After complete derailment that was Quantum of Solace, Skyfall had to be the movie to get the series back on track. And it mostly does. Outside of a few quips, it is a well written Bond film with plenty of action.
The biggest Bond trope that didn’t sit well with me is with the villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). I really liked how Casino Royale‘s villain, Le Chiffre, was mostly a desperate gambler instead of the a man who is hellbent on seeing the end of the world. Silva’s doesn’t exactly follow the trope mold as his motivation is one of revenge, but he does seem to have a bizarre amount of resources and people who are willing to do his bidding.
This is the issue you have when you go with a more realistic tone. You really start to question what was previously not worth questioning. Why do these guys just do whatever Silva says? Do they not see their co-workers dropping like flies? Maybe the paycheck just ain’t worth it.
Bardem does make for a good Bond villian though. He was the right amount of creepy and cool I can’t help but to think that his hair was a bit of a nod to Christopher Walken’s Max Zorin from A View to A Kill.
My only other gripe is with the length of the film. Clocking in at almost 2 and a half hours, some of this film could be trimmed to a respectable 2 hours. The rest is all praise from here on in.
From the film’s opening sequence I knew I was in good hands. Director Sam Mendes (1917, American Beauty) shows that the the shaky and zoomed in cams from QoS are history by using them as only a device to allow the viewer to see what is happening. Imagine that! I could see Bond use a back hoe to keep the train car he is on from separating from the rest of the train. It is brilliant throwback to the old Bond doing the incredible but staying within the realm of possibility. Well, “movie possible” at least.
Moments later is when the unexpected happens. Bond is working with another agent on the field who is just given the order from “M” (Judi Dench) to take down the target in spite of him using Bond as a human shield. I assumed the other agent (I’m leaving her name out of this review because of spoilers) would be killed before she had the chance to take the shot. Bond would be on yet another mission to find out “who double crossed him”. But no, Bond is down!
Speaking of Judi Dench’s “M”, since her introduction in GoldenEye, her character has become better nuanced than Bond ever was. You can tell the writers enjoyed writing for her. Almost like how The Simpsons writers spent more time with Mr. Burns than another other character in during those early seasons. It was nice to see her get bumped up to a co-star level for Skyfall.
Now for the continuing competition with my wife, Sarah, to guess how long it would take Bond to first get laid during each of these films. Although I have been eliminated mathematically, there was still good times to be had. It was my turn to roll the dice and I got a *five* and a *four* which meant Sarah had to choose if Bond would get laid before or after 54 minutes. She choose over.
Craig Bond, that sly devil, had a fling with a local woman while he was in hiding 21 minutes in. Point goes to The Mars Man!
Sarah – 11
Mars – 8
Skyfall doesn’t exactly bring the Bond series back to a Casino Royale level of excellence, but it does easily leap over the low Quantum of Solace bar. The last 30 minutes or so does get a little Home Alone-ish but it is all well done and quite fun.
Get more Bond in you!
From Russia With Love
You Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Diamonds Are Forever
Live and Let Die
The Man With the Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
For Your Eyes Only
A View To A Kill
The Living Daylights
Licence To Kill
Tomorrow Never Dies
The World Is Not Enough
Die Another Day
Quantum of Solace
Never Say Never Again