Skyfall: Movie Review

The venerable James Bond returns in the 23rd movie in the series, and on the 50th anniversary of the first Bond movie, Dr. No.

Skyfall is in many ways reminiscent of the earliest Bond films.  It focuses on the crisis at hand, develops our main characters and gives them more depth, and lives in a more present reality, without the bells and whistles of many of the Bond films of the past that make the unbelievable.

The film begins with a classic Bond chase scene, that ends with James Bond (Daniel Craig) supposedly dead (if you think this is a spoiler, please; 10 minutes into the movie and you think Bond is dead?).  He returns, but he is a shell of the man he once was, and everyone, including Bond himself, is starting to realize it.

At the same time, MI-6 is suffering an existential crisis, with there agents through out the world at risk.  M (Judi Dench) herself is on the verge of losing all credibility, not to mention her job.   She is being hounded by politicians, led by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).

Into this story enters Silva (Javier Barden) who plays an insane genius who happens to be a genius himself.  And it takes some time to realize his motivation, and when you do, you realize this is a much more personal story than many Bond films.

This movie then turns to a very personal nature, involving M and Bond, giving us insight into their lives, their past, and what made each character what they are in the present.  Additionally, it shows a level of emotion from Bond that I can’t recall seeing in any of the Bond films.  He is fighting for more than just country.

The final scenes are fascinating, in that Director Sam Mendes is clearly setting up the James Bond series to return to its roots.  We are slammed with echoes of the past through out the movie, but the final scene makes it clear:  Past is present, when it comes to this series.  And the final scene also, to no one’s surprise, promises more Bond films to come.

This is an excellent edition to the pantheon of Bond films.  I love Casino Royale, and didn’t much care for Quantum of Solace.  I think this film may be better than both.  I love that Mendes has turned back the clock, and we are seeing glimpses of the ‘classic’ Bond we have not seen since Sean Connery.  For the first time in a long time, I am actually looking forward to future installments in this series.  Highly recommended.