December 24, 2012
Bond is back in Skyfall and it's just as brilliant as everyone says it is.
It’s hard to believe that there’s anyone left who hasn’t seen Skyfall yet. As there’s a surprisingly large amount, I don’t feel too bad about my hideously late review of the most recent Bond. Daniel Craig’s return as 007 has been celebrated by many; largely by fans of his debut film Casino Royale (I think Rob and myself are the only two people who liked Quantum of Solace). Despite avoiding spoilers and extensive reviews, it was difficult to ignore the build-up surrounding Sam Mendes’ latest feature. I was setting myself up for a bit of a let-down, but thankfully, for once; a highly anticipated film lived up to the hype.
Bond is back! When M’s (Judi Dench) past comes back to haunt her in Silva (Javier Bardem), a cyberterrorist intent on seeking revenge against those who betrayed him in the field, she brings MI6 under attack. 007 (Craig) must destroy the threat to the government before it’s too late; no matter what the cost may be.
Skyfall is M’s film, no doubt about it. It shows the gradual fall of a great matriarchal character, as the world of MI6 crumbles around her. As always, Dench is fantastic despite the quandary her character finds herself in. M is accompanied by a number of beauties, as per any Bond classic: field agent Eve (Naomie Harris) and love interest Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe). Unlike previous Bonds, these aren’t just Bond girls; they’re Bond women. These solid characters with meaty backstories have muddied, uncertain futures adding depth that preceding movies have lacked.
The ladies aren’t the only great casting in Skyfall; Javier Bardem as villain Silva is perfect. He’s more than the average rouge: he’s creepy, vastly intelligent and a complete psychopath. Silva’s character is something that has been lacking from previous Bonds and is a throwback to the more traditional villain; making him one of the best baddies since Ledger’s Joker, and possibly the best of 2012.
I can think of no better way to celebrate 50 years of Bond than with Mendes’ Skyfall. It has everything you would want from an action flick and more: striking scenery; solid characters and a sleek script. Despite the 145 minute length, Skyfall’s fast pacing more than compensates; it barely falters from the titles through to the credits. A fun, refreshing and poignant edition to the world of Bond; Mendes’ contribution to the franchise is difficult to find fault with. My biggest issue isn’t that the alcohol is clearly taking its toll on Bond’s complexion, it isn’t his strange running technique; it’s the abundance of advertising thrown at the audience. Not only did a plethora of adverts introduce the feature, they were consistent throughout. Something just didn’t feel right about 007 asking for a branded beer, instead of the classic martini.