Movie Review Skyfall

 Movie Review Skyfall

The James Bond franchise mirrors The Dark Knight Rises and rises well.

James Bond Skyfall poster

Her past may destroy his future.

The ultimate spy had a reboot in 2006 when Daniel Craig took on the role of 007. He followed the successful run of Pierce Brosnan, who felt he was simply getting too old to play Bond. Casino Royale gave us a look at the early Bond- and just as Craig was being promoted into the shoes of the Ian Fleming character, James was promoted to the level of 00 Agent with a license to kill. It was a risky move to make the usually disarming and charming Bond so physically brutal and violent. He was described as a ‘blunt instrument’ by M (wonderfully played by Judi Dench) and we could all see the rough edges that would be smoothed over with confidence and sharpened with experience. In his first outing, he didn’t get the right bad guy, didn’t get the wrong girl and took one hell of a beating by movie’s end.

Quantum of Solace played out more as a part II and literally took place mere minutes after Casino Royale. An emotionally compromised Bond appears to be more interested in vengeance than saving the Crown. By the end of the film, we’ve been given many classic James moments and Bond had found his stride. I’ve seen this movie several times and I still have no idea what the title means.

Having dark and questionable deeds from the past resurfacing to wreak havoc is a common theme in stories. The fallen angel is always presented as a perfect match for any hero to go up against. We’ve seen this in other Bond Films and most recently in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. Both of our heroes are inactive, aging and losing the spark that energizes their spirit and fires up their desire to save the world from evil. Both films feature a formidable foe with the same training as our heroes, but seem to relish their roles as wronged agents seeking to set things right. We are shown antagonists- so focused and sharp, they make all the gadgets and gizmos seem like useless gimmicks and expose the tragic weaknesses of our heroes.

Moving on to the main movie

Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Road to Perdition [Daniel Craig was in this too]) takes the idea of reflections and weaves his visuals around this theme. Just as the evil Silva (well done by the talented Javier Bardem [No Country For Old Men]) is a reflection of what Bond could become, we see Bond being reflected in mirrors and glass as false images, smoke and mirrors and double-takes are repeated (ahem) throughout the movie. It’s a wonderful mix of the old and new coming together with a healthy mix of twists, turns and interesting background information thrown in.

This is a Bond movie doing what a Bond movie does: thrill us with action sequences, make us wish we were James Bond and then make us glad we’re not James Bond…and finally make us wish there was a real James Bond doing the dark, daring and dangerous things to keep the world safe. But, just as The Dark Knight Rises reminded us, there is always a price to pay. You can’t get down in the dirt without getting dirty and the dirty little secrets always find their way into the light. Bond pays a very high price and the series is given another new start. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and found the balance between frenetic action and quiet moments perfect. Skyfall has the right James Bond, the right bad guy and the right music. The title makes sense and I sense some more great Bond movies coming.

Bond is cold, the woman is hot, the bad guy warm and the MI6 is frozen in time. This is a fine addition to the Bond franchise and glad to see the classic quote in the last frame- ‘Bond will return’. I’ll be waiting. I’m not a movie critic; I’m just critiquing a movie.

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