Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. (IMDB)
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris
Runtime/Rating: 143 Minutes/ PG-13
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn with Butter
If you were to watch all 23 movies in the James Bond Series back to back to back and so on starting with 1962’s Dr. No and finishing with the latest installment Skyfall, you would have watched an even 48 straight hours of Bond. I would argue that the final 2 hours and 23 minutes would be the best. Skyfall is the grittiest, most action packed, intelligent and complete Bond movie I can remember.
Director Sam Mendes, (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) an Oscar winner better known for his straight dramas rather than his action chops takes a screenplay by “Bond” veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade along with the help heavyweight writer John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo) and does what he does best; tells a complete and dramatic story, but also mixes in some of the coolest action sequences I have ever seen. Now in two out of three movies Daniel Craig has secured his position in the discussion for the best bond of all time completely owning the suave, cool nature of 007 but adding the fierce grit that no other before him has done.
The Movie opens with an action/chase scenes for the record books. Topping anything I have seen from the impressive “Bourne” and “Mission Impossible” series and one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and smiling because of how great it is. The movie does not let down from there. After the electrifying opening sequence, that teases Bond’s death (a mere 15 minutes into the film), Skyfall focuses on his ability to come back after near death trauma and regain his status as an agent in the British spy system. The story also focuses a lot on the Character M (Judi Dench) who is growing older in her tiring profession and her new boss Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) who is insistent on her retirement and that she open up the doors to the MI6 Command to show the country what they do. M wholeheartedly disagrees with this plan as well as to her retirement and stubbornly continues to run the show throughout the movie. Both of those storylines give this edition, above all others before it, some much needed depth to the story that makes it not only a great Bond Movie but just a great movie in general.
Midway into the movie we are introduced to the films Villain. Untypically for bond movies, he is given a backstory and a personality, Silva, played menacingly by Javier Bardem is without a doubt the most detailed Bond Villain we have ever seen. He is a former double agent that worked for M but was cut off after he went rouge in the 90’s before the Hong Kong Handover and now resurfaces with a personal vendetta against his former boss. He is mean and powerful, intelligent as the best men and women working in the system and Javier Bardem is scary in his portrayal.
Skyfall certainly delivers on every level. I believe that the creative crew behind it started out with the objective to make an engaging and dramatic story, they succeeded. They next focused on making it an action movie that out thrills all others in the genre, and they succeeded. Finally they needed Skyfall to stay true to the Bond series to make it look and feel like all of the greats that have come before it, so they added all of the one off Bond-esque jokes and some cool gadgets along with beautiful settings and cool surroundings to give it the correct mood, and they also succeeded with that. Skyfall certainly delivers on all levels. It is now secure on the top of my “Favorite Bond List” and admittedly, with many movies still to be seen in 2012 that I am excited about; it is on my preliminary list for top ten of the year.
Large Popcorn with Butter.