Casino Royale was finally unveiled to the world on Tuesday 14 November at the Royal Premier at Leicester Square in London. 4,200 people packed into Leicester Square’s three cinemas to watch a simultaneous screening of the film in what was the biggest UK premier ever. Stars from far and wide attended the showing, and the Queen and Prince Philip were introduced to the major cast members. Daniel Craig looked triumphant as he trod the red carpet, signing autographs and holding cameras aloft in order to capture shots of himself standing next to the eager fans. This really was his night and he looked as if he was enjoying every minute of it.
And on to the film; Casino Royale really is very different to any other Bond film and Daniel Craig is a very different Bond. The film has dispensed with so many of the 007 clichés that it must have been a huge gamble to move in this new direction.
But what a new direction it is. The pre-credits sequence is short and to the point. But what a sequence it is. And once the titles are over the adrenaline flows for a segment that is breathtakingly action-packed, non-stop and hard.The mid-section of film is where the film draws on Ian Fleming’s book; while Bond played Baccarat in the book we now have poker, but the card games are still exciting and we have more action. The story is still recognisable, despite being updated by more than 50 years, and Bond purists needn’t worry – he orders his drink almost word for word in the book, although in slightly different circumstances. And there are some scenes where you can see that Craig’s Bond is every inch a man capable of killing.
Other cast members include Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, who wears an Algerian love knot necklace throughout. The character gets off to a slightly shaky start but improves no end as the film progresses. This is down to the script rather than Green’s acting skills and a minor point. I thought that Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre would be a bit too cartoonish from the trailers, but was happy to find that wasn’t the case at all. A major surprise though was that Felix Leiter, played by Jeffrey Wright, hardly appeared in the film at all.
All in all a really good action film that will appeal to Bond fans and non-Bond fans alike. And the whole cinema will cheer at the end of the film, just before the credits role.