DVD Features Daniel Craig as Bond, James Bond
While Daniel Craig is certainly capable as 007, he won’t be making anybody forget about Sean Connery anytime soon. Buff, brutal, but not nearly as charming, this incarnation of the super sleuth is likely to be better remembered for his rough-and-tumble action sequences than for that trademark gadgetry or for generating chemistry as a globetrotting ladies man.
Gone are Bond’s bevy of disposable beauties, as are his off-color double entendres. Equally-conspicuous in their absence are such familiar staples as Miss Moneypenny and Q, with just an underutilized M (Judi Dench) returning from among 007’s signature supporting cast. And forget about state-of-the-art special effects, as this picture opts for a gritty realism over spectacular stunt work.
Essentially, what we have here is a production which all but renders the carefully-cultivated James Bond franchise unrecognizable. Obviously, some studio execs decided the image was in need of an overhaul. Even the storyline is only loosely based on its source material, as Casino Royale has been updated to reflect post-Cold War concerns.
Bond’s assignment, here, is to bring down a nomadic nogoodnik (Mads Mikkelson) who has been bankrolling an international terrorist network. The plan is for 007, accompanied by chaperone-turning-love interest Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), to track down the diabolical villain in a casino in Montenegro. Once there, the idea is to bankrupt the compulsive gambler by besting him in a winner-take-all poker game with a $10,000,000 entrance fee.
Unfortunately, neither cat-and-mouse badinage nor breathtaking locales around Venice, Prague and The Bahamas make up for a two and a half hour disappointment which drags noticeably simply by never delivering tried-and-true elements we’ve come to expect of this storied franchise. Passable as a generic action flick, but an exercise in frustration for any purist expecting a familiar 007 spectacular.
Good (2 stars)
Rated PG-13 for nudity, sexuality, torture, and intense violence.
Running time: 144 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: a Chris Cornell music video, and three featurettes, “Bond Girls Are Forever,” “Becoming Bond,” and “James Bond: For Real.”