The Craig Reconstruction – Casino Royale (2006) Review

Daniel Craig James Bond Casino Royale
Daniel Craig as 007

When I started my James Bond film reviews four years ago I never anticipated to still be doing them. It was one of my earlier attempts at doing video reviews and I just thought I would give them a try. Those early parts were really rough and I can’t bear to watch them today. That narration of mine was really bad. But at the time I simply figured – I’m a fan of James Bond and these could be fun projects to work on.

Longtime fans of my Bond series probably know these were originally meant to be quick one-minute reviews of all the films leading up to the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008. I didn’t make that deadline and after having missed that objective I started to take a bit more time with putting them together. As they progressed they began getting more indepth and much, much longer.

The Timothy Dalton Phase got more attention than the entire run of Connery. The Bond Blueprint gave me a chance to breakdown the components of what makes a ‘Bond Film’ a ‘Bond Film’, a project that I had always wanted to do. The Brosnan Age practically became a mini-series of me talking about his four films.

Daniel Craig obviously would be up next. Leading up to him I thought it would be fun to take a look at the other adaptations of Casino Royale – the 1954 TV production and the 1967 spoof film. Both projects were fun to work on and I actually learned some interesting things from researching them. (The ’67 spoof film has more great behind the scenes stories than possibly any other movie ever made!)

James Bond Vesper Lynd Casino Royale
Eva Green and Craig in Casino Royale

So now it’s Craig’s turn. It’s somewhat strange to be working on films about a Bond actor in the series that’s still our current Bond. It would be nice to look at all his Bond films collectively together and get an overall picture of his run as Bond, but if I waited until Craig leaves the role before I started looking at his films I could be waiting until 2016 or 2017. That would be quite a long stretch.

Now with the release of Craig’s third Bond film Skyfall practically here I thought this would be a great time to start my look with his first Bond film 2006’s Casino Royale.

I usually like posting the entire review of a film all at once. I would much rather have folks who want to sit back and watch the whole thing in one sitting be able to, instead of spreading it out over parts posted over the course of weeks. This time I won’t be able to do that. Unfortunately, my time has been stretched so much lately that I’m behind on completing the Casino review with that Skyfall deadline looming ahead.

Caterina Murino in Casino Royale
The sexy Caterina Murino

So I’ve posted the intro – one of those nifty, montages that I enjoy making so much – for now and the actual review of the film will be posted in subsequent parts as they’re finished. I’m going to try to get it completed by Skyfall time, but if worse comes to worse and the review isn’t completed by the release of Skyfall at least I’ll be able to get the intro out to those who want to watch it.

Also, Youtube subscribers of mine know that the ‘Tube has rejected my recent Bond reviews. So fully anticipating this will happen again, I’m going to make the actual film review portion of this first Craig film available on my website. I will make an announcement video when the entire Casino Royale review is completed and ready to watch.

I, like all you other Bond fans, will be going to see Skyfall, so I will probably make either a video or blog about some of my thoughts after seeing it. It won’t be one of those long reviews I do, just something short. A longer review will most likely happen down the road. After a Quantum of Solace review of course, which I’ll probably do early next year.

After the Casino Royale review is completed and Skyfall comes out I want to take a step back from Bond and work on some different stuff for awhile. But I plan on continuing these Bond reviews. They might be longer and more indepth than how they originally started, but essentially they’re still a Bond fan just sharing his thoughts about the films.

Thanks again to all my fellow Bond fans who have been following and enjoying this Bond series of mine! Here’s hoping for the best with Skyfall! You know…that other big Bond project that’s coming out this year. ;o)

Cheers!

 

THE CRAIG RECONSTRUCTION: THE INTRO




CASINO ROYALE (2006) PART ONE


CASINO ROYALE (2006) PART TWO


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20 Responses

  1. chesterjim227 says:

    Thank you!!! I don't know if I'm more looking foreward to Skyfall or your review of it. The Craig reconstuction looks awesome. Let's hope you can wrap this up and get back to superhero flicks.

  2. Numinous says:

    I can appreciate how reviewing Craig's Bond films is trickier, since his run is not complete and is clearly going to dovetail with the more traditional series incrementally. I did appreciate the intro and I'm always surprised at how you work those film shots together to make a coherent 'mini-film'. As much as I admire Craig in the role, I do think we need time to evaluate him in comparison to the others. I'm not that keen on the 'Bourne' influence: it's taken something singular away from the Bond series, while also keeping the box office returns high.

  3. Anonymous says:

    bookmarked!!!!!

  4. CS says:

    Always enjoy your Bond reviews and just finished watching Parts I & II of your Craig Reconstruction.
    One thing I would to comment on is George Lazenby's departure from the series. The official word from both the man himself and others is that he quit. In a BBC documentary years ago George commented that it was spread around and for many years people thought he had been fired. The truth is that Cubby and Harry did offer George a multi-film contract that would've extended into the mid to late 1970s. From both George's and Peter Hunt's accounts , George seemed at a loss on what to do. When he asked Hunt for advice Hunt felt it wasn't his place to advise George on what to do.
    George turned to the advice of his manager Ronan O'Rahilly. At the time O'Rahilly was most known for the pirate radio station Radio Caroline and was firm anti-establishment. George liked this quality in Ronan and saw O'Rahilly as knowing what the younger generation wanted. O'Rahilly's advice was that with the rise of the counter culture movement and the anti-war movement James Bond was not going to be popular with audiences in the 1970s. Everyone had long hair and here was Bond with his short hair and a conservative. George bought into it and began thinking about not continuing as Bond. It wasn't helped that for the premiere Cubby and Harry told George not to show up with long hair and beard and that wasn't how Bond looked. It aggravated George and he showed up sporting his beard, as himself. By the time of the premiere George had already decided to quit the role. The resentment towards George by Cubby and Harry weren't so much that he was a pain but rather because he left they now had search for another James Bond or worse beg Connery to come back.
    So to sum up, official word: He quit the role of James Bond based on the poor advice of probably the worst manager of all time.

  5. CS – Yeah, that's the story I hear the most frequently. Laz was offered a contract, took his managers advice, they saw the rise of more radical films like Easy Rider, figured Bond was over and George declined the contract. That's how it's often said it went down.

    But then I'll hear the occasional perspective by someone else saying that the studio wasn't happy with Laz, they didn't like his attitude during filming and just didn't want to pursue things with him any further. I even heard once they revamped the ending to Majesty's. It would have ended with Bond and Tracy's wedding and Laz's second Bond film would have the pre-credits begin with Tracy getting shot down the road. Supposedly they already knew they didn't want him back and decided on a conclusive end to the film. I have no idea if that's true, but it's just another one of those things I've heard through the years.

    I tend to believe he just walked after getting the bad advice, like you said, by 'the worst manager of all time'. But when I hear these sporadic conflicting accounts it makes me wonder if there was more to his departure than that.

    • CS says:

      I do remember Peter Hunt commenting that originally he had planned to end the film with Bond & Tracy driving off and then open DAF with Tracy's death. The ending changed when Lazenby quit. I don't think the studio had anything to do with adding in the final 5 minutes. According to Hunt the studio actually wanted to cut OHMSS' running time because of how long it was.
      There will always be conflicting stories especially considering those involved (Cubby & Harry, UA, George). It looks better on EON's part if they play up that they got rid of George instead of George leaving them. True George was a pain and he has admitted this throughout the years. In the new documentary that just came Everything Or Nothing, he speaks quite frankly about his tenure as Bond and remarks that afterward he really didn't know who he was. "I wanted to be James Bond but you couldn't live the way James Bond lived."
      Interesting watch by the way. Pierce Brosnan laughs hysterically while recounting the infamous DAD glacier sailing and other members of the cast reflect on the ridiculousness of that film. Tim's great too, shows how passionate he was about the character.
      Anyway back to OHMSS, despite George's attitude during the making from everything I've read that EON / UA was willing to continue on with him. Even Peter Hunt commented that he wanted to do DAF with George. I think it was accepted that he was going to continue. Once he resigned the role it was sort of a "stabbed in the back" feeling amongst the producers. Now they had to go through the headache of casting another actor. So it looks better if they simply got rid out of him.

    • You're probably right about the stories of him being fired is more to 'save face' for EON than actually being accurate. It's clear now Lazenby realizes he should have at least done one more Bond film.

      I keep hearing some pretty good things about that Everything or Nothing doc. I'm very curious to see it. That Brosnan interview sounds really funny! :o)

  6. CS says:

    As opposed to many other's views, I always saw Lazenby as a missed opportunity in the series rather than the black sheep. While Dalton is my favorite Bond I do rank Lazenby quite high on my Favorite Bond list. I do consider OHMSS my favorite Bond film and while his line delivery is stiff here and there I thought he did remarkable well considering he had a no acting background. The guy had acting chops and I think continuing with the series he would've improved. His presence in DAF would've certainly improved that film as the original script was suppose to continue the story of OHMSS. Screenwriter Richard Maibaum was upset when he heard that Cubby and Harry were not only on dropping the revenge plot but that they were also bringing back Guy Hamilton to direct. Maibaum wrote an angry letter to Cubby & Harry protesting not only the plot change but also that Hamilton was picked over Hunt and that Hamilton's films only worked because of Hunt's editing. There's probably alternate dimension out there where Lazenby continued the role of James Bond or at least a non-Connery DAF.

    The EON doc is pretty good. I wouldn't call it the definitive Bond documentary but it does cover new ground as opposed to other Bond documentaries I've seen. Seeing Tim talk about 007 was great and so were his comments about the reception LTK got. "I can't take my 6 and 7 year old to the film. It wasn't meant for 6 and 7 year olds!"
    Someone has actually uploaded onto YouTube. I'd grab it before its yanked off.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVe26RAmGFg

    • I never heard that story about Maibaum. CS, you really know your Bond stuff! You should be working on your own Bond doc! :o)

      Thanks for the link! I'm going to check it out ASAP!

    • CS says:

      Thanks for the compliment! I couldn't do my own Bond doc/reviews as I don't have the nerve to do my own narration. I have done some Bond videos mostly trailers and some visualizing a Lazenby DAF (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI-A3G1r_0c) but I haven't done any Bond related videos in a long time. Seeing its the 50th anniversary I plan on making another at least another Bond video before the year is over. Sadly I find myself to busy to go through the films and collect footage from each one.

      My information about OHMSS comes from a great book called "The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service" by Charles Helfenstein. The book is essential the OHMSS bible as it goes into detail about everything regarding the film including the book itself, early scripts, casting, production, post-production, music, marketing, reviews, the infamous ABC edit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSr0fp_Gprk), and home video releases. It also contains tons of behind the scenes photos, storyboards, concept drawings, posters, etc. I highly recommend it. Its probably the most in-depth and thoroughly researched Bond book.

    • I'll have to check out the Majesty's book, it sounds very informative. I'll also be sure to check out some of Bond vids. I'm betting you could create some pretty intriguing Bond review vids, if you can get over the narration hurdle. Believe me I know that's hard. When I originally started mine I was looking for someone else to do that part. :o)

    • CS says:

      I might do a review or a retrospective of either the whole series or OHMSS using clips and text rather than narration. But it'll probably won't be until I have time off in December. Seriously contemplating doing a OHMSS retrospective as there was a lot more happening during the production of that film rather what is talked about in most documentaries . Usually its, "oh and there's was that one film that Aussie fella made. But no one likes it and we don't talk about it. Moving on, ROGER MOORE!"

  7. chesterjim227 says:

    Thank you for doing this. I so enjoy your take and examination of the Bond films. Please tell me you don't hate Quantum. This again is a depature from the formula with the formula in it and it so fits into the becoming the suave sophisticated man who was in Dr. No. the trial and error of becoming the best the secret service has to offer is an amazing trip we are finally allowed to see. Now Skyfall will start to put us in the place that Connery started. It looks like Quantum was the set up for so much more, the evil group running things, stealing frigging water wow what a concept. Many people missed this but I find it to be a great entry into the cannon of the Bond franchise and real issues dealt to our hero is what makes me keep watching these movies. By the way the best car chase, the best aircraft scene and one of the beat fights are all in Quantum. And the silent gunfight in the kitchen friggin awesome. Hope your reveiw won't trash it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I know you hate brosnan, but I feel at this point you have run it into the ground.

    He is not my favorite Bond, but I think you would be mad too if you're last outing as Bond as Die Another Day.

    Can't wait for Quantum of Solace review!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Like your review about how the different actors departed from their Bond role. Says a lot about their characters.

    Firstly, I am a Dalton fan. He was a victim of circumstance during his term as Bond, but we never heard him complain. And he was even known to be loyal to the Broccoli's. On the other hand, Connery who got the most …(adulation, recognition, awards, etc), held a grudge. And he even went further as to work with McClory. Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

    Also, I'd like to give recognition to George Lazenby. Audiences should keep in mind that he was YOUNG when he took the role…late 20's. Let the one who was young and wise, cast the first stone. The fact that George admitted that he made mistakes is what makes him human; makes him respectable.

  10. Jimmy, B says:

    WOW, James Bond movie you like in this era…kidding, just kidding. I got so used to your negative long epic reviews of the Brosnan era, I forgot that you actually like some of the movies in the series. I think the last one you give a good review was License to Kill and that was only 10 mins I think. A little trivia on the music side. When Bond selects the code of the safe during the poker game, The tone key is the other 007 theme. You know the one that started with From Russia with Love and ending around Moonraker where Bond on the speed boat in the Amazon. If you listing carefully the tones match the rythme of that other 007 theme. Like many people, I to had the problem with missing the gun barrel sequence, Q, Moneypenny, and the 007 theme. But still enjoy the movie a lot and had a funny time watching the beginnings. I know a young generation are enjoying these movies. I was listing to the Bridge to Terabithia commentary and those love the movie.
    I myself never had a problem with Craig, I was used to a Blond Bond(or sandier) with Moore. I will say that the problem with Brosnan was he was too est. on being the Bond character then trying to open 007 was lacking and always drop as your review had cover. Also, I remember the whole 90's films was reflecting on it's self with self-aware films that was coming out like Scream, Last Action Hero, and Alien Resurrection. The Bond series seem to share this same theme. We all seem the films, know the pattern, so lets make fun of it and inject some drama into it. Oh, by the way check out Shoot to Kill, that was directed by Tomorrow Never Dies director which is a very good film that relay on wits then gunplay. The one thing that surprise me about this movie was the score. David Arnold actually does a good job with the score here. Unlike his other Bond scores where they remix 007 theme and run it to death most of the time. Casino Royale did a great job of using the song and being put of the score then just having 007 theme use though out the film. I would suggest as another Bond series is focus on the music of the series. I really miss John Barry, but a lot of work goes into these scores and there's been a lot different composers that it could make for a nice review. Well great job, and stay safe. There's a bad storm coming in your area and hope things don't turn out bad. I can't wait for Skyfall, already is getting best ever talk, and the rumors for the next on is crazy.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Please could you separate out your whining about Brosnan from your reviews of non-Brosnan films? I just wasted about an hour because you spent the first 60 minutes of a Craig review on nothing but complaints about Brosnan being a sour looser. Parts 1 and 2 should be titled "Getting rid of Brosnan Parts 1+2", then Parts 3 and 4 could be renumbered "Casino Royale review Parts 1+2"

    • James Picard says:

      Part 2 barely touched upon that. If anything it focused more on Quinton Terintino and the fans reaction to Craig. Part 1, yeah, that was focused on Brosnan whining, but part 2 only mentioned it briefly.

  12. btw the aston crash scene was done with a driver in the car for real and the driver did survive. at the time it was the most flips ever recorded by the Guinness world record takers.

  13. Marshalsify says:

    The previous movie Casino Royale was a good action movie, though it wasn't a Bond movie it's the Jason Bourne formula that eventually works, but the next one Quantum of Solace, Craig looks bored and has nothing whatsoever to do with the iconic character of James Bond – but this time around he gets ruined here by appalling direction and just poorly executed is such a shame to look at!

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