Is there any other catchphrase more famously known in all of movies than that? The reason being is unlike some flicks that come and go, Bond movies have been around in one form or another for decades. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that's never heard of James Bond.
Thanks to there being so many Bond movies and even a variety of actors that have played him, everybody has their personal favorite. For the longest time, mine was Roger Moore simply because that's the version I grew up with. Pierce Brosnan seemed too clean-cut to be an effective one and Timothy Dalton just seemed like a substitute filling in until a permanent hire could be found. Over the years, I've grown to appreciate Sean Connery as the quintessential 007. It wasn't his fault that he came from a time when action sequences didn't have the special effects and the choreography that they now have today.
While it still may be a bit early to tell how Daniel Craig is as the latest Bond, at least he's made a very compelling argument with "Casino Royale". This is almost like a Bond prequel. We get to see James before he became the suave debonair double-0 that we all admire. This James is much more rough around the edges. In fact, I'm hoping they keep him that way for future Bond movies if it means they're going to be as high in quality as this one was.
The first 20 minutes alone were better than any Bond movie I've ever seen in a long time. For once, a movie makes a great chase scene without having to involve cars. It reminded me of some of those Jackie Chan movies in his younger days with all the stunts they were doing in that sequence.
As part of his backstory, we get the history behind the "shaken not stirred" trademark phrase. It was pretty smooth to see how Bond finds out the hard way that there is a distinct way he should have his drink due to the line of work he's in. However, I still have never understood how either way makes a difference if you don't physically see the person making the drink in front of you with your own eyes.
"Casino Royale" is actually filled with instances where you can see Bond learning tricks of the trade as he goes along. It's obvious he's already good at what he does before he actually earns double-o status, but there are little nuances he still has to master. This flick produces many of those on-the-job training moments.
So is this really the best Bond film yet? If it's not, it is without a doubt right up there. "Casino Royale" served its purpose in both reinvigorating the Bond franchise and whetting your appetite for more yet to come.
My rating: A