Casino Royale (2006)

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Ealier this month I criticised Live Free or Die Hard (2007) for taking the character of John McClane and unnecessarily changing what had made him so interesting in the previous Die Hard films. With Casino Royale (2006) this is entirely the opposite. I am not a fan of the James Bond series of films. Even though I have seen the majority of Bond films pre Pierce Brosnan, the only Bond film I own on DVD is Dr. No (1962) and that is more out of its importance as a British film than its overall content. The main reason I bought the Blu-Ray version of Casino Royale was for its HD presentation than its content. And not only is it a quality HD release it is actually a good film too.

Daniel Craig’s Bond is the most refreshing change the Bond series has received probably since its conception. Not only is Craig more serious in the role but he also looks the part. This Bond is certainly more threatening than any other of the predecessors. The opening twenty minutes are absolutely breathtaking featuring some of the best action stunts I have seen in a Hollywood film. Unfortunately the film cannot maintain the pace set by these scenes, it probably would have been nigh on impossible to do so, but still features a solid storyline. The ending was a tad anti-climatic but nevertheless satisfying. The camp elements common in previous Bond films has gone even though there are some amusing quips and some humourous nods to earlier entries.

As for the Blu-Ray disc, well, it actually lives up to the hype generated by those who have reviewed the disc. The picture quality here is flawless, there is no evidence of edge-enhancement and no digital noise reduction. The audio is also of an equally high standard, particularly impressive during the collapsing Venetian house sequence. This is by far the highest quality Blu-Ray release I have seen so far and serves as demonstration quality for those wanting to see what all this HD fuss is about.

If you do buy this disc make sure that you import the Australian version from DVD Crave or the Finnish version as all other releases around the world are censored. After all, why should you let someone else decide what you can or cannot watch? So, a Bond film that I actually enjoyed and would happily watch again. I look forward to Craig’s next outing as James Bond.

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