TBTS Reviews: Skyfall
I should begin this review by saying that I’m nothing if not a huge James-Bond-head. By that, I mean that I was indoctrinated into Albert Broccoli’s seminal secret agent at a young age, my father himself a massive fan of the franchise and showing me Bond classics like Diamonds are Forever and Live and Let Die at a (probably too) young age. As such, and I don’t want to boast, but I feel fairly confident that I can go toe-to-toe with the best of Bond trivialists — and have distinctive thoughts on the franchise. My rankings aren’t earth-shattering, and they’re probably similar to your own: Connery was the best, Moore was great if you consider he was kind of a cartoony charicature (but really grew on you), Dalton was a little grimy and Brosnan really fit the part. At the current time, however, I’d definitely slide Daniel Craig in right under Moore — you have to give Moore the benefit of the doubt because he played Bond for so long — as Craig still takes a back seat to the phenomenal Connery but is definitely working his way up to number two status if he keeps it up.
At the beginning of 2011, the entire Bond franchise was in danger of being lost forever. MGM had gone completely bankrupt and work on the 23rd Bond film was halted indefinitely. Then some money freed up, director Sam Mendes stepped in, Craig signed on and we were off once again. Thus, we have Skyfall. And oh, it’s great to have Bond back again. Mightily.
Daniel Craig, who also has the distinction of being my non-sexual man-crush, the equivalent for me that Steve McQueen was to a generation of males before Craig, stars once again as 007 — this time opening the film by going off the grid after a mission gone bad to return only after a computer genius madman Mr. Silver (Javier Bardem) sets his sights on the destruction of Britain’s MI-6 offices. In particular, Silver wants a piece of M (Judi Dench), for reasons I won’t disclose here. As Bond works his way back into the MI-6 force, he begins to investigate the connections between Silver and M as the two build toward the inevitable showdown.
I’m not going to tell you any more details about the plot, suffice to say that Skyfall divulges more details about the formerly-mysterious 007 than any film to date. It also re-introduces Bond’s quartermaster “Q” (Ben Wishaw as a young techie, a worthy follow-up to Desmond Llewelyn’s longtime and lovable characterization of the same weapons wingman) and introduces some new (read: old) characters back into the new-millenium Bond fold. Dench is strong and formidable as always as M, and Bardem is a welcome return to the flamboyantly insane Bond villains of old. Ralph Fiennes also co-stars as, well, you’ll just have to find out; and vet Albert Finney pops up as an old friend in the final reel.
Even though Mendes’ Bond gives himself up to a little more emotion than previous directors have allowed previous Bonds to do, the entirety of Skyfall still feels like a rollicking throwback to the solid 007 tales of the sixties and seventies. And for the trained Bond fan eye, there are easter eggs abound (one particular joke relies upon a working knowledge of Goldfinger’s infamous Aston Martin). The action setpieces are solidly edge-of-seat and the exposition scenes, which could have been a little heavy, never drag and shed new light around every corner.
Is Skyfall the best of the Daniel Craig Bond films? That’s a good topic of debate. It’s definitely better than 2008’s Quantum of Solace but probably a hair less solid than 2006’s introduction to Craig-as-Bond Casino Royale (but the latter opinion is splitting hairs, really). What’s definite is that Skyfall (and wait till you find out what “Skyfall” is, Bond fans) cements Craig as a top-notch James Bond who hopefully won’t put the cufflinks away anytime soon, you can read about the casino inspired movie here: scr888-casino. It also shows what happens when you put a big-name director and seasoned scribes on a Bond film, as Mendes and writers Neal Purvis, John Logan and Robert Wade know their stuff; they’re not just making an action movie, they’re making a true Bond film. Skyfall, as an entry into the James Bond oeuvre, is a true killer. And in an era where all our childhood heroes are being reimagined toothlessly or disappointingly, it’s nice to know that 007 is still as unflappably cool as ever.