"Not only is this the best Daniel Craig 'Bond' film... this could very well be one of the best in the series." - Darris
I said this while walking out of the theater having just seen Skyfall. I've been a James Bond fan my entire life, and those words escaped my lips before I even realized it. Saying that Skyfall was the best of the three more modern Bond films is one thing... but saying it could top my favorites? Better than The Man with the Golden Gun or even GoldenEye?
I mean sure, Skyfall has better action scenes than the action-heavy Casino Royale. And sure, the fights were wonderfully choreographed and felt realistic every time. AND SURE, Bond now has a sense of humor again, throwing out one-liners on occasion to the immense satisfaction of everyone else in the theater with me. But... but...
But nothing. I honestly couldn't find an easy reason to hate this film like I could for Quantum of Solace. The action transitions nicely from scene to scene, the script makes sense and tells the story surrounding the characters in a relatable and fun way. While the villain of this story is less "bald-guy stroking cat" and more akin to the Joker from The Dark Knight, he fits in just as much as Bond himself.
Leaving the theater I was honestly shocked at how much I enjoyed Skyfall. How much fun I had watching the action play out like I was six years old again and viewing Moonraker for the first time on VHS. Now that the shock has fully worn off, lets get on with it.
ON WITH THE REVIEW!
The pre-credits opening scene is a staple of nearly every Bond film known to man, and this one does the job well. 007 (played by Mr. Craig) is on a mission in Turkey retrieving an encrypted hard-drive that contains a full list of undercover agents infiltrating terrorist organizations. Arriving just too late, he finds his fellow agents dead and the hard-drive on the move. A fellow agent named Eve (Naomie Harris) picks him up and and they give chase.
The first scenes of the chase through Turkey give you a glimpse of the action ahead in the film
The chase goes from car to motorcycle and finally ends with Bond and the man he's pursing fighting on the top of a train. Eve sets up on the top of an adjacent hill ahead of the train and prepares to try and shoot the runner. This creates a tense moment in which Bond is grappling on the train and M (Judi Dench) order's Eve to take the shot, even though she might hit Bond.
After the conclusion of this scene, the movie starts proper.
The love-interest found in Eve is felt early and often in the movie
After talking so much about the movies opening, I don't want to get much deeper into specifics. The man with the hard-drive gets away, the names of undercover agents start to get leaked, and panic starts spreading through MI6. Suddenly the major threats out in the world are not giant men with metal teeth, but the hacking of a computer, or the sending of a virus. This calls into question the necessity of even having agents like 007 when the future moves closer and closer to becoming fully digital in life and crime.
If there's one thing I've always loved about the recent Bond films, it's Judi Dench's performance as 'M'
Bond, injured and unfit to serve thanks to damage done in during the opening scene must reevaluate his commitment not only to England, but to M herself. The relationship between Bond and M has always been a major factor in 007 movies since GoldenEye, but this grows only more defined during the run of the film for a very important reason.
The villain this time around know M very well. Knows her maybe even more than Bond thinks he does.
While maybe not the best Bond villain, Silva is menacing, funny, charming and disgusting all at the same time
Here enters Raoul Silva, played wonderfully by Javier Bardem (probably known best for his role in No Country for Old Men). Silva is not your typical cyber-terrorist eccentric nut-job, but actually carries with him a crushing amount of truth and honesty not seen in Bond baddies before. Sure he's slightly psychotic, but as you learn more about him and his past, you can see where some of his rage and subtle behavior comes from. Bardem pulls off Silva with such honesty and grace, I'd be surprised if he isn't nominated for some sort of award, even if the film as a whole might not make it into Oscar territory.
Every scene with Silva grabs your attention, especially when he interacts with M
Other noteworthy actors to look out for include Ben Whishaw as Q and Ralph Fiennes who plays Gareth Mallroy, a former Lieutenant in the British Army who now oversees the actions of MI6. Both bring great performances, if not short-lived for the sake of keeping the pace of the film steadily going.
Whishaw as 'Q' shows how a new generation of crime and crime-fighters are invading the MI6 of olde
Skyfall was a surprise. I went to see it hoping that with a new director and time to reflect over how awful Quantum of Solace was there would be an improvement. Just enough of an improvement to bring it at least back to being a fairly good action film.
But it didn't just settle for being one of the best action films of the year. It surpassed that point and ran straight towards its next goal; to be called a true Jame Bond film, with all its kick-ass attitude, charm, jokes, beautiful women and foreign locations.
Not only is is a true Jame Bond film, it may very well be one of my new favorites.