Sunday, November 18, 2012

REVIEW: Skyfall


Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem


November 9, 2012

Sam Mendes

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures,
Columbia Pictures

2 hours 23 minutes



How appropriate it is that a new entry into the hit 'James Bond' series comes out on the 50th anniversary of the start of the series that made this suave, undercover British spy one of the go-to's for high entertainment at the movies. The latest 'Bond' film is entitled 'Skyfall,' and it stars Daniel Craig, who's playing the iconic spy for his third time, under the direction of 'American Beauty' director Sam Mendes. People love the first Daniel Craig entry into the series, 'Casino Royale,' but despise the direct sequel (a first for the Bond series) 'Quantum of Solace.' This film has also been in the works for years, but couldn't be made for financial reasons. Now that it's here, I'm happy to report that, while not as great as 'Casino Royale,' 'Skyfall' is action-packed, intelligent as hell, well-acted, and quite simply the smartest and best action movie of the year.

After a big mission goes terribly wrong, James Bond is presumably dead, which leads to a whole series of catastrophic events. M is being forced into retirement as things at MI6 are getting worse by the day. When a mysterious man hacks into MI6, blows up the MI6 headquarters, and starts revealing the identities of all active agents in the field, Bond must come back from his paradise to help settle things right. It doesn't help that he is in his worst shape possible, and that he's barely qualified for field work anymore. M has faith in him though, which leads Bond to encountering Silva, a man from M's past who wants to settle the score.

Daniel Craig gives it all he's got in 'Skyfall,' and overall he's fantastic in the movie. In 'Casino Royale,' Bond was portrayed as a rookie of sorts just trying to fit his way into MI6. It's clearly shown in this film that, as Danny Glover said in 'Lethal Weapon,' is getting too old for this spy stuff. I've never seen Daniel Craig in a bad role before, and this film continues that streak. Not only does he pull off Bond once again, but Craig brings a new layer to the character, in which we go back to his childhood in a way. I cannot wait to see Craig in this role for many more years to come. As great as Craig was, the true standout of the film was Javier Bardem.

Let's just get this out there right now: Javier Bardem's portrayal of Silva is magnificent. Silva is the main antagonist of the film, and boy does he play one hell of a bad guy. From the first scene you see with him where he's walking towards Bond talking about two rats, it's clear that this character is crazy. In fact, his character had a lot more depth than one would expect in a Bond movie. I wish he was being considered for a Supporting Actor nomination this year because he really was THAT good. In fact, Silva might be my favorite villain of 2012. The rest of the supporting cast, ranging from Dame Judi Dench to Ralph Fiennes to up and comer Ben Wishaw, are all great in the movie. Each actor in the film is both great and is able to have their own standout moment in the movie. However they aren't as engaging as Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem are in here.

The script for 'Skyfall' was written by three men: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan. Purvis and Wade have written many of the past few Bond movies, but Logan is new to the game after his brilliant work on 'Rango,' 'Hugo,' and other films. Of all of the movie screenplay's to come onto the scene, the script for 'Skyfall' is one of the most intelligent and well-crafted scripts of the year. Not only is there witty and smart dialogue in the style of Tarantino, but there are also scenarios that are really well-crafted and played out. There are even some great homages to the classic Sean Connery Bond movies, including a certain car that makes an appearance. This script definitely has something in there that everyone can find entertaining.

'Skyfall' delivers on what a spy film should be, an action movie should be, and even what an entertaining movie should be. There's great acting present here, especially from Craig and Bardem. The script is so intelligent and clever that anyone who sees the film can find something in there to enjoy. Sure the film is nearly 2 and a half hours and you start feeling the length half way into it, but the time mostly flies by, and it is a fun movie to watch. The best thing about the 'Bond' films is that someone can walk into something like 'Skyfall' and enjoy it as much as any die-hard fan of the series, thanks to the fact that none of the films (except for 'Quantum of Solace') are direct sequels to one another. So if someone who's a big 'Bond' fan drags you to see this film, chances are you will enjoy the hell out of it. 'Skyfall' is definitely a fall movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen.


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