Review: Skyfall

I’m a little late on this one.  I had wanted to see James Bond’s latest adventure right away but circumstances sadly led me to seeing it eleven days after its release.  The wait to see it definitely amplified the intensity of my excitement for the film and I’m happy to say that the wait was worth it.  Skyfall is a really fun entry in the franchise and left me jonesing for more James Bond.

What’s great about the Daniel Craig era of Bond films is that it is rebuilding the character.  We all know the utter silliness the Bond films had descended into with Die Another Day but Casino Royale dropped the serious-bomb on 007 as a result of the Bourne franchise.  Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace laid the groundwork for the new Bond that is now coming into his own in Skyfall.  His hardened character is being meshed with classic Bond characteristics and it’s a mix that works really well.  The film itself is character driven but also one that recalls all the things we love about James Bond without ever going too far into silly territory.  It has its moments of emotional weightiness but it also makes you laugh and reminds you how fun a Bond film can be.

M takes the spotlight in Skyfall as the story focuses on her job and the ramifications of sending out agents to their eventual death.  M has mostly been relegated to stern or funny interactions with Bond and this time around gets the spotlight shined on her.  Judi Dench does a great job providing a look behind the facade we’ve all been accustomed to with M and shows more of her character and the psychological effects of her job.  There is a toll she takes for having to be the one to make all the decisions but her sense of duty compels her forward.  She sees the world no longer wages its wars on a grand scale, it’s by individuals that live in the shadows that wreak the most havoc making what she and her MI6 agents do all the more essential.

While Bond still retains a darker edge in Skyfall, he reclaims the swagger that we all want from the world’s favorite spy.  The flirting between Eve and Bond, the playful banter between Q and 007, fixing his shirt sleeve after jumping into a moving train car, these are all things that inject fun into the proceedings and help balance out the more serious and darker elements.  I’m not against having a more serious tone at all but in a James Bond movie but I want to have that sense of fun too.  Skyfall is a great mixture of the elements that make for an excellent modern Bond film.

The Bond villain, Silva (Javier Bardem), is among one of the best villains of the franchise.  He’s a reflection of Bond but just the other side of the coin.  He’s creepy and unsettling in his mannerisms and appearance.  Bardem plays Silva with an edge of pain and depth that allows him to ground the character that had the potential of being over-the-top.  There is an exchange between Silva and a tied-up Bond that had a small chill run down my spine because of how Bardem handled the character’s affectations.

(SPOILER WARNING)  

Skyfall sets up the next Bond film with a few new elements in place.  My favorite addition is easily Moneypenny.  The flirtatious interaction between field agent Eve and Bond was so much fun to watch.  Their dynamic, plus the fact that she did not sleep with Bond, made me eagerly anticipate the name “Moneypenny” to roll off her tongue when it came time to formally introduce themselves to each other.  Her introduction was set up so well that when that reveal came, I may have quietly yelled out, “Yes!”

The new Q is also introduced, albeit this time Q is much younger.  The age difference between Bond and Q plays really well as they make jabs about each other’s age as they grow a quiet respect for each other.  I really look forward to their future interactions.  M also gets a change-up.  With Judi Dench’s M now out of the picture, we are given our new M, played by Ralph Fiennes.  It’s really sad to see Judi Dench leave the franchise as she’s been a staple since I saw my first Bond film in the theater (Goldeneye).  I’m glad that they let her have the spotlight before moving on and gave her a fitting way to leave.  Ralph Fiennes character, Mallory, came off as an antagonist at first but through his actions you like his character and when he takes over the position of M, it feels like a good fit.  All these new classic characters have been changed up and thrown into the mix and it has me incredibly excited about it all.

(END SPOILER WARNING)

I saw Skyfall in IMAX, despite the fact that the film wasn’t shot using IMAX cameras.  I wanted to experience the new Bond film with the best sound possible and I was happy to pay the up-charge to do so.  It sounded amazing in the theater and was a perfect way to experience the action and music of the film.  When the movie ended and the words “James Bond Will Return” came up on the screen, I couldn’t have been more thrilled.  I knew Bond would be back, that wasn’t an uncertainty, but rather those words had been reinvigorated by the immense fun I had with Skyfall and I honestly cannot wait for 007’s next adventure.  I love the James Bond movies and am so happy to have them as a cinematic tradition.  The Bond franchise may have its up and downs, that’s for sure, but Skyfall is most definitely one of the ups.

by Ben McBride

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5 Comments on “Review: Skyfall”

  1. blueprintculture November 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Reblogged this on .

  2. Richard W Scott November 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    This reboot of the Bond franchise made it clear to me that 007 still has a few films left. ))

  3. Ben McBride November 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    I agree. Craig was a favorite Bond of mine but it wasn’t until Skyfall that I could say he might be my favorite. I always love Connery though.

  4. Pete November 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I can’t help but believe that Craig is the best Bond. I love the direction of the new movies…more grit and less ridiculous gadgets.

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  1. The Blu-ray Crypt – Feb. 12 | Monster Popcorn - February 12, 2013

    […] Bond and it’s a mixture that works wonderfully (you can read my full review of the movie here).  I’ve always liked Craig as Bond but it wasn’t until Skyfall that I felt that he […]

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