Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan, Ian Fleming
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Naomi Harris
If you haven’t seen Skyfall, it’s easy to understand why Daniel Craig would have tried to bail on the Bond series. Ever since Sean Connery left, the series has been in limbo, churning out awkwardly titled and mediocre thrillers that at their best could only be called “fun”, and after the mediocre Quantum of Solace fell short of the promise of Casino Royale, it didn’t seem like that was going to change. For years, this series has been waiting for someone intelligent to come along and rescue it, and, awkward titling aside, Sam Mendes has done just that with Skyfall.
Skyfall improves on the Bond formula in almost every way. The camp has been toned down quite a bit and made more clever where it does appear, MI6 has finally been portrayed as the real, down to Earth agency that it is, and as the new Q explains in his first appearance, there will be no more exploding pens. There are still minor flaws in every aspect of the movie, but most of these are nit-picky, like the mundane font clashing with the visuals in the otherwise great title sequence. In fact, the only place where the flaws are really noticeable is in the script, where some of the lines can come across a little awkward. This isn’t a problem for Daniel Craig, who could read a phonebook to a captive audience, but unfortunately some of his co-stars don’t share the same talent. This is not to say that they’re bad, they just don’t have the skill to make bad lines sound good. Fortunately, these strangely obtuse moments are almost all in the first half of the movie, and when Javier Bardem appears as the brilliantly twisted and revenge obsessed villain, they’re immediately forgotten. The new Bond is more realistic, and although some fans won’t like the less detached approach, I don’t think I’m alone in saying I’m tired of the bad puns, invisible cars with ejector seats, and villains who think lasers are the future of villainy.
It’s not perfect, but Skyfall is the best bond movie of at least the last twenty years. It improves on the ancient Bond formula, and although it’s still flawed, it provides a great base from which to continue the Bond films. If you have any interest in action movies, go see this.
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