I walked into Casino Royale just as classic movie spy James Bond was running from a hail of bullets. Five minutes later he was stealing a glamorous woman from a smooth criminal. Still, it seemed that this was not just a typical Bond movie.
As a prequel to the other Bond movies, Casino Royale depicts a different Bond, one who has just become a "00." Sure, he is still pretty slick with the ladies, but this Bond is more impulsive. Daniel Craig plays a younger Bond who blows up embassies, breaks into his boss’s apartment and loses millions in a poker game. I liked seeing this other side of Bond because it was so different from the usual suave, debonair super secret agent. By portraying a character that wasn’t as smooth as past (or future, whatever you want to call it) Bonds, director Martin Campbell was able to show Bond’s growth. By the end of the movie, it’s apparent why Bond can never trust anyone, which is, as his boss M says, crucial for a "00."
In this movie, James Bond is simply a young spy—brilliant, but young. As he goes through the missions in Casino Royale, he becomes the more mature and wise Bond we know and love. The last sentence of Casino Royale is Bond’s signature. "The name’s Bond. James Bond." This is the first time he says this during the whole movie, and I realized that this was when he adopted his trademark.
Besides revealing the character’s origins, the movie was funny. The scenes in which Bond literally runs through a wall in pursuit of a bombmaker and displays not an ounce of emotion left me speechless but laughing out loud. M’s dryness, as well, was entertaining. She is so British, so "Christ, I miss the Cold War," when dealing with Bond and his rash behavior. Compared to the last Bond movie, Die Another Day, Casino Royale is not as fanciful. There is no Korean minefield, no DNA modifying device, no ice hotel. Everything was more realistic, which made the plot more relatable. There were still fancy cars (Bond’s Aston Martin), still Bond girls, but everything was made a little more believable.
In Casino Royale, the high-intensity scenes come in the beginning, when Bond chases a bombmaker around a construction site, and in the end, when he tries to save his girlfriend from a collapsing building in Venice. You might not think two men climbing on construction beams is realistic, but it’s more believable than the lasers and ice diving in Die Another Day.
This more realistic version of Bond isn’t more or less enjoyable than the classic Bond of fantastic gadgets and hard-to-believe stunts. It’s just different. Although it may not fit into the Bond mold, Casino Royale is still a movie worth seeing.