Bond, James Bond. Anyone that is a fan of spy movies or action movies knows this line. Since 1969 the world has been supplied with 23 top notch edge of your seat thrill rides. So by this point in history the question isn’t what are we going to get with the newest James Bond film, the question is how well will it be done? This go round brings in Sam Mendes an award winning director to tell the story. Having now seen the final product I can say that Bond is most definitely back and better than ever.
Skyfall follows in the grand tradition of all the other 007 films. It starts off with a huge action scene to set the film up before settling in to tell the story. This time the story is about a cyber terrorist that has stolen MI6 secrets and is trying to bring M(Judi Dench) and the whole system down. Only James Bond can stop him. Along the way he is helped by a few welcomed old friends and a few new ones. When things get personal, will 007 be able to stop this mad man and save the world?
By this point Daniel Craig has played Bond in 2 previous films, Casino Royal and Quantum of Solace, so we all know what we are going to get with his version. Craig is a tougher and less cheeky bond, yet in moments he has the ability to show off his cool debonair side. In Skyfall, he really gets to show off the full range of Bond. At times he is smooth, other times tough and hard, and finally, one thing that was kind of missing from the last two films, he shows a lighter funnier side. After 23 films one would not think you could get to learn much more about a character, but for the first time this film really becomes quite personal for Bond. We actually get to learn a lot more about where Bond came from and how he ended up where he is. This movie also is another chance for Dame Judi Dench to shine in her role as M. We get to see that wonderful love/hate relationship between her and Bond, but even more than any other in the series we really get to see how much M means to Bond. In a role that could have just been another typical “mentor role for the hero”, Dench really knows how to make us care for this character.
This time around the bad guy Silas, is played by Javier Bardem. He is a modern day cyber terrorist that is also not afraid to get dirty and blow some stuff up. You can tell Sam Mendes was really trying to make a memorable villain this time around and he succeeded. By Bringing in an award winner like Bardem it automatically steps the character up. He brings such a charisma to the character, as evil as he is, it is hard not to like him. Bardem really shines in his introduction when he first meets Bond and they just talk and “feel” each other out. My only problem with this character is a feature given to him that is quite disturbing. I understand the reason behind this feature and it makes him that much more memorable as a Bond villain, but it is shown once and never comes back into play later in the film. I felt like if they were going to make a point to show something so defining about a character, it should play more of a role in the movie.
As mentioned before this Bond film tries to bring back some much missed aspects of the past films and one of those things is Q. One of the best parts of past Bond films was getting to see what cool gadgets Q will provide and the funny banter between him and Bond. This go round Q is played by Ben Whishaw and he works well. Instead of going with the past take on Q where he is the older wiser man to Bond’s younger Bond, this time Q is a young know-it-all nerd to Bond’s old dog tricks. This works well between the two actors and they manage to be funny, but without going the same route that has been done before. I look forward to seeing where this relationship goes.
Speaking of new relationships we get to see a few of them. First is Ralph Fiennes, as Garth Malory. His character is like the big wig questioning the need for the 00s. He doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but what he gets is a pretty good set up to see where they go with him. The other relationship we get to see is Albert Finny in a role from Bond’s past. He brings a nice little bit of warmth and humor before the end and it’s like a nice little surprise.
As much as we all look forward to the action of Bond films, we also look forward to the Bond girls. This time we have Naomie Harris as Eve and Berenice Marlohe as Severine. Harris is good as a fellow MI6 agent that works with Bond. They have some good sexual tension between them, where as Marlohe forgoes the tension and just goes for the sex. Both ladies are pretty, but if I had to pick which one stands out more, I would have to go with Harris.
The other thing people look forward to in a Bond films are the exotic locals and this film does not let you down. They travel from Istabul to the Scottish highlands. In between is a stop in Shanghi, followed by some really cool locations in Macau, and they even journey back to London for a little. Somehow Bond films always manage to make even the dirtiest nastiest places in the world look amazing. By far the best location was Sylva’s “evil lair” on an abandoned island city. The atmosphere is so eerie and scary that it could definitely go toe to toe with any of the old iconic evil lairs of previous films.
There are a few more surprises in the film for any James Bond fan to look forward to. Overall, I think Skyfall follows in the footsteps of both Goldfinger for Connery and The Spy Who Loves Me for Moore, in being the third and best Bond for Craig. I think it paid off really well getting an award winning director this time around, because he knew how to take all the best parts of Bond films from the past and show them off in a whole new way. With these past couple films a lot of talk was how Bond had to update and change to compete with the Bourne movies, but with Skyfall Mendes was able to show what makes James Bond the ultimate superspy. He is on a level all his own and doesn’t need to compete with any one. Fans of previous 007 films or the Mission Impossible films will love this one.
5 out of 5