One of the bigger movie surprises of last summer, Casino Royale exceeded all expectations in both quality and ticket sales. Daniel Craig emerged as the new face of a franchise and the best James Bond since Sean Connery. Proving that his previous Bond directorial effort, Goldeneye, the last enjoyable Bond film, was no fluke, Martin Campbell helmed one of the finer James Bond movies ever produced. The harrowing action scenes and beautiful locales amped up my enthusiasm for the DVD release.
Without even reading the back of the case, I ripped off the shrinkwrap and inserted the disc, eager to listen to the commentary. Except there is no commentary!
A movie with such exciting, intricate scenes really needs one. Also, discussions among the screenwriters and director about the differences between the movie and book would have been very interesting. My only hope is for a future expanded special edition.
The second disc contains four special features (five if you count the trailers for other movies): "Becoming Bond," "James Bond For Real," "Bond Girls Are Forever (2006)," and the Chris Cornell music video for "You Know My Name." "Becoming Bond," a breezy type of feature now typical on most DVDs, recounts the search for the 6th James Bond and the ensuing media frenzy.
Far more interesting, "James Bond For Real" reveals the secrets behind the dazzling stunts. The documentary offers fascinating tidbits on the new sport of free running, amply demonstrated at the beginning of the movie by the sport's inventor Sebastien Foucan, plus excellent behind-the-scenes footage of almost every stunt. Some effort should have been made to incorporate this information within the feature film, similar to The Matrix DVD's white rabbit.
Originally produced as an AMC special, "Bond Girls Are Forever (2006)" presents a surprising insightful and entertaining look at the history and world of the Bond Girl. Writer, producer, and host Maryam d'Abo, a former Bond Girl herself, interviewed several key players from the Bond films including, Ursula Andress, Jill St. John, Honor Blackman, Jane Seymour, and Judi Dench about what it means to portray a Bond Girl and the impact upon their lives and careers. A very well conceived and rendered documentary, "Bond Girls Are Forever (2006)" could have been longer.
The finest James Bond film in over three decades, Casino Royale deserves a better DVD treatment. The special features, while not bad, failed to enhance the enjoyment of the original film and the deplorable lack of a commentary is inexcusable. The movie itself belongs on your shelf, just don't expect much from the extras.