Skyfall $$$ 1/2
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes.
Director: Sam Mendes.
I admit that when they did a reboot of the Bond franchise I was less than thrilled with the results. The cheesy format of slick gadgets, beautiful women, exotic locations, head-spinning chase scenes and suave one-liners worked for me. The grittier take on the world’s most famous spy altered one of my favorite light and fluffy entertainments and made it dark. My feeling was that there were already plenty of serious looks at the seedy underbelly of espionage, but only one Bond series that gave a playful wink at the genre and let us wholly suspend our disbelief for a couple of hours.
Even though I still think they made a mistake in changing the fundamental nature of the Bond films, I ended up thoroughly enjoying Skyfall. Maybe part of that is because it didn't come across to me as dark as Casino Royale. Or it could be because they incorporated a bit more of the Bond elements that I am used to seeing. Either way, I plan to go back to being a fan of MI6’s number one hit man.
Bond (Daniel Craig) and fellow agent Eve (Naomie Harris) start the film hot on the trail of a man who has stolen a computer file that has the names of all the NATO agents who have been inserted into terrorist organizations along with their current cover identities. During the pursuit, Bond is shot. His body is not recovered and he is presumed dead.
Meanwhile, a bomb explodes in the heart of MI6 headquarters. This new villain is taking the fight straight to M (Judi Dench) and her cadre of agents. Bond shows up not quite as dead as everyone believed. Despite not having fully recovered from his bullet wound, M sends him out to deal with this latest threat.
While not in the running for my favorite film this year, Skyfall was indeed a good movie. It dealt with a couple of interesting themes in an excellent manner; one of which is an aging Bond. Has 007 lost his edge? The other theme runs parallel with the first and basically addresses how the spy game has changed since the days of the Cold War. How can a man with a gun compete with an expert computer hacker? Has the world of espionage moved out of the shadows and into the internet? This is one of the better story lines I’ve seen attached to the Bond franchise. So good, in fact, that I would put Skyfall as my third all time favorite Bond film.
Even though I find Daniel Craig a little too deadpan for the role of James Bond it worked for this particular story. Judi Dench, once again, delivered an admirable performance. And the new Q (Ben Whishaw) really established himself as the next generation Quartermaster for MI6. As much as I miss Desmond LLewelyn in the role of Q, I found Whishaw to be an excellent replacement.
Special effects, filmography, and the soundtrack were all seamless. Nothing wow’ed me, but neither did they detract from the story telling that was at the heart of this film. Skyfall earned three-and-a-half movie bucks from me. I happened to catch it as a matinee, but would have not felt ripped-off if I had paid full price to see it. The only reason I didn’t give it a full four movie bucks is because I felt it wasn’t quite as good as some of the top movies that have been put out this year.
Randy’s Rating System
$$$$ = Full Price See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$ = Matinee Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$ = Discount Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$ = Rental Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0 = No Sale Don’t see this movie at any price.