If you’ve been working too hard this summer, you need to take a break and go rent Casino Royale, the latest James Bond movie. Have you seen it? I resisted for a long time because I wasn't sure about the new guy. I wanted to see Clive Owen in the role and my second choice would have been Hugh Jackman. And, too, the last few Bond movies have been so bad that I completely lost interest in the franchise.

Now that I’ve had a chance to see the new Bond in action, here’s my take...Clive, who? Hugh Jack-what?

I’ll just say it. Daniel Craig is the best James Bond ever. I said...ever. He is Ian Fleming's James Bond. Dark, driven and, at times, utterly vicious--the Bond that is described in both the movie and the book as ‘a blunt instrument’. This installment required a real badass with a side order of nasty and, boy, does Daniel Craig serve it up. I can’t even imagine (and don’t want to) any of the other Bond portrayers doing what he did in this movie.

Casino Royale is the beginning of Bond’s 007 career, before he became the suave, sophisticated secret agent. He’s realistic and gritty and doesn’t resort to the usual bag of silly gadgets and tricks that had begun to make the character cartoonish. And there's a pretty wonderful love story to boot. It is the love story—and the resolution—that creates the smooth, rakish Bond of the future.

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