Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen
Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007
$40,833,156 on 3434 screens.
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
German DTS 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Runtime: 130 min.
Release Date: 9/15/2015
• Audio Commentary with Director Martin Campbell and Producer Michael G. Wilson>
• Deleted Scenes
• “The Martin Chronicles” Featurette
• “Building a Better Bond” Pre-Production Featurette
• “The Return of Bond” Start of Production Press Event
• “Driven to Bond: Remy Julienne” Featurette
• “Anatomy of a Stunt: Tank Vs. Perrier” Featurette
• “Making It Small In Pictures: Derek Meddings” Featurette
• “On Location with Peter Lamont” Featurette
• “GoldenEye: The Secret Files” Featurette
• “GoldenEye: The Secret Files – The Cast” Featurette
• Pre-Title Storyboard Sequence
• “Exotic Location” Featurette
• “The GoldenEye Video Journal” Featurette
• “The World of 007” Documentary
• Promotional Featurette
• Music Video
• Trailers and TV Spots
• Image Galleries
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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.
Casino Royale [Blu-Ray] (2006)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 25, 2019)
By my reckoning, 2006’s Casino Royale stands as the second time the series’ producers really tried to “relaunch” the franchise. That said, one can argue with my claim for the first relaunch: 1995’s GoldenEye.
It was notable because it featured a new Bond in the form of Pierce Brosnan, but it didn’t differ from prior flicks to a huge degree. It came across as a relaunch mainly because it’d been six years since the last Bond flick, and it felt like a minor attempt to invigorate the series with some new talent.
On the other hand, Royale clearly acts as an attempt to change Bond and make him more relevant for the new millennium. Not only did the producers go four years between flicks – the second-longest gap after the span between Licence to Kill and GoldenEye - and a new Bond in the person of Daniel Craig, but also it took the franchise back to its beginnings via its story.
In Royale, we find a younger, less experienced Bond (Craig). At the film’s start, we see him earn his 00 status, and then the flick takes us to Uganda. We meet Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a baddie who runs investments for various shady sorts.
In the meantime, we see Bond on a mission to capture a bomb-maker connected to Le Chiffre. His harsh approach results in serious problems, especially since he ends up on the grounds of an embassy – and caught on camera.
This embarrasses the British government and lands Bond in hot water with his boss “M” (Judi Dench). Though she orders him to lay low for a while, he heads to the Caribbean to follow a lead he obtained when he took the bomb-maker’s cell phone. This eventually leads up the rope to Le Chiffre, who loses a lot of dough when he gambles with his clients’ money.
With the need to raise cash to make up for this shortfall, Le Chiffre stages a high stakes poker game in Casino Royale. “M” sends Bond to ensnare Le Chiffre in the contest, and financial specialist Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) goes along to watch the cash. The rest of the movie follows various forms of intrigue, action and romance.
Occasionally the folks behind Bond trumpet a “back to basics”, grittier approach to the series. This happened twice in the Roger Moore days with Live and Let Die and For Your Eyes Only as well as in the brief Timothy Dalton era of the late Eighties.
Royale goes down this path again, though with the most satisfying results. Mind you, I dug the two Dalton flicks, but Royale reignites the series in a very compelling manner.
Much of the credit goes to Craig’s steely performance as Bond. Many criticized his casting but he proves the naysayers wrong via his strong take on the part.
Craig has to give us a different kind of Bond, since the character’s a work in progress. We watch his personality evolve through the film, while the other actors played Bond as an already concrete personality.
Craig pulls off these challenges without self-consciousness. He doesn’t wink back at prior Bonds or overplay the character’s development.
Instead, he makes the transformation natural and effective. We watch Craig pull the character together on screen and present a dynamic, compelling Bond.
And a darker one. Much has been made of Royale’s choice to provide a grimmer tale, and I feared this decision might backfire. It was possible the filmmakers would go so far in that direction that the result would no longer feel like Bond.
To my delight, that never occurs. Instead, the grittiness serves the character and story, and these elements allow the flick to pack a greater emotional punch than usual.
We really do find a more human Bond, and the feelings that develop serve the flick well. He’s an emotionally distant, impetuous hothead, and damned interesting to boot.
Royale really does eschew many of the series’ staples. That means no “Q”, no memorable gadgets, and only a hint of the Bond theme.
The movie uses the latter in a clever manner. I won’t discuss it since it could act as a spoiler, but though we get the theme, it doesn’t come across in the normal playful, triumphant way.
And let the ladies rejoice: the eye candy that is Craig shows a lot of skin in Royale. Call me a pig if you must, but that’s the only change found here that I don’t like. Bond exposes himself all over the place but we hardly get a glance of any women in various levels of undress.
That’s progress? The flick even calls back Ursula Andress’s iconic emergence from the sea in Dr. No but features a swimsuit-clad Bond instead!
Though the story lacks the usual fantasy and sheen, Royale creates an involving and taut tale. At 144 minutes, this is one of the longest Bond ever made, as it runs a couple of minutes more than 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Despite that extended running time, the flick never feels slow or leaden. It moves briskly and keeps us with it at all times.
This seems especially amazing given the static nature of the movie’s second act. Much of that segment sticks us at the poker table.
Sure, the story spices things up with an action sequence or two to give us a break in the card games, but the tale remains pretty focused on folks as they sit around a table.
Despite that potential handicap, Royale stays compelling. I know that when I saw it theatrically I never felt bored or distracted, and neither problem developed during my subsequent screening on home video.
Indeed, I found myself almost shocked at how quickly the film flew by for me. Whenever I’d peek at my player, I’d feel surprised at how much of the movie had passed. This is a quick 144 minutes.
From top to bottom, I find a lot to like in Casino Royale and very little to criticize. It was easily the best Bond flick in years and it accomplished the daunting task of reworking the series.
The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus B
Casino Royale appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a largely appealing presentation.
Sharpness almost always seemed strong. A smidgen of softness impacted some wider shots, but those elements occurred infrequently, so the majority of the flick looked detailed and well-defined.
I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws failed to create any distractions.
In keeping with its gritty vibe, Royale went with a fairly subdued palette. At times it showed richer tones, especially in the glamorous Casino Royale setting. However, colors usually looked a bit low-key and pale, which kept with the flick’s design.
Blacks appeared dense and tight, while shadows seemed clear and smooth. Overall, the image satisfied.
Matters worked even better with the terrific DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Casino Royale, and the movie offered a consistently vivid soundfield. Of course, the various action sequences brought the movie to life the best.
I especially liked the dramatic scene at the Miami Airport, as various elements formed a dynamic setting. The rest of the movie also fleshed out the environment to a satisfying degree, and this was a good five-channel soundscape.
Audio quality also seemed positive. Speech came across as natural and crisp, with no edginess or other issues. Music appeared vivid and dynamic, and effects fell into the same category.
Those elements sounded accurate and full, and I noticed no distortion or other problems. The audio worked very well for the movie.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the 2008 Collector’s Edition DVD? Audio appeared broader and more dynamic, whereas visuals were tighter and smoother. The Blu-ray became a definite upgrade.
Many of the CE DVD’s extras appear here, and we get an audio commentary with producer Barbara Broccoli, production designer Peter Lamont, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, costume designer Lindy Hemming, cinematographer Phil Méheux, screenwriters Paul Haggis, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, casting director Debbie McWilliams, editor Stuart Baird, composer David Arnold, executive producers Anthony Waye and Callum McDougall, 2nd unit director Alexander Witt, stunt coordinator Gary Powell, assistant producer David G. Wilson and Eon Productions VP of Marketing Anne Bennett.
The chat looks at visual design and cinematography, score and title song, set design and locations, various effects, stunts and action, script and story, reinventing the Bond franchise, costumes and editing, the film’s marketing, and some other notes.
Some may not like the edited/compiled format, but honestly, no other method would work with so many participants. Even if you packed all 17 people into one room, the result would be chaotic.
As it stands, the track flows well and provides a wealth of great Royale knowledge. All the participants throw in some good info, though I especially like Hemming's thoughts about the various costumes. Overall, this turns into a strong piece.
Becoming Bond runs 26 minutes, 18 seconds as we hear from Campbell, Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, McWilliams, screenwriters Purvis, Wade, Paul Haggis, Powell, stunt double Ben Cooke, and actors Daniel Craig, Caterino Murino, Jeffrey Wright, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Sebastien Foucan, and Mads Mikkelsen.
While the title of the show implies a focus on Craig’s performance, “Becoming” really acts as a general “making of” piece. The program does give us a few glimpses of the Craig-specific side but those don’t dominate.
Instead, it goes into various production components. Though not as comprehensive as I’d like – and presented in a somewhat scattershot manner – “Becoming” provides a decent overview.
James Bond: For Real fills 23 minutes, 34 seconds. It features Craig, Powell, Wilson, Foucan, Cooke, Green, Corbould, Witt, art director Peter Francis, freerunners John Kirr and Curtis Small, stunt driver Adam Kirley, second unit special effects floor supervisor Ian Lowe, and second unit assistant director Terry Madden.
“Real” examines the movie’s various stunt sequences. We learn of location choices and the nuts and bolts of many difficult scenes. The show goes into the elements with appropriate detail and allows us to get a good look at this side of the production.
Fun fact you won’t learn from this disc: Foucan performed as part of Madonna’s troupe during her 2006 Confessions Tour.
We also find a music video. Created for Chris Cornell’s theme song “You Know My Name”, it presents a mix of movie clips and shots of a lip-synching Cornell.
We also get a minor spy story that involves Cornell, but it doesn’t take much of the piece’s time. The song’s decent, but this is a forgettable video.
Four Deleted Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 32 seconds. These include “Rescue and Recovery” (2:40), “Squandering Government Funds” (0:38), “Cricket Pavilion” (2:53) and “Gettler Raises Bond’s Suspicions” (1:21).
If you expect anything memorable here, forget it. The clips really just pad out existing scenes in a minor way. They don’t add much.
The Road to Casino Royale goes for 26 minutes, 35 seconds and includes notes from Michael G. Wilson, Broccoli, Wade, Purvis, Haggis, Campbell, USC School of Cinematic Arts Professor Rick Jewell, James Bond: The Legacy co-author John Cork, film and television professor Jonathan Kuntz, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr., Easy Riders and Raging Bulls author Peter Biskind, former radio promotion directors Mel Phillips and Harvey Mednick, and 1950s Bond girl actor Linda Christian.
“Road” looks at the source novel, its earlier adaptations, and its laborious path to the screen in 2006.
Usually background material of the sort examined in “Road” would be zipped through in about three minutes during a broader Royale documentary.
The fact “Road” gets almost half an hour to dig into adaptation issues makes it much more enjoyable. “Road” gives us a terrific look at the winding path the source followed, and it proves quite valuable.
For the 21-minute, 16-second Ian Fleming’s Incredible Creation, we hear from Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Haggis, Campbell, Wade, Purvis, Cork, The Life of Ian Fleming author John Pearson, Ian Fleming’s foreign sales agent Peter Janson-Smith, Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond author Andrew Lycett, CIA Museum founding curator Linda McCarthy, Fleming friend “Oatsie” Leiter Charles, The Cambridge Spies author Verne Newton, former CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz, and authors Barry Eisler, Ken Follett and Jeffrey Deaver.
“Creation” discusses author Fleming and the origins of both Bond and the novel Casino Royale. Like “Road”, “Creation” delves into its subject well.
We get a good feel for Fleming as well as the elements that influenced Bond. Expect another fine program here.
Next comes James Bond in the Bahamas. In this 24-minute, 17-second piece, we find comments from Michael G. Wilson, McDougal, Purvis, Wade, Waye, Campbell, Lamont, Broccoli, Witt, Cork, Kerzner International Resorts VP Special Events Michelle Wiltshire, Bahama Film Commission’s Craig A. Woods, hotelier Jerry Inzerillo, Royal Bahamas Defense Force’s Lt. Stephen Rolle, filmmaker Gavin McKinney, stunt double Michelle Cove, diver Stuart Cove, relatives of developer Huntington Hartford Columbus, Sibilla and Carletto O’Donnell, Thunderball director of underwater engineering Jordan Klein, Thunderball/You Only Live Twice underwater crew Tony Hill, Buena Vista Restaurant owner Stan Bocus, and Albany House’s Jason Callender.
Based on its title, I figured “Bahamas” would focus on the parts of Royale shot in that location. While it does look at some of that material, it also shows us all of the other Bahamian spots used in the Bond series over the decades. That gives it a nice historical perspective and makes it more interesting than the standard “on location” piece.
Ian Fleming: Secret Road to Paradise fills 24 minutes, 29 seconds with comments from Inzerillo, McDougall, Broccoli, Cork, Klein, McKinney, Lamont, Lycett, Pearson, Charles, Hill, Wiltshire, McWilliams, Director General of Heritage for the Bahamas Dr. Gail Saunders, Huntington Hartford’s daughter Juliet, Fleming friend Ivar Bryce’s stepdaughter Nuala Pell, and cousin Janet Milford Haven, Bryce friend Patricia Neal, and actor Diane Hartford.
“Paradise” bears a definite resemblance to “Bahamas”, as it follows some similar topics. However, it delves more heavily into Fleming’s associates and shows us how they influenced the Bond series. This becomes another solid show.
During the 23-minute, 20-second Death In Venice, we discover observations from Craig, Green, Michael G. Wilson, Wade, Purvis, Waye, Campbell, Corbould, Lamont, Powell, art director (Venice) Peter Francis, miniatures unit art director supervisor James Hambidge, and miniature supervisor Steve Begg.
After the last two programs, “Death” gives us a more traditional behind the scenes featurette. It takes us to the Italian locations and also shows us effects created to complement the sequence. This show isn’t as insightful as its two predecessors, but it delivers the goods in the way it details the film’s climactic sequence.
What does the Blu-ray lose from the CE DVD? It drops an audio commentary and a few featurettes. These seem like pretty substantial losses so it’s a shame they disappear here.
The Bond franchise takes a darker path with 2006’s Casino Royale. It commits to a harsher reality and turns into one of the series’ most satisfying entries. The Blu-Ray presents very good picture and audio along with an appealing collection of supplements, even though the disc loses materials from an earlier DVD. Despite those missing components, this turns into a solid release for a strong film.
Footnote: a Blu-ray edition of the 2008 Collector’s Edition came out back then but it seems to be out of print now.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of CASINO ROYALE