Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first: I don’t like the theme tune. It is much better than the awful Madonna theme from Dire Another Day (do you see what I did there?), but fails to pass the Bondness threshold.
That’s a shame, because everything else about Casino Royale is pretty much spot on. There’s no campery, over-reliance on gadgets, mwa-ha-ha-take-over-the-world-with-my-big-laser plots or scenery chewing, unlike in yer Brosnans or yer Moores. It’s very much as advertised: back-to-basics, raw, gritty, violent. A bit like yer Daltons or yer Connerys, but with fewer wigs and not, you know, in the 1980s. And just generally better.
I was never one of those nay-sayers who scoffed at the casting of Daniel Craig as Bond, none of whom could come up with reasons better than “he’s a bit ginger”. They forgot that Bond is supposed to be English, and yet has been played by a Scot (Connery), an Australian (Lazenby), a “Welsh-born Englishman” (Dalton) and an Irishman (Brosnan). And that Felix Leiter, that old fraud, has been played by about a million different actors, both white and black. And ditto Blofeld, etc.
I’ve decided that most Bond films take place in their own universe, independent of all other Bond films. This works, apart from some disparities (such as the multiple appearances of Jaws and J.W. Pepper and others, a few references to Bond’s dead wife, and more), and it’s the only way to avoid cranial implosion regarding continuity. This film blows away any attempts to do so anyway, since it shows the start of Bond’s 00 career and yet has Judi M rather than harrumphing old Bernard M, and is of course set in the present.
Oh, enough Bond geekery. Wikipedia has it all, you know.
Avaragado’s rating: salty water