The longest-running film franchise of all time celebrates their 50th Anniversary in style with Skyfall, the twenty-third installment in the James Bond film series. Daniel Craig marks his third performance as James Bond as Ben Wishaw debuts as gadget guru Q (a.k.a. Quartermaster). Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) helms this film and all the underlying themes amid some very memorable circumstances surrounding Agent 007.
Audiences get a great mix of surprises, new elements, and familiar fundamentals like the exotic international locations, overt sexual overtones and, of course, the gear, which for Bond personally is surprisingly simple. Unique weapons like a stinging machine pistol make an impression as well as several vehicles including helicopters, construction equipment, motor-bikes plus the classic James Bond car (silver-birch Aston Martin DB5), Jaguars, Range Rovers, Audi A5 B8, and Mercedes. The globetrotting locations including Istanbul, Shanghai, Scotland, and, of course, London.
John Logan shares screenwriting duties with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade as this screenwriting trio extends the previous Bond installment, Quantum of Solace, from a 106 minute running time (the shortest James Bond film on record) to approximately 142 minutes, the second longest after Craig’s other Bond outing Casino Royale.
Craig (Road to Perdition, Munich, Layer Cake) continually advances Bond’s bravado filled characteristics as he faces Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) who makes a fantastic villain named Raoul Silva. Bardem’s unforgettable introductory scene immediately establishes their contrast, which lays the groundwork for a perspective detached from compassion and obsessed with tenacious cyberterrorist plan to complete at all costs.
Dame Judi Dench returns in her seventh appearance as Bond’s smart, steely superior M who holds a stronger relationship with her dangerously talented subordinate than the two Bond girls – Naomie Harris (28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean) as British agent named Eve and Berenice Marlohe as Severine.
Eve portrays a realistic field agent experience while Severine’s passionate path advances the plot. Tonia Sotiropoulou also appears with Craig in an early standout scene – one of the best composed film scenes in the series. Rory Kinnear returns as M’s colleague Tanner while Ralph Fiennes plays Mallory. Albert Finney plays Kincade near the film’s nostalgic and revealing end.
The inventive action sequences are top notch as 007 film veteran Gary Powell handles the stunts and keeps a strong family tradition dating back to his father’s work doubling for Sean Connery. Mendes’ impressive style gets strong support from outstanding crew members like cinematographer Roger Deakins and editor Stuart Baird.
First-time Bond film composer Thomas Newman provides a powerful musical score with all the familiar themes as Adele sings the title song “Skyfall”, the first James Bond theme to debut in the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
This highly recommended Bond installment (***1/2 out of four stars) has memorable dialogue, great action, and dynamic scenarios plus Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences, action and some sexual content. The IMAX theater release was a first for this film series.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler