Exclaim!

Casino Royale

Martin Campbell

Casino Royale
Though he looks more like Jack the Lad, with his tussled "blonde” hair, firm brow and ripped physique, Daniel Craig silenced the harsh and irrational critics when Casino Royale debuted last December. Giving the Bond series a much-needed fresh start (let’s face it, Brosnan wasn’t going to), Casino Royale takes 007 back to his beginnings as the deadly agent. Opening with a debonair black and white sequence, it then kicks into high gear with a jaw-dropping chase that sets the tone for this new breed of Bond films. With its sights set on increasing the action and sex appeal, as well as injecting this infamous misogynistic womaniser with a heart that can be broken, this is exactly what enthusiasts have been waiting for. Hell, even the high stakes poker match will leave you on edge, much like it does Bond. Additionally, this reinvention has thankfully bypassed those neat-o gadgets (no ballpoint pen detonators here!) and the smarmy, loathsome demeanour that Brosnan perfected. And though Craig may not encompass the character the way Connery always will, his acting chops and staunch presence are unrivalled. Perhaps it’s a little premature to declare this but he could prove himself to be the most crucial Bond yet (I know I’m rooting for him). In the absence of a commentary, three featurettes have been strewn together. "Becoming Bond” is the requisite yet worthwhile "behind the scenes” doc, which examines the lengths producers went to find a replacement for Brosnan, as well as deciding on what film to remake and how to diversify the role. Craig and Casino Royale were both vital for the franchise; the actor was by far an atypical choice but such a fresh face starring in the original novel was a perfect fit. "James Bond: For Real” focuses on the stunts, such as the exquisite parkour (free running) feats, and the fact that Craig did as much action as producers would allow. The slightly dated "Bond Girls Are Forever,” on the other hand, is a more light-hearted, fluffier doc that studies the history and evolution of the explicit feminine touch brought to the franchise throughout its 45 years, including interviews with Ursula Andress, Jane Seymour and Halle Berry. (MGM / Sony)
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