If you’re a fan of the James Bond franchise, then look no further. Skyfall is the best James Bond film yet with more action and nostalgia than ever before.
I have to start with the cast. If you’ve seen Casino Royale, you already know that Daniel Craig is ranked in the top 3 of the best actors to play 007. Quantum of Solace might have swayed you–it almost ruined the franchise–but Skyfall is Daniel Craig embodying James Bond completely in an adventure that breathes new life into the series. I always thought that Craig looked older than he is and that he always seemed to be in pain, but let’s face it, Daniel Craig looks like the first Bond who actually does a pull-up and some crunches now and again. Craig has the acting cred to be able to take the character of Bond and bring something fresh so that we see sides of him that haven’t been explored even in the past fifty years. What I also love about him is that his sarcasm and humor don’t come out through dialogue, but his actions.
Javier Bardem is…well…crazy. I don’t think that there’s an actor who is quite as creepy as Mr. Bardem and I’m willing to bet money on that. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but Bardem’s portrayal of Silva, a scorned individual, is wonderful to watch. He isn’t afraid of James in the least–in fact, he seems more amused by him–and doesn’t seem to really care about anything other than his one particular mission in life. This is a fresh take on a Bond villain because it isn’t about world domination, but something much more personal and emotional to James’ life. I will say this: Silva’s introductory monologue–filmed in one long take–is a very heart-warming story about rats on an island that I will never forget and the best intro I’ve seen in a while in any film.
Judi Dench is M, like always. However, in Skyfall we see a more sincere intimacy between her and Bond that once again drives the film’s sense of nostalgia by stepping away from worldwide catastrophe and making things gritty and personal. Judi Dench is getting up there in age and watching her and Daniel Craig combat the modern age draws us closer to these characters. Newcomers to the films, Ralph Fiennes and Naomie Harris are great to watch–particularly the very beautiful, Naomi Harris (sorry, Ralph). Skyfall also introduces us to the brand new Q, played by Ben Whishaw, whose mousy and snide demeanor remind you of Desmond Llewelyn although the brilliant age-gap between Craig and Whishaw make for an amusing dynamic between Bond and Q. These characters set us up for building the franchise again to what it originally was and makes me excited for the next Bond film.
Like I said before, I don’t want to give too much away of the plot, but Skyfall’s is perfect for reviving the series. It isn’t about world-domination or some megalomaniac threatening to blow up the world with a giant laser. It’s an emotional, personal battle with the past and what the future may bring. It also delves into the concept of why we even need spies like James Bond to exist during modern times and with modern technology. John Logan (The Last Samurai, Any Given Sunday, and Gladiator) was one of the writers of the film and I like to think that he influenced the story in the direction it took. Sam Mendes took the helm as director this time and once again used his power of creating very personal scenes to give this Bond movie more soul than most have had in the past. Mendes also does a wonderful job with the action sequences in this film and proves again that he is a director that can entertain and move.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the James Bond films. That’s 50 years of memories of watching your favorite Bond moments and Bond girls. Sitting in the theater, I examined the audience and realized that my girlfriend and I were the youngest people there. Everyone was in their mid-forties to late sixties and seeing that was moving. These people could probably remember going to see Sean Connery and Roger Moore when they were children. Skyfall hones this level of nostalgia and wields it masterfully to create a film that reminds you why you’ve been going to the theater and watching this character for five decades. I’ve been watching the Bond films since I was a kid. I’d rent them, I’d watch them every Thanksgiving when they run the marathons. I was thrilled watching Skyfall because it took the best qualities–and cars–of the old films and increased the action and drama. As soon the opening credits roll and Adele’s “Let The Sky Fall” starts to play–the best song she’s ever done–and the Bond girl silhouettes start swimming, me and every other person in the audience were thrilled to have Bond back with all of the classic mystique and a few new tricks.
If you love action films and spy-thrillers, go see Skyfall. If you like even one James Bond film, go see Skyfall because it’s the best one yet. And if you just don’t have anything else to do, but you want to be thoroughly entertained and not feel like you’ve just wasted ten dollars at the theater, then go see Skyfall.
I give Skyfall: 9/10