When MGM decided to reboot James Bond with Casino Royale, it was met with a little skepticism – thankfully, with the direction of Martin Campbell, the film worked and was met with universal acclaim. Its sequel, Quantum of Solace, wasn’t as fortunate but even through success and failure, the new franchise never really felt like a 007 film – Skyfall rectifies this and then some!
MI6 finds itself under attack from an unknown cyber-terrorist and as always, James Bond is reluctantly recruited by M, but this time the future of British intelligence is at stake and his latest mission sees him travelling across exotic locales in an attempt to find the villain before he leaks the identities of all the undercover MI6 agents abroad.
It’s fair to say that Bond films are typically brainless spy movies but the same cannot be said about Skyfall, its smart script is highly cerebral, delving into Bonds past, his ailing mental state, and his personality beyond the Martinis and Aston Martins. With that in mind, can Skyfall truly be considered a faithful film in the Bond style? To be honest, this is more of a 007 movie than the previous Craig films, specifically Casino Royale which was a great spy flick but lacked that archetypal Bond execution. Skyfall not only reintroduces familiar icons of the franchise that were missing (the Q character for instance), but revisits Bond history, making fun of the admittedly campy plots that defined the series. 2012 is the year of Bond – 50 years in fact – and Skyfall doesn’t hide the fact that it’s in full blown party mode.
Skyfall brings Bond into a new era; Casino Royale was a gritty reboot typical in style of the 2000′s, but the latest film takes the story full circle into a retrospective origin tale and an entirely satisfying one at that. This move of course rounds up this first chapter of the new James Bond series, so whatever comes next is anyone’s guess.
As tradition goes, this would not be a James Bond movie without its loony villain, and Javier Bardem stepped up to the plate for this one in true foreign actor style. His character is probably the campiest of all the cast but it’s a playful throwback to the past and signifies a shift towards a new caliber of villain, not the predictably malicious variety that were seen in the past Craig films. Bardem adds some spice to the film, you’d love him if you didn’t hate him and even though his moves aren’t all that original, he’s different enough to stand out as one of 007′s most sinister villains.
Another interesting development in Skyfall is Sam Mendes’ decision to put the Bond Girls on the back seat for once (unless you care to consider M as Bond Girl) – he takes away all the sexist bull and evolves the film into a production that is slick and stylish, and even though sex plays a role, it doesn’t envelope the film in the same way that the previous Bond films have…it’s almost as if the series has finally decided to grow up and enter an era of maturity, and a welcome change it is.
As with all ambitious plots, there is a caveat, and in this case it would be an excessive running time. Skyfall comes it at almost two and a half hours and it isn’t always fast paced, often stumbling into scenes that tend to stagnate the plot with dialogue that isn’t always necessary. But regardless of this, the film is rewarding and as is the case with all great action films, it must be seen on the big screen!
Skyfall is not just for Bond fans, but for fans of action cinema, mystery, drama…actually, it’s for anyone who loves a good night at the movies.
The Bottom Line
In spite of it’s absurdly long running time, Skyfall is a welcome return for James Bond following the abysmal Quantum of Solace. Skyfall is a perfect blend of intrigue and action – an intelligent Bond film that reintroduces staples of the series that finally make the rebooted franchise seem like it belongs in the long running Ian Fleming series.