Before Casino Royale, the venerable Bond franchise had become a joke. Quite literally. Michael Meyers and his Austin Powers films so thoroughly lampooned the camp and plot tropes of the Bond franchise that it teetered on the edge of extinction. Pierce Brosnan’s tenure as bond started out wonderfully with Goldeneye, but by the time he’d filmed his last film, the series seemed painfully accurate to Meyers parody and a pale shadow of the gritty and more relevant Bourne films. I’m not exaggerating at the Powers film impact. If you ask Daniel Craig why his Bond has been a darker, grimmer, grittier version, he’ll simply say, “Michael Meyers (rather naughty word) us.”
Craig’s tenure as Bond revitalized the entire franchise and made the films event-viewing again. We’re just a few weeks away from the 24th film to follow 007, SPECTRE, so we’ll look at each of Craig’s films over the next three weeks. Casino Royale begins the exploration of a Bond who actually changes, where events for the first time in the series leave actual scars on Bond. From the very beginning to the brilliant final scene, Casino Royale was one of, if not THE, best film of 2006. I think Eva Green’s Vesper Fairchild is, by far, the best Bond girl, and his reaction to her and her subsequent betrayal are a far better explanation for his reluctance to establish any attachment to any female ever than him kind of just being a jerk. Francis Lawrence directed a film that rebooted the series, but did so in a way that paid homage to the franchise and felt like a natural evolution rather than a desperate grasp for relevancy (though it was that too). Bond films are known for their spectacular opening action sequences, and Craig put a stamp on his Bond all his own with, what I think, is the best footchase I’ve seen in any film. It’s a parkour chase through Madagascar that establishes this Bond as a lethal instrument of destruction before introducing the subtleties and intelligence that will carry him through most of the rest of the film.
2 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: Casino Royale (2006) “African Rundown””
Yeah, this movie was the first Bond film I ever loved. It helped that it had a really good plot that wasn’t too over the top. I didn’t think Quantum of Solace was nearly as good, but Skyfall… Skyfall was perfection.
If you read the actual interview with Daniel Craig that caused all the recent commotion, he was being ironic and jokey when he talked about slitting his wrists. I’m sure he’s not happy about the reshoots and the knee surgery, but if he’s under contract for one more film, we’ll get it. But please… Casino Royale was the beginning. Let the next one after SPECTRE be the end. For Craig’s Bond, at least. Close his story.
Then, please hire Nolan next, not to direct one film, but a trilogy. It’s the only way. The next Bond can’t be as introspective as Craig’s, because it would come off as an imitation, and probably a pale one. I would make the post-Craig films darker, with a more ruthless Bond whose motivations aren’t as clear. They need to hire someone who can do cold, like Tim Roth or Tom Hiddleston. It would give the films a different feel, and they need a different feel, because the Craig Era approach, while still great, has become as familiar as the Connery approach.