Casino Royale Reviews
All of this is so painfully obvious in the final cut of the film. To be blunt, it's a terribly crafted film. Despite being a huge tonal shift from the rest of the Bond films, the film starts out well enough: the plot is a reasonable kind of absurd, and the plot of a retired James Bond being forced out of retirement to fight SMERSH (no SPECTRE here) is admittedly a cool premise for a Bond film. However, as the film progresses, it slowly loses all cohesion as characters are introduced and thrown out of the narrative with no explanation and plot points become more interested in being absurd than logical. At a point, everything becomes so disconnected, and the plot literally becomes nearly impossible to follow. At this same point, all the clever satire the film had established in the first act, largely dealing with the themes of sex and womanizing in the franchise, is thrown out in favor of joke after joke that never land. Running over two hours, it certainly outstays its welcome, and the ending becomes a breath of fresh air: not for the way it actually concludes, but the mere fact that such a nightmarish production has finally ended.
Well, the Burt Bacharach music is nice.
The Nostalgia Critic once said to review a bad comedy is one of the toughest things to do (and so is making a comedy) because you can only go, "That isn't funny", so many times before you get up and leave the theater. This movie is one of the worst examples of comedy, and they had the cajones to soil James Bond while they were at it.
First things first; before I get into the review, I have to give this movie a special stance called [[Echo Synth]] THE WAGGING FINGER OF SHAME [[end echo mod]]. If you watched Ebert & Roeper's review of the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror, you would know that they awarded this to movies that the studios were too embarrassed to screen in advance for film critics. The 1967 Casino Royale was not screened for critics.
Anyway, the opening theme to the movie IS pretty catchy, but some of the music does feel inappropriate.
The opening scene of the movie feels disjointed, and the scenes in the castle feel even worse with overheavy accents, bad dancing, and pointless scenes until everyone starts falling down. Are they dead or unconscious? Who cares? And even that has no point.
Bond is one of the most famous womanizers in every other movie, but this spoof turned him into an old prude and drastically altered his character. This is James Bond in name only; even Austin Powers makes a better 007 that this one does, and that's saying a lot.
It only gets worse. The villain group, a take on SMERSH, has a cheesy battle map with a guy running the place named Dr. Noah, who turns out to be Bond's nephew, Jimmy, a character played by the not-British Woody Allen when the real Bond and the top imposter are played by Pink Panther's David Niven and Peter Sellers, and this is a character that's only mentioned once prior to his reveal at the end of the movie. SMERSH is behind everything, which leads to Sir James Bond taking over MI6 and the heavily-accented people who run it, and hiring a bunch of imposters, including his illegitimate daughter, whose mother is Mata Hari, the World War spy. She has a good intro scene, but that's it.
Her mission in Berlin is where if you were taking the movie seriously up to that point, you stop here, because the bidding scene didn't seem to have much purpose, or any they made clear. The main imposter Bond, Evelyn Tremble, gets himself into Casino Royale and his game with the only major villain from the book, Le Chiffe, played by Orson Welles, the second horror vet to take the role after Peter Lorre did in an early 50's TV movie. This version of the character is a way-too affable magician and not a spy, Soviet or SMERSH agent, or even a good gambler; he's cheating, and while we do know how he's cheating, it's not used against him, and he and the fake Bond are killed in his little "torture machine" which Tex Avery uses.
Eventually, the bad guys kidnap Bond's daughter, bringing the real Bond to the casino and into SMERSH's headquarters; Jimmy Bond is poisoned with a pill that will blow the place sky high at this point, and, while the good guys do get the right idea of actually leaving, a brawl that turns the casino into a ridiculous and childish Cowboys and Indians game just. Stops. Them. Cue Jim burping 400 times, cue the building blowing up and wiping out the cast. The world is saved, but that's an anticlimatic and ridiculous way to end the whole thing.
This movie is filled with all the cliches of the Bond series (after only 4 films with a 5th to follow in 2 months, at that) played badly. And I just remembered, M supposedly died at the beginning, but this movie is written so badly, they never explain it and thought to trust us to take their word for it. There are several other bad explanations, and a lot of the conversations have no emotion to them. As for the pacing and feel, the movie starts very slow, and just devolves into an insane concoction of action right out of Tex Avery. Makes you wonder what drugs the makers were doing. I wasn't expecting much, but if you're going to use Bond, do something that's not a poor-man's version of Pink Panther. The special effects are bad, some things in the film, like the U.F.O., were not dealt with in a manner to where we're supposed to laugh or take it seriously, and the dialogue can be laughable. It says a lot when the Austin Powers movies can show more emotion and, for their ridiculous plots, be more believable.
There are two good things about this film. The title track from Herb Albert is pretty catchy, and I kinda liked the scene with the introduction of Bond's daughter, Mata Bond. There was some good to decent choreography there. The rest of the film is a Frankenstein's Monster patchwork of scenes, and one thing that should tip you off to this being bad: there are 5 directors credited. Outside of the music, I really can't remember much; this version of Casino Royale is sadly an enjoyment-free dead zone, and it convinced the guys behind the real James Bond series to fight hard against something like this happening again, which set the stage for some nasty legal work that was only settled for good two years ago. This movie's from 1967; my father was in high school.
I cannot recommend this one at all; it makes no sense, and it's shoddily edited and directed. It's a very poor version of one of the Roger Moore films, and those are still somewhat competent. THIS is one of the biggest turkeys ever crafted in Hollywood, and I just know, when The Nostalgia Critic gets to Bond movies, which I see happening with a new one coming in November, this movie will be one of the movies he reviews.