SKYFALL: A REVIEW
“Everyone needs a hobby?”
“So what’s yours?”
SKYFALL sees Daniel Craig return a third time as the iconic Commander James Bond/007 of the MI6 in the 23rd movie instalment of the series created by Ian Fleming. In this movie, he plays a disillusioned 007 who must do what he knows best once again, against all odds, for the good of his country.
And boy, does he do it.
I’ll try not to reveal any spoilers.
Skyfall is arguably the best 007 movie in recent memory, and is a wonderful breath of fresh air after the tepid affair that was Quantum Of Solace (sounds like a Physics Professor named the movie), that highly forgettable mistake of a movie. In this movie, Sam Mendes brings a deft, quaint touch to the table, giving it an almost-nostalgic feel. It is a blend of the old and the new, as characterized by the locations, camera quality and general mood of the movie. The decision to hand Sam Mendes the reins has yielded massive dividends as the movie has been a massive box-office and critical hit, grossing almost $790 million worldwide since its release and having an average rating of 8.1/10 on the IMDB.
So what makes this movie so good? I’ll give my own opinion here.
One of the good points of this movie is the fact that the 007 character is stripped down to the bare bones. Most of the previous movies, especially the ones starring Pierce Brosnan, were usually about the cars, gadgets and the women. Whenever a Bond movie came out, the next question would be “What car will he use here? What gadgets will be on show?” etc. However, this movie remembered one fundamental issue, Commander James Bond is first and foremost, a Secret Agent for the MI6. I can’t imagine an active Secret Service Agent with a belly pouch (sorry Pierce). I was actually impressed with Craig right from the opening scene in his first Bond movie, Casino Royale, as he brought the physical aspect that we all expected from Secret agents but had to turn to Jason Bourne for. Bond was hard and steely as well as suave. Craig really trained for well for this movie, as it was evident, despite the use of stunt-men.
Another thing I like is the fact that this movie does away with the unnecessary flamboyance that is usually associated with Bond. I remember watching Die Another Day and while it was okay at the time, in hindsight I can’t help but feel like I’d watched a project by Tinkerbell; too much glitter. Maybe it was the Ice Station…but that’s a crazy place to have a home. I can’t begin to imagine the heating costs…
But I digress.
In Skyfall, the mission and its accoutrements are once again stripped to the bare bones, with the only ‘gadgets’ given to Bond are a Walther PPK (his weapon of choice) coded to his palm-print, and a radio transmitter. Very practical.
Skyfall also shows the human side of Bond. We’ve all watched so many Bond movies that we’ve forgotten he must come from somewhere, unless the aliens just delivered him to our doorstep, packaged and ready to kill. Skyfall shows us a peek behind the curtain of what his life as a boy was. However, one other surprising fact is that Skyfall also shows us another side of M, and sheds some light on the relationship between Bond and M. Sam Mendes handled both characters beautifully here, and I had to smile at the nostalgic feel of some parts of this movie.
And now, enter the villain. 007 has had his fair share of memorable villains-Dr No, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Scaramanga, Goldfinger etc, but Raoul Silva has to rank among one of the top villains. It is evident that Sam Mendes borrowed a leaf from Christopher Nolan with his character The Joker, and Silva, played by Javier Bardem-an outstanding actor- played his part almost perfectly. He was disillusioned, cunning and calculating; almost carefree in his attitude. However, he possessed a mind to rival Bond’s, if not surpass it. When he laughed, it was not hard to imagine a monster straining against a leash within. Javier Bardem brought the same intensity he showed in No Country For Old Men, and tweaked it beautifully. He has become one of my favourite actors.
Skyfall obviously learnt a lot from Nolan’s behemoth of a movie, The Dark Knight and like Commander James Bond, has resurrected the entire 007 franchise. In doing so, it has become the standard by which upcoming 007 movies will be measured. Let’s hope they will not be found wanting. In my opinion, Daniel Craig is the best Bond of our time, with respect to Sean Connery. Sean was good in his day, but Bond fights a different kind of war now.
So, here’s a toast to Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig and all the other awesome cast members of SKYFALL. Well done guys….well done.
My rating: 8/10.