Skyfall

The latest 007 picture, Skyfall is a visually stunning and breathtaking accomplishment. Skyfall is the twenty-third James Bond, spy movie produced by Eon Productions, and one of the very few 007 films I enjoyed. I, myself am not a huge fan of the series or the character in general, and I’m usually let down by these movies. Yet, Skyfall takes a new approach under the direction of Sam Mendes. Mendes brings real, fresh ideas to the series as well as some visually intriguing techniques. The movie’s strongest element is the performance of the villain, played by Javier Bardem. This is shocking because there is rarely a stand out performance in these pictures. The film will at times have your heart beating and will truly lock you in emotionally, which is also rare in Bond films. This is the first 007 movie that I truly felt emotionally connected with.

Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem in Skyfall.

It’s been three months since James Bond (Daniel Craig) has been “presumed dead” after being shot in the line of duty, and now MI6 is struggling to keep things under control. This is when M (Judi Dench) discovers that the Prime Minister and the Intelligence and Security Committee are looking for her to retire. M is taken off guard, and promises to finish the job first. After hearing the news, M finds out someone has hacked her computer, and as she tries to stop it, the MI6 base is bombed, killing eight MI6 agents. That night when she reaches her home, none other than Agent 007, James Bond is awaiting her. James claims he liked being dead, but realizes it’s time for him to come back, though not fully recovered. M forces Bond to take the tests to clear him to return to the field. After some questionable results, James Bond returns to the field and must find out who wants MI6, or more importantly M, terminated.

Skyfall overall is a very entertaining movie, though the pacing in the beginning is a bit off. This might be due to the lack of interest, as it starts like the generic James Bond film, which isn’t too intriguing and comes off mediocre. The film’s visual beauty was the first thing to really strike me, cinematographer Roger Deakins did an excellent job of bringing all these elements to life. This makes Skyfall enchanting, and really stand out of the series. For example, as a character walks from a burning building, a shot we’ve seen done a hundred times, seems to be fresh and new. It has the beauty as well as the thrill and feel of the moment. The movie has a very clean, sleek look and it communicates with its imagery, which I feel is very rare in Bond films. In one scene for example, a fight takes place between Bond and a minor villain. It’s all done in the dark, which makes it that much more compelling because you don’t know who’s winning or losing, and it keeps the audience on their toes. These men are fighting in the shadows, which holds a lot of symbolism in the picture, as M claims Bond and Silva (our villain) are from the shadows. Not only was the scenery and cinematography beautiful, but the special effects stood out to me as well. There are some really fascinating images and things that happen in the film that really bring out my enjoyment for special effects. For instance, a subway explosion, was so captivating and exciting because it brings out the movie magic, film fans love.

Again, I feel the only real setback for Skyfall was the first forty-five minutes. It was mediocre and uncreative, and seemed to be barely trying. However, this completely changes the moment Javier Bardem sets foot onto screen. From this moment on, Skyfall becomes an absolute joyride, it’s energizing and even becomes a decent thriller. Bardem’s performance is outstanding, and probably one of my favorite of his performances. I, personally think Bardem is one of the best actors today, and he can’t be stopped. A Bond villain, who usually don’t ever give the best performances, he delivers strong and brings a darker, more cynical character to life. Though not comparing their actual performances, what Bardem did for Bond villains is equivalent to what Ledger did for Batman villains as the Joker. His opening speech about rats is genius, highly entertaining and also sheds symbolism in the film. His intensity is what really shines through the performance. The first scene Bond are Bardem share is the best part of the picture. It’s stunning and will stand out more than any other scene in the picture, you can’t take your eyes off the screen. Bardem, again delivers a very strong performances and becomes my favorite Bond villain ever to face off with 007. He’s remarkable and frightening, and will leave the audience in terror.

Craig and Dench also deliver some good performances, but neither give one that will sit on par with Bardem’s. Some would argue, these two are meant for these roles, and I think they both fit them well. However, I would argue Dench is meant to play M. She reaches out in this film and is the one most audiences will have some strong feelings for. However, as we’ve literally scene Bond can be replaced time and time again, and that won’t stop the audiences from coming. Craig does bring a certain charisma about him that keeps the momentum of the film going.

The film’s pacing and tone also adds to this picture, where after Bardem walks onto screen, Skyfall becomes a heart pounding game of cat and mouse. The score composed by Thomas Newman is phenomenal, and joined with the classic bond theme, the score is enticing and really brings some scenes to life. The film then concludes with one, if not, the best finales in a Bond film. Coming off of Quantum Of Solace (2008), which I thoroughly disliked, Skyfall hits back hard and instantly tops the Daniel Craig Bond films.

 

Even with the James Bond stereotypes, Skyfall will stand on its own as a memorable picture. I truly believe this one of Bond’s best, and my personal favorite 007 movie. It doesn’t take a golden eye, to see that the James Bond world is not enough, without Skyfall. The movie was great…really, great.

 

3 out of 4 stars

-By Jacob R. Tiranno

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One Response to Skyfall

  1. […] like most moviegoers and critics absolutely loved Skyfall. It is perhaps my favorite Bond movie ever. However, I will openly admit that I’ve never been a […]

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