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11/09/2012

Movie review: Skyfall is a smart, deliberate and very different James Bond

Daniel-craig-skyfall3The tweaking of the James Bond franchise continues with Daniel Craig going through real-life stuff with a real background. He apparently has parents. Or had parents.
This is what happens when you put director Sam Mendes in charge of James Bond; missing from "Skyfall" is the typical Mendes rant that all people are married people are bored and that marriage sucks. Mendes does that well.

He also did Bond well, without the social commentary.

Armed with a loaded cast, a decent budget to spend on production, the latest Bond is smart, deliberate and slightly alters the traditional Bond story arc.

The story: M (Judi Dench) is being pushed out, primarily because agents are getting killed on her watch and a giant list of undercover agents is being exposed. Now the whole MI-6 program is in jeopardy of being scrapped due to budget cuts ... just like real life.
James Bond (Daniel Craig) is going through a career crisis, and appears to no longer have it.
The bad guy behind the M's problems is former MI-6 agent Silva (Javier Bardem), who is part hacker/part master bad guy who really wants to see his former boss burn.

Skyfall-trailer-pic-7-008The People: Craig really has put his own face on the Bond franchise. Nothing he does as James Bond looks anything like the Sean Connery/Roger Moore/Pierce Brosnan versions.
Dench can pretty much steal any scene she is in.
Ralph Fiennes is a solid addition as a British government guy.
Naomie Harris should have a bigger role.
Bad guy Javier Bardem looks like Christopher Walken's bad guy in View to a Kill. Bardem is good. Not great.

Action: The opening sequence includes a train, motorcycles, running, guns, etc. After this the movie really slows down into more of a conventional drama rather than your typical Bond shoot 'em, chase 'em flick. The last 40 minutes, however, are nearly constant action and include a pair of extended action sequences. 

Skyfall-naomie-harris-bond-girl-daniel-craigEye candy: Naomie Harris is introduced as Eve, whom we should expect to be around for more of the next Bond movies. Berenice Marlohe is technically this film's "Bond" girl but ... her role is not huge.
For fans of Daniel Craig, he takes his shirt off a lot.

Scenery: It was filmed on location in Turkey, China, London and Scotland. Scotland wins the prize as the best - stunning, and eery, scenery.

Holes: Nothing major; the exposed-agent-list is getting a bit old. Mission Impossible, anyone?

Is this the best Bond ever? It is arguably the most "different" Bond ever. Try not to compare it to Golden Eye, For Your Eyes Only because it's not those films. No typical corny Bond jokes about sex, and the film is mostly without humor.

Should you see it: Yes. No need to see it on IMAX. This is a very good Bond. Just know that it's two hours and 23 minutes, it's not a race but it does the franchise very well.

 

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Comments

Rich

This was the worst Bond movie ever made. It was dark, bleak, miscast in part, poorly directed, overly long,lacking in gagetry etc. In fact, if it was not called a Bond movie it could have passed for any bloody shoot em up piece of junk.

Griff

I agree with Rich. This Bond movie just wasn't a Bond movie. It didn't have enough story development, at least thoughtful story development, and the different story lines and characters felt incoherent. Conflict in the film felt rather arbitrary and random. I thought Craig was great and Bardem was good but could have been better if his character had more realistic motives and was more understandable. I also thought the ending got a little corny with lines like... "I've been ready since before you were born" and "welcome to Scotland" (not exact) from Kinkade, a suddenly relevant character who literally came out of nowhere. I also thought it stole a lot from The Dark Knight and The Bourne Trilogy. What started with a great chase scene and classic Bond chilling on the beach just got weird and stupid. Still a fun, impressive action film, but one that leave's an unfamiliar taste in your mouth, foreign from Bond films.

Amanda

Great review! I’m glad to hear so many good things about this movie. A couple of my DISH co-workers and I have been excited about seeing Skyfall for a long time now. We’re actually having a Daniel Craig Bond night before we go to the theater. I rented Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace from Blockbuster @ Home, which I have through my DISH account. It’s so convenient for me to just have the DVDs mailed to me since I never have time to go rent movies at the store these days. It’s been forever since I’ve seen these movies, so I’m looking forward to refreshing my memory.

Joe Jones

Bond has lost its way. If I want grim and gritty then I will watch the bourne identity, they do this kind of thing way better. Bond was always about gadgets, glamour and humour. I don't even count the Daniel Craig era as Bond.

cesar hernandez

this movie sucked. It dragged forever. No story line or action. The best thing they killed (the bond girl). No good fighting scenes. this movie sucked

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