Saturday, 10 November 2012

09/11/2012: Skyfall [2012]

Skyfall marks Bonds return after a 4 year wait since Quantum of Solace, and what a return it is as Skyfall resurrects Bond to the top of his game. There should be no debate, as Skyfall is sure to please both Bond fans and newcomers alike with it's exciting action sequences, beautiful cinematography, and its return to both the feeling of a classic Bond movie and a more modern and gritty take. 

I've been rather unsatisfied with Daniel Craig's reboot of the Bond series, and while I enjoyed Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace just made me long for the past and I wasn't sure I would really enjoy the series reboot and future Bond films as much as I had the 50 years before it. Skyfall however has restored my faith and I can't wait for the next one, which hopefully shouldn't be to long a wait, and the when the end credits rolled they told us James Bond would return.

The thing that makes Skyfall successful is that it acknowledged that the previous film had veered to far from the traditional style of James Bond films and fixed that while still maintaining its new direction as a more realistic and gritty movie than past entries. However, Bond has 50 years of history and Skyfall doesn't neglect it, giving us martini's, Bond girls, a Bond villain, a simpler plot, and the return of an Aston Martin, while telling us that it won't be giving us anymore exploding pens. The new Q is the best example of Skyfall telling you that it will both honour tradition while still reinventing the series, but I won't spoil that for you.

Skyfall feature a plot that gets rid of all the complicated multi-movie storyline that the last two had been building with Bond's hunt for Quantum and returns to the formula that all Bond movies should follow. Skyfall keeps things simple as a cyber-terrorist from M's past launches an attack against MI6 throwing the British intelligence agency into turmoil. This will test Bond's loyalty to M and also allows for a lot more character development and backstory than any previous Bond films has bothered with.The villain is given motive and a great backstory, and we also explore Bond's past more than we ever have before, while still not getting to tangled up in any of it.  Skyfall also portrays Bond as the aging and possibly outdated secret agent he is, giving him a weakened body and questioning his abilities. Overall Skyfall gives you some more indepth story elements to explore while still giving you the option to ignore them and just watch the action packed movie if you so wish.

As an action movie Skyfall is easily one of the best this year, with so much style and flare that every action scene is amazing whether it be a drawn out chase, or a close and violent hand to hand engagement. Almost all of this is due to the amazing cinematography of Roger Deakins. Every scene oozes style, from the beautiful and colourful settings of Shanghai and Turkey, to the more dirty and muted settings of London and Scotland which still look breathtakingly beautiful and are undoubtedly worth it to see in IMAX. Like any good Bond movie, the number of sets and locations are numerous and varied, but all of them are great and take you on a trip around the world.When it comes to style and appearance, Skyfall is definitely one of the best.

Amongst all the Bond references why not throw in a Hannibal one?
Another things that Craig's last two Bond movies lacked was a Bond Villain, while there were a few faces to the Quantum organization we didn't get one, memorable, truly evil villain from them. Skyfall changes that with Javier Bardem as Silva, who is one of the best Bond villains in a long time. He has the calm, calculated and remorselessly impressive villain feel that he did in No Country For Old Men, but shows a range of emotions with a couple of loose screws that make him one of my favourite Bond villains and easily the best performance in Skyfall. Silva is everything a Bond villain should be and more as he sets his plan in motion, but driven by revenge and his past, he isn't out to take over the world, and this makes him an even more believable villain than some of Bond's past adversaries.

To complement the Bond villain is of course Bond girls, and Skyfall us a beautiful trio without any obviously suggestive names. Naomie Harris plays Eve, a fellow agent who just might not be cut out for the field and also packs one of the biggest surprises for Bond fans, Bérénice Marlohe is Sévérine, the classic Bond girl, Tonia Sotiropoulou is simply some eyecandy as a nameless lover.
As for the rest of the cast, Daniel Craig portrays Bond well as he drinks and womanizes with the best 007s, while showing a more human side to Bond as well. Judi Dench continues to give the performance so well they finally decided to give her more screentime than possibly all the other M's combined. However, I still think that Javier Bardem is the real standout here, and hopefully future Bond villains will be able to compare.

I know that right know there is a lot of praise and proclamations that Skyfall is one of the best Bond films, but I wouldn't say that they are wrong. As you'll see in a couple days, I tried to rank my favourite Bond films last week after watching 7 classic Bond movies in preparation for Skyfall. I was having trouble with the last couple, and had an open spot in hope that Skyfall might fill it. I can now say that Skyfall jumped up a few spots from there, and has made me certain that after 50 years, Bond will still continue for a few decades to come. Like most of the best Bond films, Skyfall reinvents and refreshes the series while still honouring it's five decade history. The only question left is will I have a chance to see it in theaters again?

Skyfall IMDb

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