Movie review: Skyfall
November 16, 2012
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.