Old-school Bond fans across the galaxy were doubtless enraged when one of the largest ever polls conducted on audiences’ favourite 007 movies revealed that the 2006 film Casino Royale came out on top. The full poll can be found here http://www.ladbible.com/entertainment/bond-poll, but there has been no shortage of commentary from film pundits and fans explaining why the majority of people who came to this conclusion are incorrect.
Critics have said Casino Royale lacks the narrative depth, emotional subtlety and even the musical score of previous films, among many other things. However, if we’re ranking all of the Bond films according to such a strict set of metrics, it’s still clear that Casino Royale truly is the great Bond film of all time. Here’s why.
Daniel Craig Brought Bond Back from the Brink
It would be hard to dispute the fact that the Bond franchise was pretty stagnant before Daniel Craig was selected to play the man himself. Previous renditions of the franchise starring Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton flopped both critically and commercially, to the point where many of the films seemed like mere parodies of themselves.
The entry of Daniel Craig into the franchise breathed new life into it, with Casino Royale and all subsequent films winning multiple highly-coveted awards, from BAFTAs to Grammies, all of which can be found here: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0381061/awards. In addition, each successive film went on to be the highest grossing Bond film ever made. Without Casino Royale, it’s very possible that Bond films simply wouldn’t exist today.
It’s Bond at its Most Glamorous and Sexy
Casino Royale trumps many previous Bond films thanks to its high production values, clever script and complex plotlines, which its predecessors had been seriously lacking. However, what really makes this film so epic is that it’s simply Bond at its most luxurious, over-the-top and alluring. The principal setting of the film – the high-glamour gambling Mecca of Monte Carlo – injects the film with old-school glamour and style.
The film’s release provoked a wave of renewed interest in high-class casino gaming, with games like European roulette, of the kind frequently played in Monaco (right), becoming so popular that even online casino platforms such as https://casino.paddypower.com/c/roulette added it to their offerings. Everyone wanted to be like Daniel Craig’s Bond. Clearly, Casino Royale was and remains one of the most influential instalments ever.
The Plot is Gripping, Subversive and Relevant
Looking back at some of the older films such as Die Another Day and Goldfinger, it’s hard not to see them almost as B-movies. Compared to Casino Royale and later releases, many of the predecessor films seem formulaic, predictable and even nonsensical in comparison. It deals with important contemporary themes such as international terrorism, data privacy, money laundering and the reduced role of government agencies such as MI6 in contemporary life.
It also gives the infamous ‘Bond Girls’ much more agency and personality than they were afforded in the past, with the main female protagonist – played by Eva Green – actively and vocally refusing to be pigeonholed as a pretty but useless psychic. It’s the kind of relevant and fresh perspective that the franchise sorely needed and that Casino Royale delivered in spades.
While the next Bond film is still a while away, we should be thankful that we have another promising release to look forward to, which we owe to the success of Casino Royale.