There was a lot riding on the newest installment of James Bond. Skyfall celebrates 50 years of Bond. A film that achieves such a number is no easy feet. It establishes a huge fan base by being able to bring excitement, joy, more. Skyfall combines a lot of the new and the old paves the way for bigger and better Bond films to come. Hit the jump for the full review of Sam Mendes’ Skyfall.
Daniel Craig reprises the role of James Bond for the third time in his acting career. By now he has already defined who Bond is: a honorable MI6 agent who swoons women but lacks that comedic charm that previous Bonds had. But that is what you are going to get with actors taking on these title roles, each of them brings something new to the table, and Craig brought a grounded and gritty Bond, something that clearly shows in Skyfall.
The film centers on a villain who has obtained a noc-list that contains the identities of every undercover British secret agent. Realizing the dangers this list has when in the wrong hands M (Judi Dench) sends Bond and Eve (Naomie Harris) to retrieve the stolen goods. However while Bond tries to get the noc-list back, he is accidentally shot by Eve and is presumed dead.
With the list in the hands of the dangerous and bitter former MI6 agent Silva (Javier Bardem), names on the list are slowly revealed to the public via the Internet and Bond comes back from the dead to stop Silva from destroying MI6 and killing M.
The main theme of this film is that 50 years of Bond are coming together for Skyfall. Past and present stories, themes, and characters are back for this thrilling actioner. Though some of the faces may have changed, but the spirit of those respective characters stayed the same. For the most part Sam Mendes did an excellent job with the film, after all Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan had a couple of years to tinker the script during MGM’s financial troubles.
Mendes makes sure that Bond is pushed to his limits, both physically and mentally. Bond fights on a train, runs on top of a train, and gets shot on a train and falls hundreds of feet below. And that is just in the trailer, there are many more things that test Bond mortality and Mendes makes sure he has made every contingency to test it. The only thing that is missing is Bond’s humor, which has been lacking ever since Craig took the job. But this Bond still possesses the charm and ferocity that previous Bonds had.
Q (Ben Whishaw) also makes an appearance in the film as Bond’s new quarter master. However keeping it to the grounded scheme of things, some of the tech that Q gives to Bond just don’t have that same outrageousness that previous Bond gadgetry had in the past. Still Whishaw manages to make the role his own but he also respects the character’s spirit by spouting dry witty humor, the same kind of humor that Desmond Llewyn is famously known for when he played the character in previous Bond installments.
There are a few minor things that I have a problem with though. Like how the villain was able to accumulate all the money to fund this fueled-revenge plot and how he was able motivate all the members of his terrorist organization to follow him. There aren’t any plans for world domination or become fifthly rich, it’s all about revenge. But Bardem really sells it and everyone believes in Silva’s revenge and making every single undercover MI6 agent suffer.
In this new age of films having to be grounded, dark, and grittiness, I’d say that Skyfall is perhaps the one film that would most likely happen in real life. Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy was pretty grounded but it still had some wacky tech, which leads to the next point of the similarities that Skyfall and The Dark Knight trilogy may have.
Mendes has said that Nolan’s Batman films directly influenced how he made Skyfall, which is why the film is dark and has a global aspect to it. Though Bond has been known to do some extensive traveling, the grounded effects of Skyfall says a lot about the world we live in today, and the film’s dark tone only adds to that.
Skyfall is surely one of the best Bond films audiences wills see and perhaps it may be one of the best films of the year. The film certainly changes the way we will look at the character for years to come and hopefully the next director who takes on the next installment of Bond understands what has been given to him/her.
Skyfall opens in theaters on November 9th.