Review: “Skyfall” opens with a bang – breakneck action, trademark for the Bond franchise, a foot chase then by car, on a motorcycle, rooftops and even a train. Bond (Daniel Craig) leaves you breathless (with his speed and dashing looks) as he hunts down someone with a list that MI6 requires at any cost. M (Judi Dench) dictates orders over a headset to both Bond and agent Eve (Naomie Harris). Right from the start, there is stark truth, heightened drama and impending doom as Bond leaves a fellow agent bleeding to his death. Mission over fellow man – don’t leave the mission at any cost? Yes, it’s the darkest Bond movie ever with echoes of “The Dark Knight” – the past of the iconic hero and a villain who wants to cause pandemonium.
In the fifty year history of the beloved British secret agent, “Skyfall” is not only one of the best James Bond movies but also the best action movie of the decade. Stunning, sexy, action-packed & superbly structured, Sam Mendes’ film oozes Oscar-worthy perfection (kudos to cinematographer Roger Deakins). With a modern look, it delves into Bond’s deepest story ever told.
From the days of yore, Blofeld, Goldfinger (and death rays aimed at Sean Connery’s crotch), 007 has come a long way. “Skyfall” has modern action while also subtly hinting at Bond’s history. Bond’s popular sidekicks make a return with a new look, for example, Gadgeteer Q returns as Ben Whishaw, young & geeky with computer hacking skills as opposed to engineering jet packs or exploding pens. The lead villain, like all good Bond villains, has his own island fortress and speaks in monologues (with moves aped from The Joker from “The Dark Knight”).
Since his first, “Casino Royale” (2006), Daniel Craig’s represented modern Bond – less wisecracks, more intense, dark & adrenalin packed action. Less wolf (still some philandering). Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed early Connery who’d crack jokes as he shot people, Craig’s gloomy laconic seriousness has a charm of its own. “Quantum of Solace” was dull in script and execution. “Skyfall” takes the concept of Bond seriously and pays homage to it while still keeping it so fresh.
Without getting into any spoilers, the film addresses the primal question: What does Bond stand for now? The answer lies in a scene between Silva and Bond at Silva’s fortress island. Bond is challenged to a pistol duel for the life of a woman after a glass of 50 year-old scotch. 007’s fav poison, a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, would be the traditional beverage but instead an aged Macallan is the perfect metaphor for Bond now: aged to be richer and more complex with deep tones. It’s not a “Transformers” that is to be guzzled down with its fast action. It should be savored; delicate and strong to withstand the test of time.