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Casino Royale (Martin Campbell)

"The Only Bond Film In Which I Enjoy The Opening Credits"

James Bond has just earned his "00" status and after a mission here and there, finds himself sitting at a high stakes poker table against the villain Le Chiffre. Bond joins the dangerous and sexy Vesper Lynd, who is funding his end of the game and he must come out on top.

After seeing a little film called Layer Cake, I thought to myself, "Wow, this guy would make a great Bond." A few months later they actually announced the new James Bond and guess who got the gig, Daniel Craig. I thought that this was a terrific choice and that the fans would love it, but boy was I wrong. The only feedback I heard was negative, a blonde hair, blue eyed Bond? Could it be? People were so outraged they even created a "craignotbond" web-site. Of course, all of this happened before the film opened and once it did everyone seemed to change their tune. Everywhere I went I heard that, not only was this the best Bond film ever, but the Craig was indeed one of the best Bonds. All I have to say is...I told ya so.

I was never a big fan of the James Bond films. I've seen a few when they would appear on television and I grew up with Brosnan as my Bond. So out of the few Bond films that I have seen, I can say that this tops the list. I would go as far as saying it has sparked my interest in seeing the films because I know that this film decided to go in another direction. I'm thankful it did. Casino Royale is the first Bond film in which I actually enjoy the opening title credits. Usually I'll be sitting their bored out of my mind with the theme song playing, but here I was digging it.

Is it more "real" then previous installments? Well at first I would have said no, since that chase scene, as spectacular as it is, was off the wall in realism. The half man half monkey guy jumping everywhere wasn't too realistic to me, but I'll take that to an invisible car any day. Guess what, Bond makes mistakes too. His ego gets in the way of his goal and takes the audience along for the ride as well. Craig pulls off a convincing Bond, with an attitude unlike the rest of them. His charm and charisma shines throughout and I'm happy to say that my first choice was the right one. Let's hope we see Craig in more installments to the new franchise. With little in side jokes for true Bond fans, and blatant ones for people who just know his name, the film appeals to everyone. It's intense, thrilling and above all enjoyable.

The beautiful and seductive Vesper Lynn is played dangerously and seductively by Eva Green. Playing well of Craig and adding a little bit of ego to herself can hold her own in the scenes. The villain, although not as over the top as almost every other villain is average here. What makes the Bond films so fun is seeing how insane these villains are. There is always that one thing about them that makes them crazy enough to be a Bond villain, here it was missing. Sure he has one eye and the other one cries blood, but what does that do for us? Nothing. As unrealistic as those villains may be, they were one of the main things that made those films so good, and taking that away isn't good for anybody.

One little gripe about it though, would be that is slows done to a halt in the third act, which gave me the signal that it was wrapping up and everything was going to be alright. Then out of nowhere comes this scene with guns blazing and buildings collapsing. I thought the film was over, then it went on for another 30 or so minutes. Although, the last 5 minutes of the film are indeed that damn good.

Bond is low on gadgets this time, and only one short car chase scene, which is fine considering it is his early career. Most of the tense scenes come from Bond sitting in a chair. He's playing poker of course, but sitting in a chair nonetheless. I enjoyed the action scenes and the films really tops the charts as one of the best Bond films and of the year. Much like Batman Begins and Superman Returns, we have a winner on our hands that is taking an old dying series and breathing new and exciting life into it. I'll be sure to see the next film, in which Craig can only better himself as the one they call Bond...James Bond.