Skyfall

It’s been a few years since we have seen our friend James Bond.  November 2012 means that we finally get to see Bond back on the silver screen.  I have to admit that I am a huge Daniel Craig fan which started even before he was announced as 007.  It should also be noted, aside from The World is Not Enough, I couldn’t possibly think of a worse James Bond film than Quantum of Solace. So… I was a little afraid of what was going to be on the big screen in the latest adaptation.  I found myself pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Skyfall starts off with high action and never quite lets up.  Bond is attempting to recover a list of secret agents that has been stolen by rival spies and is shot in the process.  To the world, agent 007 is no more.  However when an old foe of M (Judy Dench) wages war on the the agency, Bond’s loyalty to M brings him back to save the day.  However the time off has Bond a bit off his game.  But if there is one person in the world of super spies who can find that missing step again and save the day from a maniacal computer hacker and terrorist it is James Bond.

Skyfall proved to be one of the better Bond films I have seen.  It’s got a story, that while is somewhat generic in nature,  sucks you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time.  It seems to be one part Mission Impossible, one part Bourne ____, and one part Bond.  However a decent plot line alone is of course a drastic improvement from Quantum of Solace.  Quantum of Solace had no story what so ever and relied on action shot followed by action shot…followed by action shot.  Craig’s character version of Bond is still a mix between James Bond and Jason Bourne but I have to admit that I enjoy this fresh new take on James Bond.  In many ways, I see Craig’s Bond as a franchise reboot.  There are throwbacks to old Bond, however the story seems to be pushing forth by hinting that Bond is still becoming the suave super spy we have all grown to love in previous years. Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were both about the love of Bond’s life that got away and the story of revenge that followed.  Skyfall delves a little deeper into what makes Bond tick, as well as introduces us to a few more characters that will become important parts of the Bond story as time goes a long.

Part of what I enjoyed most about Skyfall was because of the directorial choices of Sam Mendes.  Mendes knows how to make quality cinema and is a truly under appreciated director to the average movie goer.  Mendes, who is responsible for another one of my favorite films, Road to Perdition, has a style that just seems to jive very well with Craig’s version of 007.  Mendes maintained the gritty look and feel of the new Bond yet found a way to keep it feeling like the super cool and somewhat fantastical world that Bond’s character evolves from.  Mendes knows how to work with actors and capture the best performances from each of them regardless of if it is an Oscar bait film or the action blockbuster of the fall.  He certainly found a way of getting the best out of all involved in Skyfall.

Javier Bardem does a wonderful job of complimenting Craig’s performance as he takes on the tough role of being a Bond villain.  In many ways, I have always felt as though a Bond villain has a tougher role than the man playing 007.  We know who Bond is and have grown to expect certain things from the performance.  When an actor playing Bond deviates from the role in any way it gets the Bond geeks upset so they usually follow the tried and true formula.  A Bond villain is expected to be memorable and fantastical.  There is a fine line between memorable and too ridiculous.  Bardem seems to find that fine line is Skyfall. He does seem to have his strange quirks and features that make him stand out but on a base level he just is an intriguing person from the psychological standpoint.  He’s an evil, menacing mastermind.  For those of you who are Cohen Brothers fans think of Bardem’s character in No Country For Old Men.  He seemed to channel his menacing energy (thankfully he didn’t channel that bowl cut hair style too) and brings it to life in Skyfall.

My biggest complaint with Skyfall is a few strange things I noticed while watching the film but by going into them, I would be ruining significant plot points for the sake of nitpicking.  To me it just doesn’t seem worth it.  Upon the DVD release perhaps we will have to do a “Over-Analysis of a Scene” article on the site explaining some of my “issues.”  But truth be told, Skyfall delivered on every hope I had for the film.  It was everything I wanted from a Bond film.  I had a great time, and it continues to breathe new life into a franchise that 20+ films in is still delivering.  How many other franchises can you say have managed to do that successfully?  I know that I have my “reasons” to suggest that you see a movie in theaters; those of you who know me know why I say that.  However I will be the first person to tell you if I feel a movie is just as DVD rental/small screen worthy.  But with Skyfall, I really do feel that this is a big screen event.  It’s loud, it’s fun and it James Bond.  Head to your local theater and check out Skyfall.  It’s the perfect escape from every day life.

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