Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bond is back and better than ever in the terrific SKYFALL

After an extended four year break from cinemas, James Bond returns...with a vengeance. Skyfall is the 23rd Bond film since 1962, so it marks the 50th anniversary of that occasion. And let me tell you something...this film is beyond awesome. Daniel Craig returns for this third time and now he fits very comfortable in the role of the super spy. I mean he fits really good. The film begins in Turkey with Bond being assisted by a field agent named Eve (wonderful performance by Naomie Harris) tracking down a stolen hard drive of deep undercover British agents. This leads to a frenetic chase by car, then motorcycle, then train. Things go south, as the two agents fail and Bond is reported missing, most likely dead. M (played by the always terrific Judi Dench) has to take heat from her superiors about the botched affair while Bond spends his time recovering and drinking trying to get over his own personal demons.

Bond on motorbike in Turkey looking dapper

But once an explosion goes off at MI6 headquarters Bond comes home to do what he can. The banter between him and M is distinctly frosty but also caring. This is probably the best onscreen employer/employee relationship ever. Before Bond can go back into the field he must pass a series of physical and mental tests to deem him fit for duty. His skills are decidedly not up to snuff as he can barely hit a target with his PPK. And is severely out of shape. But pass he does..sort of and M sends him back out, much to the chagrin of Gareth Mallory (played by Ralph Fiennes), a new figure in MI6, who is worried that Bond might mess up again. Bond gets a new personal PPK by the new Q (played cleverly by Ben Whishaw) and they get to have some classic Bond/Q banter that recalls the old Bond films.

Okay Bond, let's get these buggers!

On to the mission which sends Bond to Shanghai after the hard drive to encounter the exotic Severine (played by French actress Berenice Marlohe) who winds up taking Bond to her employer and the villain of this film, Silva (a blonde Javier Bardem). Silva's introduction is a classic one as he meets Bond and tells him of a childhood story involving rats. From the first time you meet Silva, you know this guy is bad news. And once you find out his connection to M, it becomes a more personal film for Bond and M too.

The villain of Skyfall...Silva

Skyfall is amazing. I can't praise it enough. I know some have complained of not enough action and being too long but this film is more than just about action. I think it's a great story about three people (Bond, M, and Silva) who are haunted by their past sins and must confront them and each other. This film is gorgeous to look at. The cinematography is excellent by Roger Deakins. Taut direction by Sam Mendes. A great music score by Thomas Newman, who supplies the Bond theme quite a few times through out the film. Also Craig gets to drop a few more one liners that was sorely missed in his first two outings. But he doesn't get carried away with them, just the right amount. The action scenes when they do come are quite thrilling. From the opening chase sequence to a thrilling fight sequence in a Shanghai skyscraper between Bond and an assassin.
There's also the exciting subway chase/courtroom shoot-out that will get your adrenaline going. And then things end with a standoff at Bond's childhood home between him, M, family friend Kincade (played by wily Albert Finney) and a whole passel of Silva's men. The performances are all top notch, especially Craig, Dench and Bardem. They form quite the fractured trio and you are fully vested in their relationship and how it all will end. I also love the homages to the classic Bond films like the aston Martin Craig keeps in storage and finally gets to drive, the introduction of Q and a new Moneypenny as well. Wait till you see her..she's cool as can be. Oh and the theme song by Adele...heavenly!

Bond going old school on some fools

All in all, Skyfall is one of the best Bond films ever. And one of the best films by far of 2012. It's great having you back James! Can't wait for your next adventure.
Eve draws down on someone

The exotic Severine

Bond and Severine take a little boat ride

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