Movie Review: Skyfall

I wasn’t expecting much from Skyfall. Leaving a bad taste in my mouth like an expired salad dressing, Quantum of Solace’s syncopated rhythm simply didn’t bode well with the underlying fact that it was rather dull. Sure, there were explosions, gunfights and car chases, but it was executed with little flourish and it ultimately felt like Marc Forester was anxiously referring to James Bond for Dummies throughout the entire development process as he shifted uncomfortably in his director chair, sweating profusely while wondering if he could surmount the momentous task of making a film that exceeded Casino Royale (2006). Having little notable experience in the genre and measuring up to only about 5’10” (Bond standards are a bit higher than the average), critics argued that Daniel Craig would perform as a bumbling and clumsy lead in a manner reminiscent of a 5th grader wearing his Dad’s blazer which is a few sizes too big. Ultimately, Craig defenestrated almost all the criticism leveled against him, performing the role with authority and adding a sense of welcomed vulnerability that developed the otherwise stagnant character of James Bond, who was becoming a caricature of himself. Quantum of Solace nullified almost everything that Casino Royale accomplished (yes, it was that bad). So—does Skyfall deliver?

Yes. Yes, it does. Like every good Bond film, the opening scene captivates the viewer and makes the adrenaline flowing, and in this case we get a car chase in Istanbul that hectically turns into a fistfight on top of a moving cargo train. The stakes are high—if Bond doesn’t recover a stolen hard drive full of sensitive information about agents who have infiltrated terrorist cells, the stability of the entire world is at risk. Thankfully, the film manages to keep up the kinetic energy of the bombastic introduction without absolutely overwhelming the viewer. Although Skyfall’s first few minutes are indicative of a “typical” Bond film, the overall result is anything but. No longer is the Bond universe stuck in a perpetual limbo. This time around, Bond and several other main characters are especially cognizant of their age due to certain events and criticism from outside parties, and this is especially relevant because people have also been leveraging the same criticism against the 007 series! Skyfall doesn’t stray too far from the series’ roots because its got all the characteristics of the quintessential Bond film (car chases, villains “exotic beauties”, etc)—however, the difference here is that they take a backseat to the more essential parts of a good Bond film. I could clearly see that Skyfall took a few pages from The Dark Knight, with the overall tempo of the film and role of the villain in regards to the plot advancement being relatively similar; furthermore, Roger Deakin’s cinematography in the film is of similar caliber to The Dark Knight, which is to say that it’s beautiful. I’d also like to applaud Javier Bardem for his excellent portrayal as the eccentric-computer-hacker-gone-rogue Raoul Silva, who will perhaps be remembered as one of the best bond villains of all time. All the more satisfyingly, the climax brings the series full-circle in a highly memorable finale that teases the viewer with little scraps of Bond’s childhood that overall add to the authenticity of the character (and the film!).

“You know the rules of the game,” an exasperated M tells Bond, “You’ve been playing it long enough!”. It’s been 50 years of Bond films and I’m glad that the series has finally become “grown up”. The only criticism I have is that the Bond girl was rather flimsy and underdeveloped this time around and that there were a few “plot choices” that were a little ill fitting. I highly recommend Skyfall to every Bond fan out there and to anyone who’s just looking for an intelligent and self-aware blockbuster.

Andrew Walker, Staff Writer

Posted by on November 28, 2012. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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