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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Meet the new Bond, same as the old Bond”

    “”Casino Royale”” has what it takes to keep any ardent fan of the James Bond series happy: hot girls, death-defying chases and lots of gunfights. But the new blond Bond has big shoes to fill; no one wants to be the next George Lazenby of the series.

    “”Casino Royale”” is actually the first book by Ian Fleming, giving the series a fresh start. James Bond (Daniel Craig) has just achieved his 007 status and is thrown into a mission immediately. A shady European accountant, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), has

    “”Casino Royale””
    Rated PG-13
    144 minutes
    Columbia Pictures
    Score: 7/10

    been working as a middleman by taking money from “”freedom fighters”” (i.e., terrorists) in other countries and placing it in banks around the world where they can access it.

    Despite being an evil mastermind, Le Chiffre makes the horrible mistake of taking this money and placing it in the stock market. Bond foils his plan to profit from blowing up a brand-new plane to force an airplane company into bankruptcy, and Le Chiffre loses more than $100 million in the stock market. In a desperate attempt to get all the money back before all the terrorists realize their money has disappeared, Le Chiffre sets up an expensive 10-player card game. Bond weasels his way in and must win in order to leave Le Chiffre with no way of escaping the anger of his business partners.

    Craig does one thing well as Bond: He’s got the penetrating gaze down to a science. The script doesn’t actually give Bond many lines, so Craig is forced to use facial expressions to convey everything (or the lack thereof). With a plot centralized around the high-stakes card game, Craig has got the best poker face of any of the past Bonds. His every glance smolders with charisma.

    However, the director’s attempts to change the series may have gone a little too far. Martin Campbell tries too hard to shove it down your throat that yes, this is a new Bond, a Bond who doesn’t “”give a damn”” if it’s shaken or stirred. He may be a new Bond, but he lacks a certain manliness that the old Bonds oozed out.

    Here, Bond is not the womanizer we’re used to; he falls hard for a woman, at one point feeding her a cheesy line telling her that she has broken down his armor. It seems almost implausible that this is supposed to be the same Bond that is eventually supposed to turn into the future Bonds we’re used to.

    For Bond fans, it’s hard to see tradition broken. Bond prefers his martinis shaken, not stirred; that’s just the way it’s always been and always should be. While Craig avoids falling into the Lazenby range, he’s nowhere near up to holding up the iconography of Sean Connery.

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