Before I begin, I must admit that I am by no means a Bond aficionado. In fact, I have only seen 15 of the 23 Bond films and most of those are due to my appreciation of Casino Royale (2006). Prior to that, I had only seen Moonraker (1979) and the Pierce Brosnan movies. With the exception of Goldeneye I wasn’t a fan of any of them.
However in 2006 my friends dragged me to see Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. Up until then all I thought about the movie was, “Who cares the James Bond has blonde hair?” But, after seeing it, it goes down as one of my favorite action movies of all time. It made me go back and watch all of the Connery movies which I am now a fan of. But, make no mistake they are not like Craig’s version of the British spy. I also enjoyed Quantum of Solace, and I’ve been waiting with major anticipation to see Skyfall.
Well this weekend I got my chance to see the 23rd Bond film in 50 years and it did not disappoint. I was hooked from the exciting and action packed chase scene involving motorbikes, cars, and trains all the way to the intense and suspenseful final showdown in a deserted Scotland moor. Sam Mendes directed this installment. He is famous for award winning movies Revolutionary Road (2008) and American Beauty (1999). Mendes brought something to the Bond series that I feel was missing from the prior installments, a deep rooted storyline that introduces the backstory of our favorite characters.
We see the relationship and care that “M” has with Bond, which is in contrast and overshadowed by her complete sense of duty to M I 6 and the safety of England. We get to experience a vulnerable James Bond who isn’t the perfect spy that we’ve always known him to be. He questions himself after a near death experience which gives him pause and thus slows him down.
This time around, M I 6 is under attack by maniacal former agent named Silva, played with a brilliant twist of insanity by Javier Bardem, who seeks revenge on “M.” James Bond is aided by a new batch of characters, but familiar figures are still present to assist him in protecting “M” unrelenting rampage.
Skyfall was the most beautifully shot film in the series which is all due to the cinematography of Roger Deakins, who is one of the great Directors of Photography of all time. The scenes in China alone look amazing and should make anyone who appreciates photography fall in love with the medium.
At times, the movie can feel a bit slow paced but it picks up. This is an improvement from Quantum of Solace (2008), that I felt had as many slow moving scenes as it did action sequences. Skyfall keeps the tempo up for the most part, which is a quality I appreciate in the series. The opening title sequence, which the Bond series is famous for, was wonderfully animated, but I personally didn’t enjoy Adele’s title song set against the morbid feel of the opening. To me, I just didn’t feel like it worked. I love the song, which has been on the radio for a while now. I just don’t think it fit with the title sequence.
Overall, I personally think this was a great movie to premiere during the 50th anniversary year of the Bond films. It shined a new light on the character and had a story that new fans, young and old, could enjoy. Speaking of the longtime fans of the series, there are a lot of hidden gems for you all to experience, like a vintage Aston Martin I think the fans will certainly recognize. These are nice little nods to the old films in the series. This is a movie I think everyone would really enjoy seeing in theaters. Definitely check it out if you are in the mood for a great action movie with a fantastic story and great visuals.
Thank you kind readers.
Michael C. Kimball is an independent filmmaker and movie blogger. Follow him on Twitter @Pureclass13.