Daniel Craig bares his acting chops in Casino Royale.
Casino Royale: Collector's Edition (MGM, 2006) D: Martin Campbell, w/ Daniel Craig, Eva Green. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNNNN
Here's the upgrade you've been waiting for if you were disappointed by the extras on Casino Royale's original March 2007 release.
The disc-one crew commentary tells a fascinating tale of problems met and solved, interspersed with small lessons in filmmaking, weaving together concise remarks by cinematographer, producers, writers, costume designer, production designer, stunt and effects chiefs and editor.
Disc two includes the original extras: a couple of not-bad making-of docs and a TV special on Bond girls over the years. It's most interesting because of stars Daniel Craig (Bond) and Eva Green (Vesper, the good girl), whose absence from the rest of the set suggests that an even grander edition will be coming along someday. Those Bond people know how to milk their franchise.
Disc three's four docs take us through the elements in Ian Fleming's life that led to the novel, its subsequent legal entanglements, the importance of the Bahamas to Fleming and the Bond movies and some Bahamian history. It's a rich journey through a world of odd characters.
The movie itself is highly rewatchable for its mix of spectacular action and drama. Bond, at the start of his career, is not yet the super-spy he will become. He suffers physically and emotionally, which lets Craig strut his considerable acting chops. He's well matched by Danish star Mads Mikkelsen as the terrorist financier he must defeat in a high-stakes poker game and by Green as the enigmatic treasury official who controls his purse strings.
EXTRAS Disc one: director and producer commentary, crew commentary. Widescreen. English, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles. Disc two: making-of doc, stunt doc, leading ladies doc. Disc three: four docs interweaving Fleming, the novel, Bond and the Bahamas; three effects scene docs; filmmaker profiles; deleted scenes. Both discs widescreen; English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, Japanese subtitles. Booklet.