- Starring: Daniel Craig (Casino Royale), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Naomie Harris (28 Days Later) and more.
- Directed by: Sam Mendes
- Synopsis: “Daniel Craig returns as James Bond and finds his loyalty to M (Judi Dench) tested when her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack from an ex-agent, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.” (-Official Site)
- Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.
Bond is back…and in style! After the less-than stellar Quantum of Solace (which didn’t really imprint itself on anyone’s memory for anything amazing), Skyfall gives audiences resurrected reason to enjoy watching the films based on the Ian Fleming character James Bond once again. (Hit the jump to read my thoughts).
In an era when so many actors seek to avoid being typecast and recognized as one particular character, Daniel Craig has embodied and accepted the “James Bond” persona quite impressively and, interestingly enough, his name seems to be synonymous with the character. So much so, that people often forget his pre-James Bond roles in films such as Road to Perdition, Layer Cake and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It’s nice to see an actor give their all to a particular role multiple times.
Director Sam Mendes brought Craig back for a third time to play the British secret agent in Skyfall and it is a good thing he did. Settling into the part, Craig works with Judi Dench and a cast of new additions to the franchise and the mixture is nothing short of genius. Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris and more all work together to deliver this adrenaline-pumping spy flick that has several “Bond” moments.
While a little disappointed in the performance of a few (namely Bérénice Marlohe whose role as a Bond girl, is less memorable than even, dare I say, the hokey inclusion of Denise Richards in The World Is Not Enough), the cast really helps bring this story together as we weave back and forth in following the storylines of M, Bond and a new and sinister villain played by the impeccable Javier Bardem in another “villain with a bad hairstyle” role.
So, what DIDN’T I like?
- Skyfall borrows heavily from other films such as Goldeneye, Bourne Identity, and Mission Impossible in plots, ideas and settings which annoyed me a little bit expected more originality out of the Bond franchise. For sake of spoilers, I won’t go into further detail, but if you’ve seen it, then you know what I mean. But, that’s not entirely a bad thing…all three of those movies were fun, so, Mendes was smart to at least “borrow” from them as opposed to Moonraker, xXx and Johnny English. So, it works, but still a source of disappointment.
- The Bond girls. Perhaps Mendes was trying to get away from the Bond girl use, but something in this one made them seem even less inconsequential and more gimmicky than in past Bond flicks.
- The psuedo-importance of certain aspects of the film/story. If you watch the movie you will find that things such as the “For Your Palm Only” pistol is cool, but in the end is almost completely unimportant and is not used nearly as much as past Q-brand devices. And there’s the matter of an all-important hard drive that somehow, conveniently, gets forgotten about halfway through the film. smh
- Some of the scenes that seemed to forget the use of common sense. Perhaps I am being too critical here with this point, but there is such as thing as calling for backup. I’ll just leave it at that. (You see it, and then let me know in the comment section.)
But, what DID I like?
- The characters played by Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, etc. Oh, and Javier Bardem. 😉 Each of these actors played their parts extraordinarily well. You wouldn’t rightly know that the newcomers to the franchise were indeed newcomers because they all act at a particular level that increases the appeal of the film altogether.
- The action. Glad to see Bond in action how we expect to see him. Especially in another impressive opening sequence!
- Daniel Craig. He brings the certain charm, wit and style that is expected of 007 to the screen in his signature method. His interactions with the other players in this film really work. He proves, much like James Bond must himself, that he is not too old to do the job!
- The tribute to previous Bond films, slogans, gadgets and names/characters.
- The humanity brought into this 23rd installment reminds viewers that Bond is more than just a British spy with a gun. He’s an aging Bond with the loyalty of a puppy dog that has unknown history as well. That part of the appeal of Bond is his mysteriousness. Mendes plays with that a little bit in an entertaining fashion.
- The music. Of course, I must mention the music because it immediately transports you to the environment of a Bond flick and that adds to the experience greatly.
- The locations. So much gorgeous cinematography pays homage to London and the UK as opposed to previous films being all over the world. A nice change of pace.
Ultimately, this is a major upgrade from several Bond movies of the past (not just Quantum of Solace, which I know some people still like). But, Casino Royale still beats it. CR had all of the elements expected from a great Bond film. Don’t get me wrong, Skyfall is good, as a matter of fact, it is very good. But it’s not a perfect 007 movie as it lacks in the areas mentioned above. It is intelligent, thrilling, compelling and interesting. It also has a few hokey parts like all of the Bond movies of old, but it doesn’t earn the title of “Best Bond Movie Ever” from me.
I hate to compare this to previous films, but it simply cannot be avoided. There are 22 previous movies in the 50 year old franchise. It simply is inevitable. The filmmakers know it, the actors know it, the fans know it. Skyfall was not a bad movie, but it was still a letdown. I’ll say this for it, it took some liberties that are well-received and gives more credibility to Daniel Craig as he will continue to carry the torch of the James Bond character for Bond 24 and 25.
Score: 4 out of 5 stars for Skyfall
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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer
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