Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Skyfall reviewed

Daniel Craig’s stewardship of the mantle of Bond beginning with 2006’s Casino Royale brought with it a sense of realism that was not a staple of the franchise. However despite dropping the laser watch and exploding pen, Bond is probably the best he’s ever been. Audiences have evolved and there is now so many other “spy-gadget” movies like the Mission: Impossible series that people no longer feel there is anything missing from a Bond movie when our hero’s car doesn’t turn into a submarine. Much to our benefit, Skyfall’s creators have chosen to fill the void vacated by the improbable and infused the series with a… dare I say the over-used word ‘gritty’ realism that modern audiences seem to demand now from their action thrillers.

Craig has already made Bond his own and I think despite another long gap in the series due to legal woes, he’s got a couple more 007 outings left before he should be replaced [with Michael Fassbender if I or an equally competent producer is calling the shots]. In Skyfall Dame Judy Dench returns as M, matriarch of MI6 and Ralph Fiennes made an appearance as Mallory. I cannot fault the performances of Naomie Pirates of the Caribbean Harris as Eve, Ben The International Whishaw as an new Q or Javiar Bardem as Silva, the villain of the piece -  although the latter performance in places left me a little uncomfortable. Even the score from Thomas Newman, one of the most unremarkable composers in Hollywood today, was top notch and despite not being up to the standard of David Arnold it sounds good on screen and off.

Skyfall is still unmistakably a James Bond movie but with an alternative focus on the Bond character not seen since George Lazenby’s sublime performance in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In that movie, Bond was prepared to end his womanising ways and commit himself to marriage, here in Skyfall we are treated to a significant slice of the character’s history before he became the world’s greatest secret agent. Sam Mendez has done an incredible job with the material and has crafted a movie to rival Casino Royale in perfection as well as correcting the flaws of Quantum of Solace. It does seem like he’s not quite finished with what he wants to do so I hope he gets to continue the tale he started.

Final verdict: Bond as good as he has ever been - and more.

Colonel Creedon Rating:  *****

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