- Javier Bardem
- Sam Mendes
- Combining Old with New
- Woeful Wigs
Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan, and Ian Fleming (characters)
Producers: Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson
Actors: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Lim Marlohe, Ben Whishaw, Albert Finney
Original Music by: Thomas Newman
Cinematographer: Roger Deakins
Film Editor: Stuart Baird
Bond is back and better than ever! Of course, any Bond film would be better than the previous disappointment, Quantum of Solace. Fortunately, Skyfall rescues what could have been a horrible downfall for the franchise. Daniel Craig is back in his third outing as everybody’s favorite secret agent in the 23rd film of the Bond series. Director Sam Mendes, as well as writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan, have breathed new life into the franchise; they’ve definitely upped the stakes without creating a scenario that seemed outlandish or unbelievable.
Agent 007 (Craig) becomes M’s only ally as MI6 is under attack, and a mysterious new villain emerges with a diabolical plan. James Bond’s latest mission has gone horribly awry, resulting in the exposure of several undercover agents and an all-out attack on MI6. Meanwhile, as M (Judi Dench) plans to relocate the agency, emerging Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), raises concerns about her competence while attempting to usurp her position, and Q (Ben Whishaw) becomes a crucial ally. Now the only person who can restore M’s reputation is 007.
Operating in the dark with only field agent Eve (Naomie Harris) to guide him, the world’s top secret agent works to root out an enigmatic criminal mastermind named Silva (Javier Bardem) as a major storm brews on the horizon.
Javier Bardem Steals the Show
One of the best parts of the film was Javier Bardem’s villain Raoul Silva. While he didn’t have teeth made of steel or cry blood, his “villainesque deformity” becomes apparent later in the film. The way Bardem chose to have his character react to this deformity is what makes Silva such a great Bond villain. There is truly an uneasy quality about him that, paired with Bardem’s unpredictable portrayal of the character, is sure to make Silva a Bond classic. Bardem describes his character as:
“[He is] an angel of death – a very clean shaven person who happens to be rotten on the inside. He has a very personal objective – he’s not trying to destroy the world. And he is on a straight line to that objective: he is a man seeking revenge. It’s about being focused on the one person he wants to eliminate.”
In my opinion, Bardem’s performance as Silva should earn him an Oscar nomination this year.
Bridging the Old with the New
If you love Bond, then you’ll love Skyfall. Although the film isn’t based on an Ian Fleming novel, plenty of references in the film will bring a smile to the Bond buffs. While some nods were more obvious than others, the similarities were definitely there. Also, the introduction of new characters brings several fresh faces to the franchise (although we may have already seen a couple of them before in previous Bond films *wink wink*).
To read more of the film’s nods to previous Bond movies and how the events in Skyfall will change the franchise, highlight the area below.
BEWARE OF MAJOR SPOILERS!
- When Bond first meets Q, he receives a gun and a radio tracking device. When Q notices his hesitation, he says, “What did you expect, an exploding pen?” – A nod, of course, to GoldenEye.
- Bond and M are on the run from Silva and they need to stop to switch cars. Bond opens a garage to reveal an Aston Martin DB5. The reveal of the car is accompanied by the iconic James Bond Theme.
- At the end of the film, the agent that had been assisting Bond throughout the film was finally introduced as Eve Moneypenny.
- At the end of the film, Judi Dench’s M dies and paves the way for a new M: Ralph Fiennes’s character, Mallory.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins, who previously worked with Mendes on Jarhead and Revolutionary Road, did a fantastic job capturing the beauty of every location. From the very first opening shot (which is a different take on something instantly recognizable by Bond fans) it was apparent that Skyfall was going to be a visual masterpiece. Deakins was able to use lights and shadows to create beautiful images on the screen; so beautiful that I wish the theater had a pause button. Along with Bardem, I think Roger Deakins is a worthy Oscar contender this season.
Javier Bardem’s Wig
Unfortunately, every coin has two sides; while Bardem’s on-screen presence was phenomenal, his wig was not. It was actually a little hard for me to focus on his performance with that awful wig staring back at me.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Out of the three Daniel Craig led Bond films, Skyfall is hands down the best. The film has a perfect balance of action and drama, with humor thrown in at the appropriate places. In my opinion, Skyfall more than made up for the forgettable Quantum of Solace, and I really do believe that the film could see an Oscar or two this award season. If you’re a Bond fan, you’ll definitely want to see this film (maybe even a second time)!