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Skyfall Review: The New Bond Film Delivers Big Time

By Andrew Burgon /
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November 14, 2013


Release: November 9, 2012
Running Time: 143 minutes
Studio: MGM/Columbia Pictures
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenwriter: Neil Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw
Genre: Action & Adventure
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense violence, some sexuality, vulgar language, innuendo and smoking.

In Skyfall, Bond surges back into the spotlight with a riveting action thriller that is bound to please many a moviegoer.

After a near death experience, Bond is off the grid conflicted and reluctant to resurface for duty. M (Judi Dench), meanwhile, has become a prime target of an eerily omni-present, mysterious enemy lurking in the shadows who seems to know her every move as if he was watching over her shoulder. It’s not long before Bond gets the jolt he needs when the terrorist blows up the top of MI6 headquarters.

Despite being unfit for duty Bond is sent on a mission that eventually brings him face-to-face on a deserted island with the terrorist. Silva, the super villain, is one of the most memorable in the franchise with an evil streak a mile wide. He’s a brilliant former agent who comes back to haunt M for having abandoned him in a hell hole. One thing is for sure, he knows how to make an entrance. Bleached-blond hair, flamboyant with a pasty yet handsome face that hides a shocking secret. His overt, somewhat campy yet delicious, sexual behavior towards Bond no doubt raised a number of eyebrows in the theater as well as a few smiles. Bonds response comes from far left field knocking you off your seat and eliciting a reaction of disbelief.

Though a prisoner on the island Bond manages to turn the tables on Silva big time. Detained in a small glass cell Silva spends a memorable moment with M revealing a horrible truth to the otherwise handsome facade. He makes it evident though by his escape that he was, in fact, always in control.

After another vicious attack by Silva Bond decides desperate and radical measures are called for. Taking M to his deceased parents property called Skyfall he prepares for the deadly, inevitable encounter with Silva and his men. The scene ends with a most unexpected poignant release for a troubled Silva.

Bonds humanity has never reached quite the level it does in Skyfall. Sean Connery’s Bond was so indomitable and unflappable you would of sworn he was teflon coated three times over. Here we see a more vulnerable and grizzly bond. Shaken by a near-death experience. Initially conflicted, relucant and unwilling. Unable to ace the rigorous testing to resume his super spy status. Then taking M under his protective wing despite the inherent dangers.

The chemistry between M and Bond makes the movie all the more watchable. Their first meet-up is prickly at best. Bond resentful and questioning. M denying any wrong doing and cold. By the end of the movie the pendulum finally swings to the unlikely scenario of M being helpless, powerless and dependent on Bond for her safety and Bond taking on the role of protective guardian.

With this installment the franchise has been reinvented and invigorated. A reincarnated Q and Moneypenny particularly make a welcome entry after having been absent for a while. Q (Ben Whishaw) is the whiz kid short on gadgets but long on computer wizardry. Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) is the hardened field agent who temporarily takes on a desk job. Ralph Fiennes is the frank officer who is on M’s case and ends up taking her job.

To say that a lot of cool craftsmanship went into making Skyfall would be an understatement. Cinematographer Roger Deakins has an amazing eye for aesthetics, arresting images and beautiful compositions. This is one of the best-looking bond films ever. Director Sam Mandes has done wonders for the film orchestrating everything from a chase scene on motorcycles and a no holds barred fist fight on top of a moving train to Bond’s guerrilla style warfare on the moore where he was born. He should probably be credited for drawing out some fine performances from the cast as well.

Skyfall is definitely worth seeing decked out with all the revamped hallmarks that made the franchise successful in the first place. Some great performances, directing and cinematography. To be sure, a fine martini, shaken, not stirred.

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