For 50 years old, James Bond hasn’t aged much. One might think a franchise that has lasted 23 movies and just under 100 hundred books written by different authors would wear a character out but somehow it hasn’t.
In fact with his newest film, Skyfall, Ian Fleming’s character just keeps getting better.
While the last Bond film Quantum of Solace wasn’t the best film in the world it continued the story and themes of the first film Casino Royal. This time around the character is brought back to his roots.
With this new film a new director, Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) and writer John Logan (The Avatar, Hugo) were brought in. The two do a great job of combining many of the themes that made Bond great in the past with the fast paced action of the last two films.
The basic plot of the film revolves around Bond’s faith in the woman that hired him, M, as an old agent from her past comes to haunt her. However, the real theme of the movie is one of reflection.
The main villain, Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem), represents what Bond or any spy could become after years of abuse for his country. Both Bond (Daniel Craig) and Raoul play off of each other quite well, as the first time that they’re on screen together is…uncomfortable for lack of a better term.
Unlike the past two Craig films, Bond and the villain spend a lot of time fighting and trying to out smart each other. While playing poker against Le Chiffre was quite interesting, watching Bond chase a villain through the London underground is a lot more exciting.
However, the real story of this film is the performance of Judi Dench. While Dench’s M has been one of the better characters over the past 7 films, Skyfall is her swan song. A lot of the film is revolves around her and the choices that she’s had to make in her lifetime and Dench leaves a lot on the screen.
Skyfall also introduced a number of new characters. However, they’re not given screen time that they deserve. More Q next time please as Ben Whishaw gives a solid performance.
One of the main staples of Bond films is the locations and stunts. Skyfall delivers on both of those things as watching Bond jump through a train in Istanbul, fighting in building in Shanghai and then setting traps of mercenaries in the hills of Scotland is very exciting and really pop off of the screen.
In the end the thing that surprised me about this film was not how good it was, but the reveal of the title of the film. While I won’t say what Skyfall means, it is one of the most interesting aspects of the film and was something that I wasn’t expecting to see from this movie.
Skyfall is a great movie. It features a great villain, amazing action scenes, and a great performance from one of England’s best actors. Its only fault is not giving some of the new characters enough screen time. But what it does best is make you long for the next film.
Skyfall was directed by Sam Mendes and written by Neal Purvis Robert Wade and John Logan based upon characters created by Ian Fleming and was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment).