Sam Mendes' "Skyfall"

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Sam Mendes' "Skyfall"

Post by Deviss on Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:45 am

It does feel so good to have Bond back, and with Craig playing him yet again might I add.

"Youth is not a guarantee of innovation."

  • Story: Four Stars
  • Acting: Five Stars
  • Directing: Four and a half Stars
  • Visuals: Five Stars
  • Overall: Five Stars

If you were to ask me who this guy named "Daniel Craig" that was supposed to play James Bond was back in 2006, I wouldn't have been able to tell you a thing about him. Six years ago I didn't even know they were making another James Bond movie. And even after some good recommendations from some friends, it took me a few years before I ever saw "Casino Royale" in its entirety. But having seen both previous Daniel Craig/James Bond films, when I first saw the Teaser for "Skyfall" I was practically ecstatic. The only other Bond I've seen, that I remember anything about, was Pierce Brosnan back in his day. One thing I do remember about those films is that none of Brosnan's Bond outings stuck very well with me. They were enjoyable sure, but nowhere like the Craig films. Having seen "Skyfall" just last night at a Midnight Showing I can very easily say that Bond is back and he is better than ever.

---

We are brought back to the world of MI6, M, and James Bond during, as usual, a hectic mission to recover a lost hard drive that contains the identities of MI6/NATO agents all across the globe. Agents James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Eve (Naomi Harris) chase their target through the streets of Istanbul, with Bond "adapting" to whatever changes come up in his usual style. Ultimately, the target escapes and Bond is presumed killed in action. Shortly afterwards, M is the target, or rather the intended audience, of terrorist Raoul Silva's (Javier Bardem) attack on MI6's headquarters. James "returns from the dead" to find out who is responsible, but his loyalty to M and MI6 are tested along the way.

Let me say, it feels so good to be back with Bond again. After watching and enjoying "Casino Royale" and later sitting through the dreadful experience that was "Quantum of Solace", I wasn't sure if they would come back for another outing with Daniel Craig as the martini-drinking, Aston Martin-driving secret agent. Especially so after hearing that Craig himself was dissatisfied with "Quantum" as a whole. So if you are a Bond fan, or a fan of Craig as Bond, like I am, you can imagine my excitement upon hearing the news that Craig would not only be returning for "Skyfall", but also two more James Bond films after this! If it wasn't made clear already, Daniel Craig is by far my favorite James Bond out of the rogues gallery of actors that have portrayed him. And "Skyfall" has only increased that.

Everything about "Skyfall" I enjoyed, from the story to the locations to the characters, especially the actors and actresses casted to portray them. My hat is off to Javier Bardem. Never before have I myself seen a villain like Raoul Silva. After seeing him briefly in the full-length Trailer, I wasn't very sure what to expect from Bardem. The only other role I've seen him in recently was Anton Chigurh in 2007's "No Country for Old Men". Javier Bardem is just as good now as he was in that film, even moreso in fact. Let me ask you, when was the last time we were given a villain that toyed around with the idea of coming on to our hero? If you can tell me such an actor or actress then please do so, but I don't think any of them will be better than Bardem was. As uncomfortable as I was during those scenes, I was intrigued far more because Bardem/Silva looked to be getting real enjoyment out of what he did.

Even the last scene with Silva... that will always stay in my mind because of how Bardem acted in that scene. It definitely wasn't in the traditional sense. The only thing I will complain about is the character of Sévérine played by the lovely Bérénice Lim Marlohe. In all the time that she was on-screen, all Sévérine did was point Bond in the direction he needed to go to reach Silva. That and have sex with Bond, which doesn't not happen very often in any James Bond film. That said there wasn't much else she did. I was really disappointed in how that character was dealt with, sure it was in a way that showed us just who Silva was, but I honestly wish they would've done more with her. Or maybe have her return in some twist at the end or near end. But alas all Sévérine was slated to be was a oh so brief "love interest". I really wish they did more with her.

The one character/story choice that I was most surprised with, not to forget something that I called from the very get-go with Harris' Eve, was what Sam Mendes did with Judi Dench's M. I still can't believe they went in that direction with her character. However, miss Dench was as perplexing and yet amusing as ever as the head of MI6 and the way they reworked those few characters, if you've seen "Skyfall" then you know what I'm talking about, was done in a very effective way. I'm very interested to see how that plays out in future Bond films. Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, and Naomi Harris were good in their roles as well. With Whishaw's Q having some positively humorous interactions with Craig's Bond.

If I haven't sung his praises obviously enough yet, Daniel Craig was as great as ever as James Bond. Bond dealing with the possibility of his being too old to carry on was interestingly done. Though I think it's safe to say that by the end of "Skyfall" that whatever doubts Bond would have had aren't nearly as prevalent as they were at the film's beginning. One of my favorite moments in "Skyfall" is the fight in Macau that spills into a komodo dragon pit. When the bodyguard/enforcer tried to use Bond's Walther PPK against him and Bond simply said, "Good luck with that." I had to laugh. And the film's climactic showdown between Silva and his men against Bond, M, and Kincade (Albert Finney) the gamemaster of the Skyfall estate, was quite enthralling and touching in equal measure.

As is my usual fashion, I'm listening to the Skyfall soundtrack as I type out this review. If you've listened to the scores to "Casino Royale" or "Quantum of Solace" (something I haven't done in the latter's case), then I would definitely recommend you listen to this film's. It is done by a different artist, but just as good as the previous two, even better in some cases. As I watched what was happening on-screen, the score was done in just the right way so that it kept me engaged in what was going on in front of me. Which is something any soundtrack worth the time put into it should do.

So without any further adieu, if you're on the fence about seeing "Skyfall" take it from this Bond fan: go and see it. If you've seen the previous two Daniel Craig films, you'll be in for a big treat this time around. Sam Mendes has done a fantastic job this time out and I hope that he would choose to return for any future installments to the James Bond franchise.

This was a review by tMG. Thank you very much for reading, now where's my martini?

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Re: Sam Mendes' "Skyfall"

Post by frang on Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:41 pm

Everyone's raving about it. One part of the good reviews I don't get, though, is why they all say Quantum of Solace was a disappointment. It wasn't the best Bond movie ever, but Solace is freaking Shakespeare compared to those last couple of sad, sad Roger Moore movies. Skyfall's a great movie, maybe even shows up Solace, but Solace isn't fecal material. It may be more like a good burger rather than a three star restaurant, but fecal material it ain't.

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Re: Sam Mendes' "Skyfall"

Post by Deviss on Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:25 am

frang wrote:One part I don't get, though, is why they all say Quantum of Solace was a disappointment.
From all the reading I've done, I think that people say that coming off the success of "Casino Royale". I know I certainly did. Despite my having not seen QoS in its entirety for quite a while, I am planning on sitting down and re-watching both "Casino" and "Quantum". If not this week then next week sometime during my Thanksgiving break.

A couple other things I noted during my looking was the fact that "Quantum" was released during the horrible writer's strike. It's a miracle it was as "good" as it was. That and it seemed like it wasn't Bond anymore, but rather another Jason Bourne movie by another name.

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