007 must dust himself down and return to duty when a face from M’s past beings to terrorise MI5.
Having had time to digest it for the third time – Skyfall, is overrated, there is said it, yet it’s an amazing Bond outing but it’s overrated. The problem with it is that it returns to the old Bond that I fell in love with, but in doing so treads on Casino Royale re-imagined and Quantum’s departure of the older instalments and the new foundation they laid out.
Another issue is that Bond was fresh learning and honing his skills, but writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan present an experienced, washed up spy, that seems four films too soon. Anyone certainly in the UK will be underwhelmed by the setting of the latter half but it’s easy to see why an overseas audience my get a kick from the atmospheric closure but it’s home from home and not very exotic for many of us.
These gripes aside Skyfall is a solid addition to the franchise, Javier Bardem as baddie Silva is outstanding. Naomie Harris (28 Days Later) is perfect as Eve, Judi Dench returns as M (Olivia Mansfield) in an expanded central role and the supporting cast include the likes of heavy weight actors Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney (in a role which may have been fitting for the sadly retired Sean Connery). Once again Daniel Craig is Mr. Bond, what he lacks in dialogue through no fault of his own he makes up for in screen presence, once again delivering the physicality and emotion that one would expect from todays James Bond.
Sam Mendes delivers some old school framing, while some stunts are underwhelming other are purely breathtaking. Mendes with Roger Deakins’ cinematography presents a traditional style film with many modern touches you’d expect from filmmakers of their calibre. What’s nice about Skyfall is that it captures London as London, dark and damp as oppose the makeover seen in The World is not Enough or Die Another Day. Mendes’ eye mixed with Thomas Newman’s exceptional score really cements this as one of the better more gritty Bonds.
However, oddly Skyfall takes you out of the moment at times with superfluous questions – how have these criminals got the same super-spy abilities as 007, did they go to a motorbike riding on a roof academy? Why is there a Hannibal Lecture style cell in the new MI5 HQ? Silva’s impeccable underground timing and it’s purpose? Underwater hideouts I bought, flying cars, hook armed and metal teeth henchmen, even Bond going into outer-space and all the outrageousness of the old Bonds but when something is this well made these little things are magnified and seem more distracting.
As previously mentioned and without giving much away there are plenty of surprises and nods to previous Bonds but in an emphasising encompassing fashion. There’s a nice touch in the ensemble script which refers to a line in Craig’s first outing and there is plenty of depth in the story and characters.
There are many highlights, notably Adele’s Oscar winning ‘wobbly’ yet powerful theme song belting out over the wonderfully done opening credits and above par acting. All in all its a great outing but shoehorns Daniel’s Bond character skipping what was so skilfully established in Craig’s previous outings.