The movie was, of course, several months ago, but I thought it would be a fitting tribute to have my first post of 2007 to be for the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale.
*** Spoiler Warning ***
Now, I haven’t seen every Bond film made, so I can’t legitimately claim that this is the best Bond movie ever. I can, however, say that is definitely in the running. The stunts and special effects, while excellent, don’t overshadow the plot, which is also well done.
In fact, one could say that there are two plots in the film. The first is the actual story, concerning Bond’s assignment to bankrupt a terrorist banker. It actually struck me as rather implausible, considering the amount of money that was essentially being gambled on Bond’s poker ability. Suspend your disbelief at that, though, and the plot flows reasonably well.
The other plot, a kind of story-within-the-story, shows Bond maturing from being a double-oh-rookie (The first scenes of the movie include his 007 badge being stamped) to the suave spy we all love from the earlier films. This is shown in sequences as brief as Bond’s flippant conversation with a bartender (“Vodka Martini.” “ Shaken or stirred?” “Do I look like I give a damn?”) to his post-victory willingness to retire from his new position and settle down. He doesn’t of course, and by the end of the film he’s hunting down the man responsible for driving his love to suicide, and uttering those legendary words – “Bond. James Bond.” – that made him famous.
A word on the stunts: The opening stunt sequence, with Bond chasing Sebastian Foucan’s character through the construction site? Wow. Just wow. And the best part is, that was all authentic - no special effects.