So, just like the ads say, "Bond is back." Bond is also blonde. This bond is new is so many many ways.
First the bad news: It appears that we have gone back in time in the Bond film series. It's still modern day, but when we fade-in, James Bond is a rising agent, not yet promoted to "Double-Oh" status. This creates a continuity hole of Star Wars proportions because the new M (Dame Judie Dench) was already introduced to James Bond back in Goldeneye when she took over from the previous M (Robert Brown). They even had a wonderful moment of mutual loathing. The writers may dismiss it as something like "James Bond is a codename, too!" but I know it as an Orwellian rewriting for the purpose of making something "fresh" for the new generation, and I am not a fan of discontinuity.
Now the good news: The new Bond rocks the Casbah. For fans of the series, there is only one Bond: Sean Connery. He started it all with debonair chauvinism. Roger Moore was the comedian Bond, Timothy Dalton was the gritty no-nonsense Bond, and Pierce Brosnan was the ladies man Bond. I'm going to lead off with calling Daniel Craig the rough-and-tumble Bond.
There is more high-octane, fast-paced, bloody-knuckle action in this Bond than any other. He looks good in a tux, patronizes the ladies, and exudes ego like a leaky nuclear reactor. This Bond goes from high-stakes poker games to fist fights in a stairwell with equal ease. He thinks fast, acts faster, and constantly gets the last laugh. But probably the best part about this movie is that it's not all about how many women Bond can sleep with, invisible cars with remote control, or movie-killing lines like "I thought Christmas only came once a year." In Casino Royale, Bond's coolest toy seems to be a cell phone with more varied capabilites than a Scottie-rigged tri-corder from Star Trek.
My only real complaints, apart from the big one I listed first, is that we don't get to see Q and his chaotic workshop, and the ending does drag out a little bit.
Go see it, and you will be happy you did.
And here are my answers:
Repeat viewings? I saw it on Sunday, and I already want to see it again.
Bring a date? Bond is a man's man, but you should definitely take your lady if she's a fan.