Jul 28, 2014

Skyfall Redeems Bond Franchise

After a misstep with Quantum of Solace, Bond is back on track

I saw Skyfall at midnight on November 8th…not midnight on November 9th…but the 8th...Imax theatres were opening the film 24 hours before regular cinemas.  Yes, I was excited.  I have been seeing fewer films in theaters…somewhat because of lack of time, some cost reasons, but mostly because there just hasn’t been anything I want to spend money to see.  Until now. 

I did my best not to read the hype or reviews on Skyfall before I went to see it.  I didn’t want anything to mar the experience for me.  I wanted to LOVE IT.  I wanted it to supersede Casino Royale in terms of being the ultimate 21st Century Bond film.  Well, it’s a very good film.  And a great Bond film.  But, it is still not as taut as Casino Royale.  Oh well. 

One of the reasons it does not live up to the super high aspirations of Casino Royale is the story.  It’s a good plot…it’s just not a great plot.  It’s tight and streamlined and crisp and well-shot and breathtakingly well-made.  But, there is no soul.  No lynchpin.  No gusto that Casino Royale has in spades.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s a great Bond movie.  Once again, Daniel Craig proves he is up for and fit for the task of playing the greatest spy in the world.  He proved his worth in Casino Royale, lost most of our respect in his next Bond outing, Quantum of Solace, and has come back in Skyfall with true vengeance.  Dame Judi Dench has a large part to play in this one, as “M,” the fearless leader of MI-6.  And more of anything Dench is a good thing.  Javier Bardem, who plays vengeful villain Silva harkens back to the Bond baddies of old…the Blofelds and the Goldfingers who are more of a mad, maniacal presence than a real threat of any kind.  Did we ever really believe that kitty-stroking Blofeld was going to let the US and Russia fight to the death?  Well, maybe for a few seconds…but after we see the glint in his one scar-less eye, we knew that he is all bark and little bite. 

Silva is kind of the same way.  Yes, his methods and the things he carries out are more dastardly evil than anything Blofeld even thought of doing.  But his slow, precarious manner and his sly demeanor recalls the good ol’ days of Connery’s winks and grins. 

Will I re-watch Skyfall once it comes out on DVD?  You bet I will.  Will I buy it to add it to my Bond DVD collection?  Yes.  Will I feel a knot in the pit of my stomach when I purchase it like I did with Quantum of Solace?  No, because this is a much better movie than that previous Daniel Craig Bond outing.  Skyfall allowed Craig and the rest to redeem themselves from the Quantum of Solace mess.  But, what would REALLY redeem the entire franchise is to make the next one even better.  Casino Royale 2

Skyfall: 2012, rated PG-13, 143 minutes, directed by Sam Mendes, starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, and Berenice Marlohe.   The Niles Public Library will buy this title when it is released on DVD and blu-ray in 2013. 

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