, causing him to have all the ensuing shallow relationships in his future. Further, it’s where he gets his trust issues and the film makes it clear Bond has learned his lesson concerning trusting people.

There’s also some very interesting technical aspects in regards to Bond turning into the established character, namely the film’s music. Throughout the film, the familiar James Bond theme audiences have heard since 1962 isn’t played until the final scene, where he also says his signature line for the first time. Waiting until this moment emphasizes Bond's growth into being able to carry out the demands required by his job and is very satisfying to hear after nearly three hours.

Moreover, in all of the character development, there are a lot of nods to past films as well as Fleming’s books. Vesper’s introduction to Bond, by saying she’s the money to which he responds every penny of it references Moneypenny. The alias Bond gives Vesper is a shout out to the names of early Bond Girls such as Pussy Galore, leaving her very much offended. At one point, M reminisces and longs for the Cold War, calling back to when this incarnation of M was introduced as a character in Goldeneye, where she called Brosnan's Bond a relic of the Cold War. The year of Fleming’s publication for Casino Royale is even mentioned when Dimitrios’ bag is tagged with 53. One clever nod referencing both the Bond mythos while making this articular Bond distinct from all the others comes upon his ordering a martini and states he doesn't care whether it's shaken or stirred.

4 stars for Casino Royale (2006)

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

  • BAFTA Awards
  • Best Sound

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Production Design Award - Contemporary Film

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Top Box Office Films

BMI Film & TV AWards

  • BMI Film Music Award

British Society of Cinematographers

  • Best Cinematography Award

Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards

  • 10th Place - Best Picture

Empire Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Actor (Daniel Craig)
  • Best Female Newcomer (Eva Green)

Evening Standard British Film Awards

  • Best Actor (Daniel Craig)

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Biggest Surprise of the Year
  • Breakthrough Performance of the Year (Daniel Craig)
  • Coolest Character of the Year (James Bond)
  • Best Trailer of the Year
  • Best Action Sequence of the Year (Construction area chase)
  • Second Place - Best T&A of the Year (Eva Green)

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Best Original Song (Song: "You Know My Name")

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Awards

  • Silver Ribbon - Best European Director

Jupiter Awards

  • Best International Film

National Movie Awards

  • Best Action/Adventure

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards

  • Top Ten Films

Online Film & Television Association

  • Best Titles Sequence

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Stunts

Sant Jordi Awards

  • Best Foreign Actor (Daniel Craig)

Satellite Awards

  • Best Original Song (For the song "You Know My Name")

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Special Effects in a Motion Picture

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Best Original Song Written for the Film (For the song "You Know My Name")

World Stunt Taurus Awards

  • Best High Work (In the opening sequence, James Bond chases a bad guy through a construction site. They jump between beams and cranes and climb up a building's beams)
  • Best Stunt Coordination and/or 2nd Unit Direction

Nominated for

BAFTA Awards

  • Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film
  • Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
  • Best Screenplay - Adapted
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Editing
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection)
  • Best Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Writing
  • Best Music

American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards

  • Best Edited Feature Film - Dramatic

Costume Designers Guild Awards

  • Excellence in Contemporary Film

Edgar Allan Poe Awards

  • Best Motion Picture Screen Play

Empire Awards

  • Scene of the Year (The parkour chase)

Gold Derby Awards

  • Film Editing
  • Original Song ("You Know My Name")
  • Sound Editing/Mixing
  • Visual Effects

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Favorite Movie of the Year

Grammy Awards

  • Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (For the song "You Know My Name")

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Movie Blu-Ray (For the "Bond 50 Box Set)

International Film Music Critics Award

  • Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound Mixing
  • Best Sound Editing

Irish Film and Television Awards

  • Audience Award - Best International Actor (Daniel Craig)
  • Audience Award - Best International Actress (Eva Green)
  • Best International Film

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing for Sound Effects and Foley in a Foreign Film

MTV Movie Awards

  • Best International Movie

National Movie Awards

  • Best Performance by a Male (Daniel Craig)
  • Best Performance by a Female (Judi Dench)
  • Best Performance by a Female (Eva Green)

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Sound Effects Editing
  • Best Visual Effects

Russian National Movie Awards

  • Best Blockbuster Movie

World Stunt Taurus Awards

  • Best Fight (James Bond fights a bad guy while moving down a stairwell. There are a series of hits, flips, throws and a broken window involved.)


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