It's been almost a week since I've seen the new Bond movie, Casino Royale, and I still can't figure out what I think about it. Daniel Craig is good, and he certainly has the best Bond body yet, but I do miss Pierce Brosnan's charm. As for the plot and character stuff in the movie, well, a lot of it I just didn't buy--especially once the "twist" was revealed at the end. Considering the movie was over two hours long, it was ridiculous that plot elements weren't always clear (nothing major, but just big enough that, as you walk away from the movie, you start asking all sorts of questions and find yourself more and more confused as to who was doing what and why). There were moments of dark, emotive brilliance for Bond and the Bond girl--and then a sudden confession of emotion that went "clunk" because it was too much too soon given both of their characters as established prior to that scene.
I went into this movie having heard that it was to the Bond franchise what Batman Begins was to the Batman franchise. Perhaps this raised my expectations too high and had me looking for similar elements that I loved in BB. It didn't help that all of the poker sequences felt forced and boring, which is pretty much inexcusable given the current popularity of and access to professional poker on TV. It also didn't help that we were treated to boxy graphics of men fighting and bleeding in the title sequence--by the end of it, even I was longing for the nekkid chicks in silhouette that was standard Bond issue before. And they didn't earn any points with the supreme illogic of the airport scene (given current security, as soon as there was a rogue vehicle running around the tarmac, no chance in hell they would've let a plane land, or allow a big public unveiling to proceed as planned, etc). Well, they earned points at the end of that sequence in showing Bond's reaction to the havoc he wrought.
Still, there were a lot of great moments that showed more of the culture of MI6 and the history of Bond. And the $10 movie ticket is worth it for the fabulous climactic action sequence in Venice, the way in which Bond trashes yet another MI6-issued sweet ride, and the spin on the gadgets in said car (there's really only one, and, gee, it actually makes sense for a spy to have such a toy for no good reason--and they get a whole mess of bonus points for having neat might-even-be-possible-now science presented in a believable way).
Definitely not my favorite Bond film, and I'm eager to get my hands on the DVD so I can try to figure out the plot elements that I missed, but it was good enough that I'm interested to see where they go with Bond from here.