Tuesday, March 13, 2007

DVD: Casino Royale DVD Review

Sony Pictures' two-disc release of Casino Royale shoots to kill.

Casino Royale is definitely worth owning on DVD. It's the best Bond film in years, arguably since the Connery days, and it showcases the debut of Daniel Craig as 007. The film was loved by critics and fans of the series when it hit theatres back in November and still holds a whopping 94% at Rotten Tomatoes, something not many films have accomplished.

Now, the two-disc DVD release includes the full 144 minute film (obviously) along with over 90 minutes of additional features and footage. The most significant out of the three main features is the 2006 piece shot for AMC titled Bond Girls are Forever. This 50 minute documentary examines the evolution of Bond's leading ladies over the decades. Maryam d'Abo, who played opposite Timothy Dalton's Bond as Kara Milovy in 1987's The Living Daylights, narrates the feature and talks with many Bond Girls of the past. We hear from Ursula Andress (Honey Rider, Dr. No), Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore, Goldfinger), and Maud Adams (Octopussy, Octopussy), among others. The documentary is quite interesting, shedding light on the view of Bond Girls in society and the development of power in the role, something that was absent in the early days of Bond.

Another extra worth checking out is the 26 minute Becoming Bond feature. This documentary focuses on the media reaction to the announcement of Daniel Craig as Bond and how he was able to overcome the unjust disgust fans of the series threw at him immediately after he was cast in the film. While many different people are interviewed in this piece, including director Martin Campbell, it's really a one-on-one interview with Craig.

There is also a 23 minute piece on the stunts in the film titled James Bond: For Real. Casino Royale is a gritty and mean Bond film, something we haven't seen in the past, and this documentary shows how that effect was created by some of the stunt work. This bit also talks a bit about casting free runner Sebastien Foucan in the film along with the development of the extreme sport.

The DVD also features Chris Cornell's music video for his song You Know My Name, which is featured on the film's soundtrack.

I'm happy with the Casino Royale DVD and I'm glad it's in my collection. It's a great film and these two discs have enough bonus material to provide a few hours of informational entertainment. Although, I wish the DVD had a director's commentary. I can't believe how many releases are shipping without commentary tracks recently. The Departed, The Prestige, Borat, and now Casino Royale, and that's just the past month or so. Hopefully we see (or hear) more commentaries in the near future.


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Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Casino Royale, if only to find out whether Bond's leading lady is really an equal partner and NOT a victim to be rescued. If she's a strong character, she's come a REAL long way, baby! Yay, for the Bond girls. Go get 'em, gals.

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