Movie Review: Skyfall
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Bond is back! After what felt like a lifetime ago, Skyfall brings James Bond back to the big screen in a big way, crafting one of the best Bond films in the Brit spy’s history, and easily the best Bond of the Craig era. Yes, even better than Casino Royale.
I’ll try to keep this one SPOILER FREE where I can, or at least give you guys a head’s up before I get too into the nity gritty.
Following a botched mission, James Bond(Daniel Craig) is presumed dead. Of course, when he hears of a terrorist attack on MI6 headquarters, he reappears to help M (Judi Dench) and his fellow agents track down Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), cyberterroist with ties to M’s past. What follows are spectacular action set pieces, awesome nods to the cinematic history of James Bond, and phenomenal performances throughout the film.
I would be remiss to no highlight Javier Bardem’s turn as Silva. He’s not only the best Bond villain, but one of the best villains in the history of cinema. This performance is so good that it really makes the movie, and he doesn’t even show up for the first hour of the movie! Silva is creepy, frightening, hilarious, intriguing, and intimidating all at once, and Bardem completely gives the role his all. His introduction is one of the film highlights of the year, and will easily be imitated for years to come.
Daniel Craig is no slouch as Bond either. Its great to see him back playing the character, and Craig seems to be having the most fun he’s had as Bond with this film. Between the fight scenes, chase sequences, and dramatic moments, Craig deftly handles everything the movie asks of him, including some great scenes involving Bond’s back story, something that hasn’t really been covered in any previous 007 films.
Skyfall also reintroduces viewers to Q, Bond’s long time gadget guy who was absent from the previous Craig films. Instead of an eldery statesman though, Q is now a young gadget geek played by Ben Whishaw. I didn’t really know what to expect from him, but the scenes he shares with Craig are great, and will remind long time Bond fans of the glory days of Desmond Llewelyn chastising Sean Connery/Roger Moore/ Pierce Brosnan. Other new comers include Naomie Harris as a fellow MI6 agent and Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory, a liaison for the Prime Minister brought in to help assist with the terror attacks in London.
Sam Mendes does a fantastic job behind the camera. Directing a Bond film is no easy task, even when you don’t take into account that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the character. Mendes balances the action and quieter moments deftly, and has in turn crafted one of the best 007 adventures to ever be seen on the screen. There have been many comparisons between this and The Dark Knight, which is apt. However, Skyfall never copies Nolan’s masterpiece, however, it’s very clearly inspired by it. Bond travels to only two locations in the entire film, and much of the rest takes place in London, a welcome change to the established “Bond formula”. In fact, Skyfall takes much of the tried and true Bond tropes and shakes them up. There are a lot of new changes that occur in this film, but they all end up with a Bond that’s very similar to the one we know and love. Perhaps that’s why this film is so well done: it celebrates the long heritage of this character, yet creates a whole new starting point as well. Welcome back Mr. Bond. Let’s hope your next assignment doesn’t keep you away too long.
Five Vodka Martinis out of Five