*Posted November 13, 2008*
I won't get to see it until Saturday, so expect a review at some point over the weekend. Since I am now rewatching Casino Royale for comparison, I'll offer my thoughts on the series reboot.
Daniel Craig - Probably the ugliest Bond to date, and despite his Bowflex body, I am probably faster than he is. Still, he's a good actor and the perfect person to unveil the blunt instrument Bond. His black and white intro is way cool (especially when he shoots the guy and says "Yes....considerably").
Bond Villain - Played by the cool guy from the highly underrated King Arthur, Le Chiffre is a terrorist/banker/math genius (huh?), which works for me. The past couple Bond villains have been an Asian completely made over into a Brit (lame), a loser who feels no pain, and a media mogul. Nobody tops 006, but Le Chiffre and his bleeding eye are more than sufficient. "Oops..."
Bond Girl - Vesper Lynd: Not as breathtakingly beautiful as critics seem to believe, but this is another category that Casino Royale doesn't screw up. Her and Bond don't really sell the 'in love' angle of the movie, but she certainly is a girl worth loving. Did you notice in the hotel scene that she looks hotter in the mirror (flipped)? The fake double cross still confuses me. "The bitch is dead."
Plot - Not too sure. Le Chiffre's uses his employer's funds to gamble on the stock market. Bond stops his latest attempt and Le Chiffre must play poker to win it back. Good thing Bond is the best poker player in Her Majesty's Secret Service. All this is done to find out who his employer is, which we never do, except that it involves Vesper and her husband. Oh well. It's a little shaky, but everything else on this list is good.
Bond Song - Deucedly fine tune, if you prefer rock over sucky Madonna. Dave, Andy, and I all laughed when this played in theaters.
Director - Martin Campbell has an underrated film library (Vertical Limit, The Mask of Zorro, GOLDENEYE). That said, Casino Royale is still his best effort to date.
Best Moment - There are lots and lots of fun little things littered throughout the movie (the plane engine that throws that cop car through the air, Bond's cardiac arrest, the entire poker game), but the highlight is naked Bond getting a heavy rope to the balls. The theater loved it, and it still stands up as a painfully awesome scene. Too bad Le Chiffre's demise is not as memorable.
Verdict: Very good, and most critics are already saying that QOS doesn't match it. I'll deliver the final word on that debate this weekend.