There's also a limit on the length of a spy spoof one can sit through (the second Austin Powers and Richard Grieco's If Looks Could Kill being the few notable, yet guilty, exceptions). That limit tends to run about 58 minutes.
Peter Sellers proves he still had it in his turn as, yes, James Bond, in the one 007 spoof ever made (unless you count that unintentional farce Never Say Never Again). But the three (credited) writers and five directors turned Royale into an unmitigated mess, sometimes funny but often drier than dust, totally random, and just plain silly when it should be sophisticated.
Stealing the show is Orson Welles, playing Bond's nemesis at the baccarat table, but unfortunately the scenes in the titular casino are far too few and far between. Most of the film involves Bond's (David Niven) plan to create a gaggle of dummy Bonds (including the Sellers version and Woody Allen as young "Jimmy Bond") in order to throw the real enemy, SMERSH's mysterious "Dr. Noah" (this is funny?) off the scent.
Hours later, we're treated to a funny, yet long overdue ending. With a little more forethought and discipline in the editing process, Royale might have lent itself to an amusing tale. Instead we've got questionable comedy that doesn't even measure up to the jokes already present in the Bond series. Note to filmmakers: If you want to spoof something, at least make sure you're outdoing your source material on the comedy front.
The DVD features a rarely-seen early version of Casino Royale, a grainy, hour-long TV movie shot in the '50s and starring Peter Lorre in the Welles role. It's actually not bad and is worth a look for anyone really interested in checking out a more faithful version of the Bond tale.
In Theaters: Friday 17th November 2006
Box Office USA: $167.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $594.8M
Distributed by: Sony
Production compaines: United Artists, Columbia Pictures, Eon Productions, Casino Royale Productions, Stillking Films, Casino Royale, Studio Babelsberg, Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Danjaq
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 210 Rotten: 12
IMDB: 8.0 / 10
Producer: Jerry Bresler, Charles K. Feldman
Starring: Daniel Craig as James Bond, Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, Judi Dench as M, Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter, Giancarlo Giannini as René Mathis, Caterina Murino as Solange Dimitrios, Simon Abkarian as Alex Dimitrios, Isaach De Bankolé as Steven Obanno, Jesper Christensen as Mr. White, Ivana Miličević as Valenka, Tobias Menzies as Villiers, Claudio Santamaria as Carlos, Sebastien Foucan as Mollaka, Malcolm Sinclair as Dryden, Richard Sammel as Adolph Gettler, Ludger Pistor as Mendel, Joseph Millson as Carter, Darwin Shaw as Fisher, Clemens Schick as Kratt, Emmanuel Avena as Leo, Tom Chadbon as Stockbroker, Ade as Infante, Urbano Barberini as Tomelli, Tsai Chin as Madame Wu, Lazar Ristovski as Kaminofsky, Veruschka von Lehndorff as Gräfin von Wallenstein
Also starring: Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Orson Welles, Joanna Pettet, Daliah Lavi, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr, William Holden, Charles Boyer, Jerry Bresler, Wolf Mankowitz, John Law, Michael Sayers
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