Bond… James Bond. Yes, my introductory might be cheesy, but Skyfall is far from it. The film opens with a brilliant scene over turkey as MI6 agents James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Eve (Naomie Harris) assist on a mission to recover a computer hard drive stolen from a murdered MI6 agent that contains details of almost all undercover NATO agents in terrorist organizations. Bond and Eve chase the killer, mercenary Patrice (Ola Rapace), and attempt to recover the disk. While fighting Patrice, Bond is accidentally shot by Eve and is later considered “missing, presumed killed”.
A few months later, the British government is upset with MI6 for losing the list; specifically with M (Judi Dench). She is told that she’ll be allowed to retire but she refuses to leave till the matter is resolved, so she returns to HQ to work on it but as she arrives, there’s an explosion. In the meantime, Bond, who is not dead, has been laying low. When he learns of what happened, he returns and M tasks him with finding the one who has the information. He eventually learns that the man, who has it, is someone from M’s past and who has it in for her.
Being a huge Bond fan I have been waiting for the day that a film would bring back the true feel and elegant touch of the man we all know and love. 50 years after Ian Fleming’s incarnation of 007, Skyfall breathes light into a dying franchise. Ditching the Quantum story arc from the previous two films — Skyfall doesn’t disappoint. The story is deeper and more emotional, the intrigue is more sophisticated and feels sharp. Right from the start Adele sings the opening theme song sounding like a classic, perhaps more traditional Bond theme – she was the perfect choice.
Director Sam Mendes did a beautiful job filming despite not having prior experience directing action flicks – you would never have known — with beautiful sequences involving explosions, helicopters, trains, plans, and automobiles (John Candy reference). Mendes pulls off the action but with the help of cinematographer Roger Deakins, who provides the film with elegance and polish, including a number of shots that are so eye-catching, it’s like art work.
Daniel Craig does a brilliant job as James Bond. Despite what some may think of his appearance; he delivers taking the bond we all know and love and making him whole by touching on Bond’s heritage, and personal issues. For the first time we get to see a side of Bond that shows true weakness, emotion, and grace while continuing the traditional sense of Bond humour, he is well rounded depicting a real human being.
The real show stopper in this film is Javier Bardem as villain Raoul Silva. From the moment we first meet him slowly walking towards the camera, calmingly telling his story, Bardem is brilliant and owns every scene he’s in. Silva is a freakish, violent force of nature — masterfully menacing his emotional angst is actually explored which makes him an adversary deserving much respect throughout the film.
The “Bond Girls” have moved from 60’s hipsters to sophisticated beauties. Eve (Naomie Harris) provides a welcome bit of sass while Bérénice Marlohe adds much beauty but stops short of sliding into sex-object territory. While the Bond Babes are must in every film, they are given little screentime and are merely there for support and to help the story move along.
When watching a Bond film we expect action, and babes, but we also expect gadgets. Agent Q (Ben Whishaw) returns as an electronics genius with plenty of nerdy quirks, and intellectually ideas, but unfortunately the gadgets in this film are far and few. The film revolves around spy satellites and internet technology over old-skool bond tech.
Although I’m sure there are things in the film that some diehards of the franchise are willing to point out, they are small and not worth mentioning. If you are a fan of James Bond, Skyfall has it all. It has the action for the action lovers; it has the story for the story lovers and everything in-between. Above all Skyfall brings an emotional honesty to the franchise, which is why I give Skyfall 9/10
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“Skyfall” is rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking. Running time: 145 minutes. Now Playing.