Movie Review: Skyfall is Bond ‘shaken, not stirred’

November 12th, 2012 at 11:50 am by under THRS Movie Reviews

Click HERE to see the trailer!

It’s what every James Bond fan has been waiting for… a good Bond film!  Daniel Craig is back in Skyfall as 007 fighting bad guys, this time in defense of MI6.

The movie starts off with agents down, an extremely important hard drive (containing identities of agents embedded with terrorists) just stolen, and Bond, along with fellow agent Eve (Naomie Harris), giving chase.

Before long, Bond is fighting on top of a moving train and his apparent death follows.  So the movie gets underway with M (Judi Dench) crafting Bond’s obituary.  He soon realizies he can’t stay dead, although it would have been easy enough.  He’d slipped into a fantasy world with no one aware he was even alive — and he barely is — sucking down pills all day with alcohol chasers.

But, when an explosion rocks MI6 headquarters, he has to get himself together to go out and find the bad guy.  Thank goodness for a good bad guy!  The bad guy makes the difference.  In Skyfall,  Silva is it!  He’s an ex-agent (also believed dead) with a Mommy complex — a real problem with M.  Silva (Javier Bardem) has been working on a plan for ages, and Bond walks right in to it.

The plot sets up for some very intellectual dialogue between good guy and bad guy with some intense action scenes and chase scenes as well.  It takes time and the new “Q” (Ben Whishaw), who is now a computer whiz, to figure out the plan, and Bond to come up with a way to try and head it off.

While all of this is going on M is trying to defend herself to a Ministry panel assembled to basically take her out of her role as head of MI6.  Forced retirement is the only possible outcome, from their point of view — but not from hers.

Bond takes on the role of protector, which leads us to a great scene in the famed Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger — the vehicle that takes them to Skyfall — the childhood home of James Bond.

The final stand for the Bond of old is there.  This is where the intent of the film reveals itself.  It’s not your average Bond film.  It’s a tribute to the old Bond and a heralding of the new.  Just as M crafts the Bond character’s obituary,  Skyfall itself is sort of the obituary for the old franchise.  It seems to be heralding in a new age of Bond.  Letting audiences know that after 50 years of Bond as is, Bond as new has arrived.

The ending sets in motion new roles and new life in this century for the characters audiences have come to know and to love… including new actors in them.

Skyfall was clever and inventive and the acting first rate.  I had wondered why on earth Dame Judi Dench would have done the Bond films… Skyfall at last gives her everything the actress could have been looking for in the character.  She is at her Bond best in this film.

Bardem excels on every level – right down to the smile that reveals evil, torment, love, and pain all at once.  He is the quintessential Bond bad guy — and he lifts all of the performances in the film because of it.

With Skyfall, director Sam Mendes takes the Bond franchise and evolves it – much the same way Christopher Nolan did with Batman with the Dark Night series.  It’s a re-imagining of Bond in some ways with a tribute to Bond in others — a near perfect mix for me.

Skyfall is written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan.  I can’t say enough about the writing.  Finely crafted with a love of Bond in dialogue, setting, action and props.  An homage to Ian Fleming’s style and characters.

Most fans of Bond will absolutely love it.  Some will feel it leaves too much behind.   For me, the movie itself is exactly as Bond himself would have ordered the 50th anniversary of his film franchise:  shaken, not stirred.

FIVE OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences, some sexuality, language and smoking.

 

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