I’d have to believe that when news came out that Pierce Brosnan was out as the timeless James Bond, and replaced by a blond-haired blue-eyed actor that nobody (in the USA) quite knew of… It was the shock heard round the world. That said, I must admit that by far, Casino Royale is the best James Bond film yet, and Daniel Craig is set to unseat even the mighty Sean Connery.
Now I get what you’re thinking, what about Brosnan? He was a symbol of perfection for the old Bond. Beyond the supreme ass-kicking he took in Die Another day, there was no more room for character development. Don’t get me wrong, Brosnan filled the role very well, but he filled the same role that both Sean Connery and even Roger Moore had done. The modern Bond was a dead-end. How many times have you seen Bond win at the Casino? Now you get to see him lose… for a little while.
Daniel Craig is the square peg that needed to be hammered into the round role to bring some life, some action, hell – some unpredictable entertainment to the story. Casino Royale places you in the James Bond timeline before Lazenby, Connery, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan – this is Bond’s first mission. As the movie starts, he is not even a 00 level agent. Take away all the refinement of the latest iterations, Craig’s Bond is rough, blunt, and violent at a level that would make Timothy Dalton quit the role… oh wait… Sure, we’ve seen Bond captured and beaten, as in Die Another Day, but while the execution of the torture scenes in Die Another Day neat and refined, like an art film, in Casino Royale the torture is live, brash, and brutal.
Bond is definitely in there, but this is a scrapper – a man with sharp wit, the ability to kill without hesitation, and cunning to pull it off in the end… He possesses a naïve recklessness that down the line is buried beneath layers of proven tactics and experience. In short, it’s refreshing as hell. Still, the look really sells it. You see Craig and immediately assume a lack of refinement, surgical wit and lethality. Seeing this man in a tuxedo is almost laughable. While you’d be partly right in the assumptions, the moments where those very traits are triggered and executed are mind-blowing. He might be fresh, but never underestimate this Bond. Underestimation is equivalent to death in his world. Where the modern bond would hatch a complex plan, Craig’s bond accomplishes the plan with a bullet – simple, lethal, and perfect.
I’ll say it again, this is the best Bond film ever made to date. Daniel Craig? Nails the role. From the opening scene until the end credits, this film is action packed, with the only slow points left as fuses for the next big explosion. A breath of fresh gasoline into the genre and the storyline, I can only look forward to the 22nd installment of the Bond films with Daniel Craig at the helm. Good show!