Bond, James “McBeard” Bond.
I have been known to be a fanboy in my life. I’m a nerd. I love Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, Batman, Ironman… The list goes on and on. But before I was ever exposed to any of them, my mom let me watch GoldenEye. The fact that a man had a licence to kill/do whatever he needed to attain his objectives was awesome-sauce to a little 5 year-old like me. The suits, the women, the cars and the action. All surreal. To say I was excited for Skyfall, the 23rd Bond film was an understatement. I’m 23. That mean’s so far I have been blessed to have a Bond film for every year that I have been alive. I’d like to equate that the Roger Moore era be referred to when thinking about my puberty.
Daniel Craig is halfway through his contract in Skyfall, and I feel he’s finally comfortable in the suit. Does his comfort help bring Bond back up to the heights of Casino Royale? Does Sam Mendes’ experience directing Jarhead and Away We Go help? I’d say they almost made it. Head and shoulders above Quantum of Solace (Which I did enjoy thoroughly) but just an inch short of Casino Royale; and that should be a huge compliment.
This time around 007 isn’t fighting some country or secret organization. He’s helping stop someone from M’s (Judi Dench) past from destroying all of MI6.
Skyfall opens up like every other Bond film, with an insane action scene. Typical in Bond fashion Craig kicks ass with little regard for his own well-being. Eventually after chasing a man with a jeep and a dirt bike, they end up on the roof of a train. Did I mention it was insane? After a long struggle a fellow agent is ordered by M, to take a shot at the man Bond is fighting with even though she doesn’t have a clear view. Bond is hit and down he goes; presumably dead. The man gets away, with the harddrive containing the names and identities of all the active undercover agents.
We are then treated to (I say tortured with) “Skyfall” by Adele as the opening musical sequence that is tradition in the 007 franchise. I will admit the visuals are right up there with GoldenEye and Casino Royale. I’m just not a fan of the song itself. Although I can imagine Bond-purists being delighted as it harkens back to the old voice-power themes of the 60’s and 70’s.
What follows is a deep and different Bond film. Like I mentioned before, Daniel Craig is Bond now. Not just some guy acting. When Bond is emotionally broken, I can only imagine the what conversations must have been like on set with Craig. Damn. The theme of “the old ways were better” is apparent in this film as it is stated many times by many characters. And I feel that’s what they were doing, bringing Bond back, even further back than Casino Royale; To Timothy Dalton and early Sean Connery.
This Bond villain is certainly unique. Javier Bardem plays Raoul Silva/Tiago Rodriguez. However we’re never sure what his real name is. He’s a mixed bag of cats for sure. Jumping the line between crazy and genius and erotic without the balancing-grace of Heath Ledger as The Joker.
– Daniel Craig. Mature, strong, passioned and damaged. All things a veteraned secret agent should be. As much as I loved Pierce Brosnan as Bond, he played a version I call Adam-West-Bond. Awesome for his time and well remembered today. But Craig is real.
– The relationship between 007 and M. For the first time we get right up in their faces like people front row at a Lakers game during the Kiss-Cam. We see how much respect M has for Bond, and how highly she thinks of herself/position to the country. She’s not just some pencil pusher, however she is an older woman. We see her vulnerability. She’s flawed yet experienced.
– The new Q-Branch. Ben Whishaw is the new Q. I love how they throw back to the old days where Bond would be giving Q a hard time; only now it’s flipped upside down as Q is 007’s junior, by many years.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
– The score. Luckily/Unluckily for me, I saw Skyfall in french the first time around. As fluent as I am, I’m not used to it. I hate dubbing when words don’t match lips. That being said I had the liberty to focus on the music. I can say that it wasn’t horrible. But it did no good for the film. Often feeling more like music from a serious version of Lethal Weapon.
– Silva/Rodriguez. It’s not a knock at Bardem who did a wonderful job with such a crazy, for lack of a better term, character. I feel some actions weren’t explained or properly motived. As stated: not as graceful as The Joker.
– Is this the best Bond film? No. Is it amazing. Yes. Does it make up for people’s opinions of Quantum Of Solace? It damn well should. Do I feel it could have been better than Casino Royale with a few adjustments? Probably. But no matter how you look at it, whether you’re from the old guard or new guard, this is a great 007. The action is solid. The story is well written and it has all the ingredients: Suits, Women, Drinks (Heineken too,) Cars, guns and Explosions. This film is worth going out and even seeing in IMAX if you have a chance. Skyfall is Verified Awesome.