Directed by Sam Mendes
A computer hacker with a connection to MI6 set his sights on M (Dame Judi Dench) and James Bond (Daniel Craig), once thought dead, must return to service.
Daniel Craig returns in his third outing as James Bond. The character is a little lighter than in the previous two films. It feels like he is channeling a bit of Sean Connery with a dash of Roger Moore in his performance. Charming yet tough and at times in on the joke.
They did a good job in casting Naomie Harris as the new Miss Moneypenny. The banter between her and Bond has the classic tone where you could see them hooking up but, as before, it will never happen because Bond genuinely likes her and Moneypenny knows it would never go anywhere. Whoever plays Moneypenny needs to give as good as she gets from the actor playing Bond and be strong in her own right.
Skyfall is the swan song for Dame Judi Dench’s run as M. The previous M’s have never gotten a sendoff having died before production began on the next film. They just either disappeared or as it was stated in the Judi Dench’s first appearance, she replaces them. She gets a good if not touching sendoff.
Bond has a closer relationship with M than he has had with her predecessors in previous films. I do not think even Pierce Brosnan’s Bond had this close of a relationship with M. It is almost as if she is his mother here which I guess parallels how Silva (Javier Bardem) speaks of her. He also alludes perhaps to the character being a surrogate mother to Bond since he is an orphan here with no living relatives. That got a little too deep for a film series with exotic locales, dangerous beautiful women, and all sorts of cool gadgets.
Ralph Fiennes plays Gareth Mallory who eventually becomes the new M. He is a good actor and managed to make the character more than a plot device. I would have preferred the character’s name go unmentioned as a bit of an in joke as well as continuing the tradition of M never getting a real name on screen.
Ben Whishaw takes over from Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese as Q. Gone here are the cool gadgets (Q even says as much) with Bond only getting a radio beacon and a Walther PPK. I enjoyed the humorous demonstrations of gadgets that had no impact on the story. I also miss the cool gadgets Bond would get issued. These are elements that set these films apart from others and were completely missing here.
The latest villain of Silva, while he has low ranking goals, has high level techniques to accomplish his goals. He is a computer hacker of such skill that can only exist in a movie, but this is a James Bond film so that is okay. Thankfully he is not the super sexy computer hacker type like Chris Hemsworth was in Blackhat. I could actually see Javier Bardem as a computer hacker in real life. The character of Silva has been presumed dead for years but apparently not only survived his imprisonment by the Chinese but the cyanide tablet that he was to take should he be captured.
I thought this movie was a step in the right direction. One of the first real Bond moments of the reboot films is when Silva uses a train in an attempt to kill James Bond. He reroutes an entire train! That is something only a Bond supervillain does.
What starts here as a good ending with guns and helicopters and all that becomes an intimate finale. It was good for M but bad for the film. A tad on the anti-climactic side in comparison to other James Bond films. Then again, I’m not sure how you end a James Bond film that lacks the world threatening plot or a villain with grand designs in any other way.
I like the theme song “Skyfall” by Adele. They finally got back to a song in the classic mold. It was sexy with a little. Adele was an ideal choice and the song was absolutely perfect…or as close to perfect as these new Bond films can get.
It was nice to finally get back to the Universal Exports business office at the end. I was never too thrilled with the change to the big building in London. I like the idea of something ordinary looking being part of this superspy world. It is kind of a superspy film cliché and when they gave them a more realistic office it took away from that.
Supposedly they were going to cast Sean Connery as Groundskeeper Kincade. Wisely they skipped that and went with Albert Finney. Unfortunately when they visited the family estate they also eliminated James Bond’s occasionally mentioned but never seen sister. He is an only child now which I guess makes him more tragic?
In the end Skyfall is not too bad of a James Bond movie. I think it has the potential to grow on me and become repeat viewing. It reaches back for the fun but also keeps the serious tone in a manner similar but not identical to what Sean Connery did in it. Not the best Bond but a good effort. This is an if you want.