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Skyfall - The Day James Bond Fell From The Sky

In One Word

Fresh

Genre

Action / Thriller

Released By / Year

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) / 2012

Movie Review

Overall impression: Excellent

Favorite line: Welcome to Scotland!

Skyfall marks James Bond's 50 year anniversary as a movie phenomenon. With sly humor and plenty of nods to the older movies, Skyfall manages to capture everything that is great about the James Bond franchise and keep it up to date.

The grand scale and elaborate plot twists, which often are synonymous with a James Bond movie, are not at the center of Skyfall. Instead the focus is on the relationship between M and Bond and the movie has a back to basics feel to it. Even the villain is driven by an uncomplicated but effective motive, revenge.

Skyfall leaves the Quantum organization of the two previous Bond movies behind and has an all new plot, which starts with a chase for a stolen hard drive and evolves from there, into a desperate race against time to protect undercover agents and restore the honor to the MI6 organisation, only to end with a showdown at a remote setting, tracing back to the childhood of James Bond, and a poignant sense closure.

Javier Bardem is a most excellent psychopathic villain. He has impressed in all the movies I have seen him in and here he captures a human being, lingering on the edge of insanity with great skill. He is creepy and in one scene in particular he manages to emote a strong Hannibal Lecter vibe. With Silence of the Lambs being one of my favorite thrillers, that is quite a compliment.

The Adele title song finally sees a James Bond theme song, that lives up to its legacy, harboring a distinct retro feel and a voice that channels Shirley Bassey and reminds me of the classics.

There is a lot of humor in the movie and most of it works, balancing on the fine line of not making too much fun of itself. Still, fun is clearly a key element in this movie. Action, trains, rebirth, product placement, komodo dragons and impressive set pieces are others.

The only part of the movie, which failed to feel convincing was the computer stuff. One scene in particular was incredibly stupid. That a self-proclaimed computer whizz like Q would connect the villain's personal computer directly to the internal MI6 network with disastrous effect, felt like a contrived plot mechanism. This did not go unnoticed in the audience, as the special preview I attended had the theater filled with IT people. I heard a collective groan as the computer hacking process was shown as a myriad of colored lines swirling around the screen. Entertainment value was clearly rated higher than the details of computer security when creating this movie. Some part of me thinks fortunately, since the whole thing might have been rather dull, if not.

Director Sam Mendes handles the movie with great skill and gives the characters a real human edge and several layers. A special nod goes to cinematographer Roger Deakins, who captures some visually stunning images. These two are part of what sets this particular Bond movie apart from the rest. Aside from Javier Bardem, Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Albert Finney in particular, all deliver memorable performances and make the movie work.

In 2006 Casino Royale rebooted the James Bond franchise with Daniel Craig in the title role. It was a fantastic movie, which set the bar high. I was disappointed with Quantum of Solace, mostly due to erratic, quick-cut editing, which made the action sequences lose their impact. As I entered the theater for Skyfall, I did not know what to expect. I hoped for the best and did not leave disappointed.

In the end, the best thing I can say about Skyfall must be that when the credits started rolling, my first wish was to watch the movie again.

Highly recommended.




Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, October 25, 2012