So I managed to use some serious capital from Serena being a dirty stop-out (she passed her exams and is now a Fellow of the College of Emergency Medicine) and buggered off to see Casino Royale by myself.
The cinema was a little quiet (an early showing) so myself and three others settled down to a "bit of bond".
You can break Casino Royale down into three parts. The beginning is vintage Bond: Action, Girls, Fast Cars and some good Bond / M interplay (no Q in this film). The middle section is new ground for Bond, being all about characters (specifically Bond, Vesper and Le Chiffre) and works really well. I though Daniel Craig and Eva Green had real chemistry and that Mads Mikkelsen's bad guy routine was nicely vulnerable.
Finally we come to the last segment. Here we break the golden rule of films and novels... new characters with no back story just thrown into the mix. It doesn't work. The final set piece of action is no where near as good as the free running at the start of the film and the plot twists are telegraphed with big "TWIST COMING" signs.
There is some violence in the film and it deserves its 12A certificate. I would like to see a Director's Cut with the original 15 certificate version released on DVD.
Is there something for the ladies? Most definitely! I am seriously jealous of Daniel Craig's physique and the female characters are all strong enough to more than hold their own against Bond. The girls will love the torture sequence too (trust me).
I really enjoyed this film. Caterina Murino was excellent as Solange (as were most of the bit parts), although Ivana Milicevic as Le Chiffre's girlfriend Valenka should sue the art director and costume designer for making her look ugly!
The ending did spoil the whole package but I reckon that the franchise is heading back on track and I look forward to seeing what the producers can come up with for the next outing.
Overall I give the film 7/10. (9/10 if you leave before the last 1/2 hour!)
PS Gillian - please take Gareth to see this film! You will enjoy it and it will stop Gareth sending me abusive texts! Plus think of all the "chick flick" capital you will earn! There are lots of Jude Law films coming out soon!