Movie review: Skyfall

November 16, 2012

By MIRANDA FORESMAN

I have a soft spot for 007, and I always have. Like many women, when I was younger, Sean Connery as James Bond was the ideal man, shaken, not stirred. And the accent. That’s not a voice you heard in the middle of nowhere West Tennessee. He was inexplicably exciting, even when I was 8.

We watched the James Bond movies on marathon weekends when it aired on TBS or TNT. I distinctly remember being so upset when my parents tried to explain Timothy Dalton in the role of Bond, and I sulked because Mr. Dalton was not the real 007. No offense, Tim, I didn’t care much for Roger Moore, either.

Years passed, and I was less displeased with Pierce Brosnan as the iconic Bond in the series reboot, GoldenEye, due to his tall, dark handsomeness. And the Irish lilt didn’t hurt. Dame Judi Dench brought a sharp, witty angle to traditionally male role of M. I really liked GoldenEye, and recall that the exploding pen was on my Christmas list that year. Brosnan carried the next three Bond films with his charisma, though the new century called for a new type of 007.

When Daniel Craig was chosen for Casino Royale in 2006, I was among the doubters of the new moody Bond, blond but not bubbly. And he fell for the girl, and Bonds don’t love their girls.

But I digress; Craig did Bond well enough to get him two more movies, the most recent of which broke records in the United Kingdom two weekends ago at its opening. The United States premier weekend proved to be the best grossing James Bond movie ever.

Personally, I loved Skyfall. From minute one, with Adele singing me through the opening montage, I was hooked. The color scheme deviated hugely from the last Bond flick which was bright, sandy, and a little too gritty all the way around for my taste.  Skyfall is dark, rich, seductive, and surprising.

Reincarnation motifs are woven throughout the film: Agent 007 begins the movie by taking a bullet, then re-emerging from the shadows to protect a changing MI6. Bond must accept that his new Q is barely more than a teenager, though a very clever young man. M is forced to look at the evolution of her agency, defending its very necessity in a technologically brave new world. Our villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) is an eerily cheerful former agent who meant to die when his mission was compromised. Life, however, wouldn’t let him. A failed cyanide capsule kept him among the living.

Silva’s evil thrives on the successful use of new technology and a grudge against M, who may have been the one behind his near-death. Bardem and Craig tangle as the former and the current, the killer and the protector, the mastermind and the rat in the maze. Their chemistry is exciting, driving, more so than Bond’s relationship with either ‘Bond Girl. Of course, I don’t watch James Bond films for the girls, so if that’s your motive, stay home.

The element of Skyfall that surprised me most is the inside-look at the enigmatic James Bond’s childhood home. Who knew we’d get to see what makes Bond tick? The land from which he sprang? The combination of nostalgia and purpose for visiting Skyfall completes a circle that is deep for a Bond film.

If it happens that you have a couple of hours this weekend, get wrapped up in some espionage, wit, action, and drama. Admire the new Walther PPK and enjoy Daniel Craig’s third and best turn as Agent 007. I think you’ll have a good time.
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4 Comments

  1. choprzrul says:

    I think that history will treat Daniel Craig, as 007, very well. He is rapidly approaching Sean Connery levels in my eyes.

    The opening of Skyfall was the best Bond opening to date (well, at least on the big scree, don’t know how it will play on TVs).

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  2. Tay says:

    I have to agree with you both almost completely. The one thing I would say though is give timothy dalton another look. He was much more the ian flemming bond than the others, except craig. In my opinion it was the films themself that were the sour note to the dalton years. Bad directing, sript writing and we were still coming off the moore comicbook bond that made those films. Don’t forget Lazenby he too did a very good job but also his sole film I believe was troubled with production rather than talent. Btw “Her majesties secret service” was the one film that bond got married in.

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  3. r0y says:

    I saw this while in Tulsa, OK this past weekend (saw it in IMAX fortunately!). It was by far one of the best Bond films I’ve seen. I loved Sean Connery as Bond, but as a reader of Ian Flemming, found him a bit too “good” – Roger Moore just took the franchise somewhere else (good in it’s own “perfect spy” world way, but definitely not Flemming’s Bond).

    The only other guy I’ve liked as Bond is this one, really, Daniel Craig. I am very happy to see a nice “change up” in the Bond series (new Moneypenny, new Q, new M, etc). The villain was fantastic and a perfect mix of psycho and betrayed comrade. There could have been a little more depth to the back story of him and his connection with the Chinese, etc. but it already is a 2-hour movie.

    I actually appreciated the toned-down sex scenes (or complete lack thereof, essentially) and the violence wasn’t as gratuitous as other “modern” films. I will have no problem with my 11-year old and 13-year old boys seeing this. What did they do instead of sex and violence? Had a damn fine action movie, that’s what! Big, bold and BOND! No fancy gadgeting, no perfect spying – just a near perfect interpretation of what I think Flemming was going for in the novels.

    tl;dr version:
    Best spy movie I have seen in a while! Worth every penny.

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    • r0y says:

      Just an update, I re-watched this with pre-teen boys, both of whom are not familiar with the whole Bond thing (gasp!) – anyway, for them the movie dragged on and was not so great. More of a “meh, it’s ok” in their eyes.

      So I began thinking: maybe this is a great Bond film for Bond fans, but perhaps not so much for what small portion of the planet has never experienced James Bond.

      As a long-time Bond fan, I stand by my point: one of the Best Bond movies to come out.

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