Review by Jude Felton
It may be hard to believe that it has been 50 years since Commander Bond made his first big screen appearance, but that really is how long it has been. Some of my earliest movie viewing experiences were of watching Roger Moore’s eyebrows going batshit crazy all over Europe. He was never my favorite Bond, as he was far too camp for the role, but he did appear in some fine flicks. You also have to understand that Duran Duran were the musical bane of my life, so having them do the A View to a Kill theme was murder to my ears.
The years have passed, and Messrs.’ Dalton and Brosnan have since carried the license to kill, to varying degrees of success. Then in 2006 Daniel Craig stepped into the role, and added a fresh shot of adrenaline to the Bond franchise. What? A blond Bond? Hell yes, and Casino Royale kicked ass. Even Quantum of Solace, which followed in 2008, was good fun, despite the naysayers. Then it went quiet, and we have had to wait 4 years for Craig to return to this iconic role. Was it worth the wait? Does a bear shit where it goddamn pleases?
Skyfall starts off with a humdinger of a chase that involves bikes, cars, cranes, trains, guns, fighting and breathtaking scenery in Turkey. Bond and his partner, Eve, are trying to get a stolen list of covert operatives’ back, one that could jeopardize many agents’ lives. Surprisingly this doesn’t go too well, and the long and short of it results in MI6 coming under attack, both in the physical sense and through cyber means, with M (Dame Judi Dench) becoming a target from both sides of the law.
Saddle up your horses folks, as it’s now down to Bond to keep M safe, get the list back and avoid attack from Javier Bardem’s Silva and his wacky haircut. Cue plenty of action, stunning set-pieces and a surprisingly localized Bond flick. Most of the action takes place in England, before shifting north to Scotland. Yes, there are still some nice Euro locations, such as Turkey, but for the most part this is a Brit flick, through setting and name, and it’s damned good fun.
For me, Daniel Craig has nailed the role of Bond; he adds a dark and brooding side, yet still manages to inject just the right amount of humor. Add to this he is actually has the build of a licensed killing machine, more in line with Connery’s classic Bond. Judi Dench is once again fantastic as M, with a little more vulnerability to her character than we have been used to, and she is joined by Bond newcomers Ralph Fiennes as Mallory and Ben Wishaw as Q, both of whom I hope we see in future Bond flicks. It was also fun to see Albert Finney pop up in the later stages as Kincade.
When you think of Bond you will instantly think Bond baddie, and thankfully Javier Bardem nails his role of Silva; silky smooth, cold as ice and just what you want from a Bond villain. I would have liked to have seen a little more of him, seeing as he doesn’t pop up until quite away into the film, but it is worth the wait.
Skyfall really is pure escapism from start to finish, it’s a darker Bond flick for sure, but entertainment is the name of the game here and that’s just what it delivers. The plot may well echo certain elements of another knightly big screen presence, but so what? This is damned good fun. Technically the film is pretty much flawless, as you might come to expect from a modern day 007 flick, and Sam Mendes directs it with aplomb. Hell, I’d like to see him come back and direct another one, although whether that will happen remains to be seen.
Skyfall is the Bond film of the future that continues Bond’s history and is 2 ½ hours that I will be returning to. With worldwide receipts of over $1 billion dollars I’m not quite sure who will read this having not already seen the film, but if you haven’t I suggest you do, especially if you are looking for a big budget movie with brains as well as brawn.
Skyfall delivers, big time.
Skyfall is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from MGM and 20th Century Fox.