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Review: Skyfall

November 12, 2012

Skyfall

  • 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.
  • Trailer:
  • Review:

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.

In conclusion:

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.

What did YOU think of Skyfall?

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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Similar Titles that I have Seen and Recommend (click title for details/review):

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Time to Vote Tuesday”: The Presidential Poll Results

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2012 4:09 pm

    You’re one of the very few who (like me) seemed to be bothered with lack of common sense from characters. I just couldn’t get over that, especially when the film was going for the realism approach. Nice review here T.

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:19 pm

      I sat there thinking throughout parts of it, Q gave him a radio and Q knows where he is going so…why is it a “Home Alone” trap without backup now? haha.

      Thank you for reading and for the kind words. Appreciate it.

      Like

  2. November 12, 2012 4:53 pm

    “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” I like how you use the phrase “Less Memorable than” and not “Worse” LOL. Richards was memorable alright. 😀

    I’ll grant you that the “Bond Girls” factor was missing here. I never thought the chemistry with Eve was sexual between tham, and he just hopped right into the shower with Marlohe, so there’s no chance to enjoy that there.

    Meanwhile though, its sad to hear this disappointed you. I’m happily leading the awesome parade for this one. 😀 Bardem was legendary, and the “borrowing” you point to was far less egregious than you say. It was top notch across the board.

    4 out of 5 is a fair grade, but with movies THIS good? It sounds like “bashing” 😉

    Like

    • November 12, 2012 5:43 pm

      Haha. Well, factors of it disappointes for sure, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit! Haha and good job picking out my differentiators btwn bond girls!

      Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:27 pm

      I know I already replied to ya Fogs’ but ima do it again.

      Someone else left a comment on this thread about Bardem that, in retrospect, I have to agree with. I, too, expect Bardem to be more sinister. (notice the use of the word “sinister” as opposed to “creepy”, because he was indeed creepy). Witht he way that Bérénice Marlohe portrayed him to be, you expect evil incarnate, and he wasn’t. He was painted out to be a mix of Nolan’s The Joker, Potter’s Voldemort, and Die Hard’s Hans Gruber, but instead was less. Just my opinion, but…I don’t think it to be a wrong one. 😀

      Still, not a bad movie at all. You saw the score. but, it was def lacking to say the most.

      Like

  3. November 12, 2012 5:22 pm

    Actually, “Casino Royale” had the parkour scene. “Quantum of Solace” began with a frenzied car chase.

    Like

    • November 12, 2012 5:41 pm

      Ooh. Thank you for the correction. I will modify that on my break. (at work). Appreciate it

      Like

  4. bdgill12 permalink
    November 12, 2012 5:39 pm

    Good review, T! I just finished my own. We gave it about the same score but I think I was more complimentary, ha! You’re spot on about the Bond Girl aspect; I didn’t address that but it’s a fair point. And definitely, there were some common sense failures a couple of times but I felt they were easy to overlook, which is about all I ask of an action film like this. Just make the loose threads easy to ignore and I’m good. I think it is an improvement over Casino Royale (which I loved) just from the standpoint of it gave Craig the opportunity to show what kind of Bond he IS rather than what kind of Bond he ISN’T, which was overemphasized in Casino Royale for me. And the villain is outstanding, too, which bumps it up a peg for me. Good read!

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:32 pm

      Thanks Brian. I can’t wait to check out your review. will be over soon (sorry, been ultra busy at work…midnight launches of product at store 3 weeks in a row…= very tired T) ha.

      Interesting point you make on the comparison to CR. and Bardem was good, I just wanted more. BUT, not a bad movie by FAR!

      Like

  5. November 12, 2012 6:02 pm

    Good review. Mine goes up tomorrow. We have similar thoughts but a few differences.

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:34 pm

      Thanks Keith. yes, I saw that you posted it a few hours ago. I will stop by and check it out. Thanks for the kind comment and taking the time to read. It’s interesting seeing all of the differences of opinion in this one but still seeing the overall consensus be the same! that’s cool to me!

      Like

  6. November 13, 2012 1:57 am

    Still havent seen this one, and much like The Avengers before it I will probably await a Blu-ray…. I am a grumpy pants

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:36 pm

      hahah. you ARE a grumpy pants. LOL. go see it man. Do you feel guilty that you guys in England get some of these movies (Avengers, Skyfall) before we do here in the States and thus decide to suffer along with us? you are such a gentleman. 😉

      I hope you get the chance to see it sooner rather than later though. all joking aside. it makes me even more glad that I keep all of my reviews spoiler free knowing that you still haven’t seen it.

      Thanks again my friend.

      Like

  7. November 13, 2012 2:44 am

    Nice review T. Totally agree about the Bond girls. There has definitely been a trend in recent Bond films to move away from the traditional Bond girl and give her a more active role – Eve in this one – but they definitely seemed an afterthought here.

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:40 pm

      I think “afterthought” is a fair word. Not quite an afterthought because they did, afterall, have 3, but all 3 ended up rather so-so, with Eve being the most memorable. Perhaps that was on purpose, but, eh. it still worked I guess.

      Like

  8. November 13, 2012 8:44 am

    YAY!! Someone else who is NOT crying “Best Bond Ever!”
    😀
    I enjoyed it and feel it’s a fine addition to the franchise, but I had some issues with it too. I too, found there to be a few mind boggling actions (good call out on the all important hard drive that is forgotten!). Yet, mostly I miss the fun Bond factor ( I am not talking Roger Moore campy fun)–just the über confidence and fun that Bond usually demonstrate in his demeanor and actions –I saw a little bit of it in Skyfall (cuff link check!!) but not enough to be satisfied.
    I loved Casino Royale (second best for me behind Goldfinger) and was excited about the origin concept–but now I want Bond back!! The ending does inspire hope since all the players are in place. Fingers crossed.
    Where I am even more in the minority is with Bardem’s Silva. it is a strong performance and entertaining but I was expecting the incarnation of evil –with the set up of ” you don’t know fear” and yet I never saw that…no ruthlessness or anything. Just a screwed up dude seeking revenge–who is caught monologue-ing at the end. (And I can not get a satisfying explanation of why he hacks a high security system to do nothing with it –except to leave–head-scratching indeed.)
    Mendes direction is surprisingly deft with the brilliant action sequences (especially the opening) and Deakins is a genius!! The shanghai building scene is breathtaking!! And the cast is solid–although 100% agree on the absence of the Bond girls! Sad. Especially when Casino Royale gave us one of the best in the series…
    Overall a fine spy film–just not quite Bond’s best–hey that’s my review’s title! lol.

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:43 pm

      I like how you said “but now I want Bond back!!” after reading that I was nodding my head and saying “yeah, that’s right!” haha.

      I agree very much with your statement about Bardem’s Silva (I actually referred to it an my 2nd reply to Fogs’ in this comment thread). You are right in that.

      and a great summary sentence at the end of your comment, which, also means I must visit your review here shortly. Thank you very much for taking the time to read and to share your thoughts.

      Like

  9. November 13, 2012 1:53 pm

    Hey, I think 4/5 is fair. I gave it a 4.5 but no, it’s not the best of the franchise for me either. That said, your line that it “…annoyed me a little bit expected more originality out of the Bond franchise” makes me laugh, this is the one franchise not exactly known for originality, though I think the fact that it shows Bond’s um, origins is a good step in the right direction.

    I hear ya about the Bond girl, by that I mean Severine as I think Naomie Harris’ Eve is great. Berenice simply can’t act and it doesn’t help that her role is so disposable. I thought the “For Your Palm Only” (NICE!) gun came in handy just in the nick of time, though the bad guy being Komodo food is utterly predictable.

    In any case, CR still rules for me too, T, so I’m with ya there!

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 3:45 pm

      Thanks Ruth. I thought 4/5 was fair too. 😀

      true enough on the “originality” aspect, however, I was hoping for there to be something a little more original than the main plotline that we’ve seen in numerous other spy films.

      hahaha, yes! Someone commented on the “For Your Palm Only” 😀 Thanks for catching that, Ruth. I thought it was clever. hahaha

      So glad you liked it though, esp with all the promotion you’ve been giving it. Great job on all the 007 Flixchatter posts btw. Will it continue, or do you have something else planned now, like a “Man of Steel” Flixchatter series? hmmm.

      Like

      • sirgustavito permalink
        January 14, 2013 2:36 am

        yeah and how about near the end when M and 007’s dad were walking away from the killers in the dark and they used a flashlight/torch to guide their way in the fields where Mr. Bond had lived all his life? hahaha absurd!

        Like

      • January 14, 2013 11:07 am

        ha. I didn’t like that, but there were several other things I thought were absurd, such as the all of a sudden insignificance of the hard drive.

        oh, and btw, Albert Finney played the groundskeeper (which I guess makes it even worse that he needed the flashlight), but 007’s dad and mom both were dead. He’s an orphan.

        Like

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