Why Casino Royale is Better Than Skyfall


Why Casino Royale is better than Skyfall

I loved Skyfall.

I’ve seen a lot of these articles written lately, in argument that either Casino Royale or Skyfall is a better film, that rely on bashing whichever they think is inferior in comparisons with their favorite. I’m not going to do that. Skyfall was an incredible film with incredibly shot action sequences, sharp dialogue, amazing introspection into the lives and history of our favorite characters, and one of best, most sinister, most entertaining Bond villains ever.

But Casino Royale is better, and here’s why.

skyfall2

He’s sick of your bull****.

Bond is back

When fans of series look back at the moment that saved the franchise, Casino Royale will be the crowning achievement that allowed Bond to transition to today’s smarter movie goer. Gone is the cheesy dialogue, the crazy gadgets, the silly set-pieces (who thought parasailing on a glacier was a good idea, ever)? Skyfall’s new (and brilliantly acted) Q even mocks the exploding pen from Goldeneye to cement the franchise’s evolution. Bond now delivers style WITH substance, and we can thank Casino Royale for that.

A new Bond. A darker, more gritty story. A tame (but complex) villain. And a reboot that finds a newbie Bond making his first kill. This highlighted conversations as much as it did action sequences, and established a more realistic tone to the film universe. Bond was running out of steam fast, and we have Casino Royale and Daniel Craig to thank for its resurgence.

Jellyfish.

Jellyfish.

An evolution of character

Poor Pierce Brosnan; it wasn’t his fault he’ll go down as one of the more cheesy, underdeveloped 007’s in the franchise’s history. The writing they were feeding the man was downright terrible, turning our beloved Bond into a caricature of a character.

Real men play poker in the dark. And with guns.

Real men play poker in the dark. And with guns.

Casino Royale gets things back on track by starting at the core of the series. Not the villains, or the Bond girls, or even the plot; rather, Bond himself. By tackling Bond’s first true love, and the tragedy that follows, we cut to the core of why Bond is the way he is, and what led to the degradation of his soul. He is forced to endure torture that leads him to establish a relationship based on something other than sex. We his mindset change from a man in love to a shell who can no longer trust anyone. And, better yet, we see it in one fully realized, focused film. What’s great about Casino Royale is the developers knew the story they wanted to tell, and no scene is wasted during the film’s 2 hour plus run time to tell it. Which leads me to my next point.

Every single person in this picture is hot.

Every single person in this picture is hot.

Memorable scenes

The classic, brutal, black and white opening. The thrilling parkour chase. The talk on the train. The fight in the stairwell. A moment in the shower. Defibrillating in the car. Dodging Vesper in the street. The torture. The final sequence in the elevator. And a handful of others I’m sure I’m missing. Casino Royale is a film completely constructed of dynamic, poignant, memorable scenes that leave an impact on the viewer and, more importantly, shed light on the characters. Even something as innocuous as the parkour scene reveals important characteristics of this new Bond — his brutality, his perseverance, and his intelligence. He lacks both the finesse and athleticism of his target, and yet still manages to track him down. This is the Bond we were missing out on. If you prefer the karate chop Bond from yesteryear, then there’s nothing I can do for you.

Confession: I never really understood the whole "finger licking" thing.

Confession: I never really understood the whole “finger licking” thing.

Summary

Again, I’ll say, Skyfall is an amazing film, and one that manages to look forward as well as it gives nods to the past and acknowledges its age. We see Bond in a light that we never have before, and yet a new generation of adventures is established by the film’s end. I’ll even admit that, from a technical angle, the film might even be better constructed. But if we’re taking into account importance, both for the character and the franchise, Casino Royale is the superior film in every way, and paved the way for the exploits of this new Bond.

At the end of the day, both films are exceptional, and people tend to forget how much better Quantum of Solace was than the previous generation of Bond films (I’m looking at you, Die Another Day). Let’s hope that we can continue to have these debates of which Bond film was better far into the future, as Daniel Craig’s Bond continues to solidify itself as one of the best, most iconic film series ever.

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7 responses to “Why Casino Royale is Better Than Skyfall

  1. for me it’s casino royale. i feel bond should be more like a spy thriller than an action film, i think daniel craig is perfectly capable of doing it too.

    • I…mostly agree. To me, Casino Royale was still an amazing action film, and the set pieces like the free run and the fight on the airport runway were incredible. On the other hand, I didn’t actually care for many of the action scenes in Skyfall, save for the finale.

  2. I agree Casino Royale, has everything character development, the action, a vunrable Bond, things we havent seen before. You have to remember when Ian Fleming wrote the character, he was portrayed as a man who did bleed, and fought his way out of tough situations, not some kind of invincible spy.Both Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig portray this. Even the great Sean Connery played it too much a man with an air of invincibility. This wasn’t the character in the books. Skyfall has wonderful cinemaphotography with beautifully shot scenes. But it lacks in certain areas where Casino Royale doesn’t have many flaws. The hard drive stolen in Skyfall, seems to take a back seat as it’s meant to be the key to it, and almost gets forgotten about. The short time Severine gets almost the sacrificial lamb! It’s still a great film, but for me Casino Royale is the clear winner

  3. Yep. CR for me too for a variety of reasons – the main being that DC portrayed the character so well. A man full of himself, confident to the point of arrogance and cockiness, and both muscled & fit. And a man at the very earliest stages of the man he was about to become as he is sculptured by life and experiences. Whom of us hasn’t been there?

  4. You’re all high. The writer of this article and everyone to comment in agreement. Skyfall kicks Casino Royale’s ass in everyway. From character developement to story line to action to fx. The villian was better, Bond himself was more humanized, (imo) and how about M’s performane? The Dame was awesome! The new Q was too cool and Moneypenny was great! ‘Royale was darn good, but gotta go with Skyfall!

    • Seriously drose1? The villain in Skyfall was laughable. I couldn’t take him seriously at all. It was like was trying to go for Heath Ledger’s Joker with the maniacal exuberance but failed miserably. Don’t get me started on all of the stupid quips and snarky comments in Skyfall which fell flat on their face.

      There was so much useless dialogue in Skyfall, and Bond acted out of character innumerable times. Why would Bond insist on telling M that he will get a hotel? Just so she can quip about him not sleeping at her place that night? The Bond from Casino Royale would have said nothing. He was stoic, and didn’t say anything superfluous.

      You claim the effects were better? The train crashing through the tunnels looked like a cheap ’90s ride from Universal Studios. The flashlights off in the distance at the end of the film looked NOTHING like real flashlights in a dark field at night. The over the top explosion of the mansion when the helicopter crashed reminded me of a cheesy Die Hard film. I half expected Bruce Willis to come flying out of the window with a machine gun and a cigar before high-fiving Bond and slaughtering 40 bad guys who appeared out of nowhere.

      The acting was way beneath the level of Casino Royale. The kid they got to play Q was not just excessively nerdy to the point of being annoying – he was also a poor actor. The disparity between the good actors (Judy Dench or Ralph Fiennes) and the bad actors (Javier Bardem – yes, Javier Bardem – the man who hammed it up big time and failed to make a convincing delivery at every turn) just made me uncomfortable.

      The dialogue was inferior, the action was inferior (nothing in Skyfall trumps the parkour scene which started Casino Royale), the acting was inferior, the effects were inferior, and the amount you were forced to suspend your disbelief on Skyfall was ridiculous.. I’ll admit that the underwater scene in Casino Royale was way too drawn out. There’s simply no way Bond had that much air in his lungs… But I was left scratching my head constantly throughout Skyfall…

      So, Silva was so smart that he knew what MI6 would do at every turn, but he was too stupid to realize that Bond would pursue him and likely stop him from killing M? Bond waited until AFTER Silva shot the girl with the shot glass on her head to beat up Silva’s henchmen?

      Don’t even get me started on all of the “whippersnappers underestimate us old folks” propaganda that was tossed about like hand grenades throughout the entirety of the film. After seeing every single Bond film, my opinion on Craig’s films is this:

      Casino Royale -> 10
      Quantum of Solace -> 5
      Skyfall -> 6.5

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