The 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.
The 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.
Eye 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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