Skyfall – Capsule Review

skyfall

After Quantum of Solace, I was a bit concerned for Daniel Craig’s 007. I was worried that the franchise was too preoccupied with what is supposed to make up a Bond movie to make it a good movie, period. Thank goodness that Skyfall proved the previous film to be an aberration. This movie is not only slick and celebratory of all the Bond traditions, since it’s the 50th anniversary of Bond there were a number of nods to the franchise’s legacy as well (I don’t know all of them, but at least I know that bringing back the old Aston Martin — complete with weaponry — was one). Though it seems like a lot of franchises have done this (maybe even a previous Bond movie has), this time they are stripping things down (No, I’m not talking about naked Bond girls): Bond himself plays dead and MI6 headquarters is destroyed by ruthless new villain, Silva (played by an oddly-blonde Javier Bardem). Craig as Bond seems to be getting surlier with age, but he still delivers the repartee and the cheeky comments with tapered British style (“Everybody needs a hobby”, says Bond. “What’s yours?” asks Silva. “… Resurrection.”). In fact, whether it’s time to throw in the towel is something that both M (played once more by Judi Dench) and Bond wrestle with. Silva is baiting M, coming after her for what he considers to be her “sins”. Bond is faced with an enemy who seems more skilled, more modern, more capable than him and questions if he shouldn’t have better stayed dead. The opening set piece is great fun as always, and it ends with a big climax. The second half of the movie is even better as Bond takes the conflict home to his family’s ancestral residence (the titular Skyfall) where things get kind of “old school”. The direction by Sam Mendes is wonderfully smooth (not to mention some great looking cinematography), and the actors all give really good performances in these roles that they have gotten comfortable with. Bardem delivers his psychotic dialogue in a deliciously silky way, and even though I don’t have much care for Bond villains, he’s quite believable. In the 50 years that Bond has been on screen, others like Jason Bourne and John McClane have come and gone and in this movie there’s a bit of those other action characters as well. It’s almost as if Bond, being an action hero archetype in his own right, has reclaimed those other personae that he helped inspire. (4.5 out of 5)

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