Skyfall: Movie Reviews
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By John Chard February 21, 2017
How safe do you feel?
Bond 23 and 007 has to literally come back from the dead when a stolen hard-drive makes M (Dench) look bad at a time when a face from her past comes homing into blood thirsty view.
There is one sure fire fact in cinema that nobody can dispute, that of there never ever being a James Bond film that all Bondphiles will agree on. From each corner of the spectrum will come arguments that said Bond film is not gritty enough, not fun enough, not enough sex, not enough action, not enough fantastical stunts and etc etc etc. Well that's fine of course, we all have our peccadilloes we prefer in our Bond movies, but we do live in different times now, the world has changed, and so has Bond. You may not get the ultimate Bond you want, but this is a 21st Century Bond and a new era of 007 is upon us, something which makes Skyfall even the more bolder and braver because it marks the 50th anniversary by blending the old with the new and mostly achieving brilliant results.
Skyfall allows us to bathe in nostalgia whilst also forcing us to re- evaluate just where we are at in terms of our beloved super secret agent. One of the great things about this Bond is that there is a bubbling under current of time's importance delicately perched on each side of James Bond's shoulders. Is he (and M etc) outdated? Or is the future still in need of such operatives/organisations? Director Mendes and his team don't take any of the easy options that were clearly available to them to answer the question, they instead build a film around Bond and M as characters, embrace the traditions of the series and hit us hard in head and heart.
The plot of Skyfall as written is simple, absolutely nailed on it is straight and true to Hollywood conventions, but what fills out the simple plot is a series of Bondian delights, thrills spills and emotionally splintered kills. The stunning pre-credits sequence sees Bond traverse the rooftops of Istanbul on a motorcycle and then fight on top of a speeding train. Only to then find himself expendable. Which leads to Daniel Kleinman's title credits sequence that is filled with ominous portents of death and blood, in turn backed by the wonderfully Bondian of old title song warbled by Adele. It's clear at this point that this Bond movie is nodding to traditional values whilst promising to deliver some emotional pain. And so it proves.
A washed up Bond enters the fray, and he convinces, he's dishevelled, unshaven and unfit, but he's still a tough bastard who can drink hard and stare a scorpion down. He'll be back soon, we know this, and he will be in wonderful physical shape, and loyal to his surrogate mother for sure. Ah, but there's the adversary on the scene now, a villain to finally give Craig's Bond something to fret about. It's Javier Bardem's (perfect) Silva, a cyber terrorist with a shock of blonde hair, a nasty dental trick and a devilish sexiness that unnerves during an interrogation scene; to which Bond cheekily opens up some wink wink possibilities. There is other sexual tension in the film as well, not just a steamy shower scene, but the ongoing banter with Naomie Harris' (excellent) Eve that positively fizzes with smirking innuendo.
But ultimately this comes down to the love between a man and a woman, the kind that is so different to the type that has so often underpinned a Bond movie. Bond will kill or be killed for M, and how marvellous to see a director really able to give Judi Dench the direction she so deserves, and Bond, in Craig's magnetic and gritty hands, responds in kind to deliver a last half hour as good as any in the 50 years of Bond on film. As we know, all turf is Bond's turf, but this time it really is HIS turf, and as a little back story comes seeping out, Bond gets to exorcise some demons whilst kicking considerable ass. Get ready Bondphiles, this has the emotional wallop only seen in the best Bond movies of old.
All the Bondian trappings are still here, exotic locales, gorgeous women, speeding vehicles, fights, stupendous stunts, bizarre lairs and balls out machismo. It's also funny! I myself commented when reviewing Quantum of Solace that it was pretty ace as an action film, but for many it's not Bondian enough, and the truth of the matter is Bond still needs to have a degree of fun, no matter how grim and gritty the story line is. Thankfully Skyfall is often a blast, with Craig (surely convincing even the most stubborn of dissenters how good a Bond he is) having the confidence and skill to lace his Bond's macho broody instinct with a desert dry wit and shrug of the shoulders nonchalance. Other side of the camera the tech credits are high, with Deakins proving to be one of the aces in the pack. His capturing of vistas, be it a neon city scape or a mountainous valley, are eye delights, his colour tones are beautiful, I promise you, nobody these days does golden browns like Deakins.
It's not the masterpiece that I or gazillions of others hoped for, and it does have flaws (new Q a bit too geeky safe, finale lacks a substantial battle with the villain) and remains simple in plot, but it's Bond's birthday and the birthday boy has been done proud by the makers. It's a new era Bond for sure, but that most definitely isn't a bad thing, it knows its past and it now knows its future, and without doubt we all still know the name. 9/10
By Kenneth Axel Carlsson January 30, 2017
Bond (Daniel Craig) is on another (important) mission somewhere in the big world, this time on the heels of someone who has stolen a hard drive with all the names of the British agents who work for MI6. On the mission, Mr. Bond is shot by one of his own (an agent named Eve, played by Naomie Harris) and presumed dead. However, Bond is not dead, and when he resurfaces, he jumps right into the game in the pursuit of an old agent called Silva (Javier Bardem), an old favorite of M (Judi Dench).
While Bond is out in the world, M discovers that someone, presumably Silva, has hacked their computers and threats to expose the true names of the British agents. However, it is also clear that the enemy has other plans, plans of terrorism. Bond is now in a race against time before more agents are revealed, or worse yet, before M is killed by their mysterious enemy. Fortunately, everything works out perfectly for 007, who finds the mysterious Silva with little effort.
OK, admittedly, this was a very short summary of the plot in Skyfall, but in all honesty, there isn't a big plot in this movie. I could have given some spoilers about the ending, and maybe added a bit about Mallory (Ralph fiennes), but really, this is an extremely simple plot. Not at all worthy of a big iconic character like James Bond.
It is classic 007, with everything thats part of such an adventure, like product placement (not a favorite of mine, in fact I get rather annoyed when its as obvious as the watch in the opening of the movie), car chases (in this case, more like a motorcycle chase across the roofs of some unknown city), beautiful women (which are exactly as shallow and pointless as you would expect), and lastly a total lack of emotions and realism.
I am not a big Bond fan, and haven't seen all of the movies in the series, so I am probably not the right person to review this movie. I do not understand what it is that draws people into the cinema time after time, to watch yet another Bond movie… when they can watch something original with a real plot and real characters. Perhaps these people like the shallow characters, who care little for the safety of the innocent people in the world, yes, I said it. Look carefully in the opening sequence, how the female agent cares little for the people on the bridge, as she shoots after the enemy. Later in that scene, she finds it really hard to shoot the enemy, because what if she hit Bond instead. I may be wrong in this assumption, but isn't MI6 here to protect the innocent people? Perhaps these people like the almost infinite number of one-liners that made my ears bleed at one point. Why are we treated this way? Do the people who makes these movies really think we are so stupid?
Before I actually say something nice about Skyfall, because I can do that, I just want to give a small piece of advice to future Bond villains, because who are we kidding, there will be more Bond movies in the future… my advice is this: Always remember to close the door behind you, whether its an actual door, or maybe a manhole (cover). If you don't do this, Bond will surely find you. But of course, perhaps you are dying to have him on your tail, in which case, you are doing it exactly right!
OK, something positive. Skyfall is a beautiful movie, in a very obvious (and superficial) way. The colors are just stunning, especially when we follow Bond swimming through the night of Shanghai, high above the streets. There is no denying the imagery and action of the movie, in every possible way, this is some of the best the world has to offer. I'd also like to give a shout out to Albert Finney, whose character (Kincade) raises the quality of the movie, and actually give it some human emotion.
The very last thing I want to say is this… why hire Sam Mendes for this movie? Why hire him when he is not allowed to use the powers that God have given him? Where are the human emotions, where are the dark humor, where are the personal stories that capture our hearts as much as our minds? If you want to watch a real Sam Mendes movie, I suggest the following American Beauty, Jarhead and even, Revolutionary Road.
_Last words... only watch this movie if you have nothing to do… at all… and if you are a hardcore fan of 007 and feel forced to watch every movie in the franchise. This movie reminds me why I only rarely watch big Hollywood blockbusters._
By GeekMasher January 30, 2017
Skyfall is a great movie. In my opinion the best proformas by Daniel Craig I have see in all his Bond movies. The title song was not to my taste like in previous movies. The story line is one of the most compelling I have seen in a while. Silva, played by Javier Bardem was excellent and he played him very well. All in all a very good movie.
By Travis Bell January 30, 2017
Skyfall was a solid movie in its own right but as a Bond movie, it was one of my all time favourites. Unlike Quantum of Solace, I felt like they actually took the time to tell this story and the pay off was worth it.
Something I found interesting is the idea about Bond getting old and how the job of an MI6 agent is not something you can do forever. It makes me wonder if they might explore some of these themes in the next movie.
It's true that the last 1/3 of Skyfall didn't feel like a Bond movie at all and I think that's why I loved it. The Daniel Craig Bond movies have always taken a different look at James Bond and Skyfall was no exception.
Like I said, great movie. Execution on all accounts were solid like you'd expect. I hope Mendes gets a chance to do the next film.