I Saw A Film Today… Skyfall

Fifty years of Bond. Fifty years of the suave MI6 agent saving Queen and country from global anarchy. Bond has always, thankfully, been a fixture in my household. Through my youth to my adulthood (if you can call me an adult. Still a child at heart.), the name Bond has been a mainstay. Whether driving cars underwater or babes painted gold, I’ve grown with the many incarnations of the man. He truly is a cinematic treasure.

Bond is back and dutifully sacrificing for Queen and country in Skyfall.
The film starts with Bond in Turkey, trying to track down a man who stole the complete list of MI6 agents and their secret identities. His assisting agent is Eve (Naomie Harris) who is very inexperienced in the field. After a breathtaking sequence of action that ends up atop a train, Eve accidentally shoots Bond, sending him tumbling to his death.

Things turn ugly for England after the Turkey incident as a mystery man begins posting the identities of the agents on the internet and attacking MI6 headquarters. Bond decides that his leisurely stint of death is over and returns to serve once more. But inactivity and an injury has been unkind to Bond, who struggles to get back to active status strength.

M (Dame Judi Dench) approves him for the field anyways and very quickly Bond comes in contact with the mystery man named Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), who is a former MI6 agent with a grudge.

Skyfall is easily one of the best Bond films to date, starting with a ten minute action sequence that ends atop a chaotic and crowded train. It is true heart pounding excitement that leaves you feeling drained of adrenaline once the customary Bond credit sequence beings, narrated beautifully by Adele.

The rest of Skyfall doesn’t have the same pace as this opening sequence, which is good and bad in their own ways.  The bad is you are left spent and expecting the same in-your-face action, yet that never is fully delivered. The good thing is that the whole film isn’t like that opening sequence, which means there is an entertaining story here and some time to breath.

I hope you don’t think I’m saying that the rest of the film is void of entertaining action and story, because there is quite the opposite. There are exciting hand-to-hand combat, gun fights, and a run away train chasing after 007 to round out a well-crafted film, all under the tutelage of director Sam Mendes.

Daniel Craig has only appeared as Bond in three films, but he has already given this character more depth than any of his predecessors, especially here. Here we learn aspects of his past. We learn aspects of his parents and birth place. We learn aspects of how deep his relationship with M is. Hell, the man even cries here. Frankly, no one could pull off this level of Bond quite like him. He is a stone, unwavering in physical appearance, yet a wave of emotion is always just under the surface. His steely eyes give little away, but there is a sad twinkle that informs of his dark past.

Javier Bardem does pretty well in his role. He is menacing, smart, and silky smooth when speaking. Yet, there is something missing from his character. That something that would have made him truly memorable. Although I’m pretty sure this is the first time a villain has taken the opportunity to try to come on to Bond while he is tied to a chair. Well, a male villain at least. Dame Judi Dench gets a proper send off from the series she has been in for seven films with a heavier presence than any of the previous films.

Her replacement for the next film couldn’t be a wiser choice with Ralph Fiennes. Ben Whishaw, much to the delight of young girls the world over, is a brilliant and refreshing take on Q, who is more brains and less gadgety. As for the Bond girls, Naomie Harris and French actress Bérénice Lim Marlohe, are both quite well. Even though I feel Marlohe’s troubled character could have contributed more to the story in some way.

Skyfall is one of the best additions to the chronicles of James Bond’s heroic exploits in a very long time, even with moments when things seems to lumber along slowly.

Verdict: SEE IT!

*Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking. 143 minutes.

** Poster by unknown.


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