(aka 'Bond Begins' or 'Ian Fleming's Casino Royale' or 'James Bond 21')
|Casino Royale introduces James Bond before he holds his license to kill. But Bond is no less dangerous, and with two professional assassinations in quick succession, he is elevated to '00' status. Bond's first 007 mission takes him to Uganda where he is to spy on a terrorist, Mollaka. Not everything goes to plan and Bond decides to investigate, independently of MI6, in order to track down the rest of the terrorist cell. Following a lead to the Bahamas, he encounters Dimitrios and his girlfriend, Solange. He learns that Dimitrios is involved with Le Chiffre, banker to the world's terrorist organizations. Secret Service intelligence reveals that Le Chiffre is planning to raise money in a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro at Le Casino Royale. MI6 assigns 007 to play against him, knowing that if Le Chiffre loses, it will destroy his organization. 'M' places Bond under the watchful eye of the beguiling Vesper Lynd. At first skeptical of what value Vesper can provide, Bond's interest in her deepens as they brave danger together and even torture at the hands of Le Chiffre. In Montenegro, Bond allies himself with Mathis MI6's local field agent, and Felix Leiter who is representing the interests of the CIA. The marathon game proceeds with dirty tricks and violence, raising the stakes beyond blood money and reaching a terrifying climax.|
Theatrical Release: November 14th, 2006
DVD Review: Sony (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|We expect the Blu-Ray edition will be significantly better in the image department.|
|Distribution||Sony - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.19 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, None|
Bond: An intimate look at how Daniel Craig stepped into the role of the
6th James Bond.
I suppose I better get this out of the way first: I wasn't as enamored with this Bond entry as many others that I have spoken to about it. I even had one friend say "Daniel Craig is better than Connery!" -- please. I suppose his muscle-bound physique, and the ludicrous plot details, match perfectly for today's audiences. Seems even after our hero has a near fatal heart attack he is immediately back chasing cars at breakneck speed ala The Six Million Dollar Man. With Texas hold'em so popular these days I suppose it was another 'improved' bastardization of the Fleming novel - lucky for us skateboarding, or better yet apple-pie-eating contests, aren't the current flavor of the month. Hollywood might have found some way to mesh them in.... quite acceptably, of course. Heaven forbid we remove all the cell-phone gadgetry and set the film 35 years ago.
Okay, okay - I am too cynical - this guy is the best thing to happen to Bond in, what?, 20 years - I'll admit it. I just wish the production details wouldn't go so ostentatiously overboard - personally, it totally detracts from any realism that might have been left by the skeleton details of the original novel. These films are now closer to Jackie Chan's flamboyant athletics than anything Fleming intended... or Connery icon-ized. I suspect that a lot of the adulation of Casino Royale extends to the huge following's intense desire for something close to the early entries in the series. Alas we will never have those days again it seems. This is Bond customized for big sales and the public's desire for quick, intense, but less-memorable thrills. Well, you sure got it with this one. I dread how they will follow it up.
The Sony image looks good but not great to my eye. It was not exceptionally as detailed as you might expect from a modern film and there are visible digital artifacts plus some yellowish haze over many of the brighter scenes. Now, it is not poor by any standards but I am guessing that the Blu-Ray will be much improved. The optional subtitles are, as usual for Sony, overly big, gaudy yellow, and intrusive onto the image. The 5.1 audio sounded quite explosive at times although I wonder how a DTS track would compare.
The second disc (extras) is marketed for elsewhere - being coded for regions 1, 3 and 4 and having subtitles available in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai. There is about two hours of stuff - adulation for Craig, retro with past Bond gals but nothing of any real substance - more perpetuation of the new Bond pre-legend - courted by the media not unlike royalty. All-in-all I would have preferred one good commentary with Craig and/or director Campbell, but I guess the film was quite long for that, but surely the production details are a story unto themselves.
I had intentions to buy the Blu-Ray for my initial viewing but glad I didn't as I'm not that gung-ho on the film after finally seeing it - but I'll wager if you are it is the way to go. It could extol the roller-coaster ride of the film's action to stratospheric levels. Just not for me. Sorry, I'll brood and go watch From Russia With Love now.
DVD Menus - Disc 1
DVD Menus - Disc 2