Due to the overwhelming success of my initial Movies Project, I decided to do a second round for 2012. This time around I put a greater emphasis on directors I am not familiar with, but I also tried to compile a mix of different genres and eras. This will be an ongoing project with the finish date being sometime this year.
Casino Royale 
Director: Martin Campbell
Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green and Judi Dench
Runtime: 144 minutes
It seems there is always one startling revelation with these movie projects. Most people couldn’t believe that I hadn’t seen Back to the Future in last year’s edition; this year, the big surprise is my lack of experience with James Bond. Somehow, despite 22 entries into the series, Mr. Bond has eluded me. I feel like I may have seen all or part of Goldeneye when I was much younger, but my memory is foggy at best. I was unsure of where to start, but the seemingly unanimous praise for the fairly recent Casino Royale sent me in that direction.
Let’s just say I want to see more of Bond.
Casino Royale marks Daniel Craig’s first appearance as 007, and the action gets started in a hurry. An early scene shows a frantic foot chase through a Madagascar construction site, including a run up some staggeringly tall ladders that gave me a case of vertigo. Seriously, it was a freakin’ thrill ride, and from that point on I was hooked.
The movie follows the early days of Bond’s career as Agent 007. His first mission is to find and stop Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelson), a banker who funds terrorist organizations, from winning a high-stakes poker tournament in Montenegro. In this instance, high stakes equals a $10 million buy-in. Le Chiffre is something of a poker aficionado, so this isn’t an easy task.
Along the way, Bond seduces a married man’s wife, stops a terrorist attack at the Miami International Airport, and falls in love with a stunningly beautiful (and intelligent) Treasury agent, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). Oh yeah, he is also brutally tortured and has a near-death experience. All in a day’s work, right?
Casino Royale is a wild ride, and I wish I had been able to experience this intense adrenaline rush on the big screen. Daniel Craig is on top of his game here, effortlessly stepping in to play one of cinema’s biggest names, and the famous Bond women are phenomenal. I could have done without the stop-start double ending, but I liked the way it set things up for future entries. This movie is a lot of fun, and more importantly, it has me interested in seeing more from the franchise.
So, Bond fans, where do I go next? I want to see Quantum Solace despite hearing mixed reviews, but what else would you recommend?