Monday, November 26, 2012

Skyfall (2012) - Bond Changes Direction Again

Skyfall, The Billion Dollar Bond Movie

IMAX poster for Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com

After a four-year interregnum due to MGM's financial difficulties, the James Bond saga returned with a vengeance with "Skyfall" (2012), which does not disappoint fans.  Directed by Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") for MGM and EON Productions, there is a lot to enjoy for anyone who has been following the adventures of the British spy over the years.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig looking very dapper with a Martini nearby
While Daniel Craig returns as Bond, much about this Bond film is new.  The famous gun-barrel sequence occurs at the end of the film, not the beginning, and both Moneypenny and M are key players in the action..
Daniel Craig and director Sam Menzies in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig and director Sam Menzies
Bond (Daniel Craig) chases a man who has stolen a list of NATO agents.  They wind up on top of a train, where they fight it out.  Eve (Naomie Harris) is another British agent watching this who is ordered by their boss M (Judi Dench) to fire at the struggling men in hopes of helping Bond to win the fight.

Judi Dench as M in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Judith Dench as "M"
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Eve hits Bond with her shot, and the other man gets away.  Bond falls into a river, apparently dead. The list is lost to the enemy, and so M is disgraced and forced to retire. Before leaving, though, she determines to rectify the situation. Bond returns from seclusion after barely surviving the train fight and assists M in retrieving the list while at the same time protecting her from an unknown assailant.
Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
The new Miss Moneypenny, Naomie Harris
It is a fairly simply story.  Everybody wants the list of agents, but it slowly becomes clear that the list is simply being used to even some old scores.  This does not come from an story, so it has modern twists and turns that bring the character of Bond up to date.
Daniel Craig holding a gun as James Bond in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond holding his gun
It all ultimately comes down to protecting a friend, and that is what Bond is best at.  We learn about Bond's childhood as he returns to his roots in order to carry out his mission.
Daniel Craig as James Bond aiming a gun in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond getting ready to fire
The film is jam-packed with action, as you would expect.  The fight atop the train is good old, hard-swinging Bond at his best.  A sequence towards the end, when Bond must eliminate a team of assassins sent by his opponent, is full of the kinds of tricks and diversions often seen in the "Home Alone" films.  Craig gets to bring out Bond's cleverness and guile as opposed to using his fists and guns.
Daniel Craig as James Bond standing on a roof in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond looking out from a rooftop
Other characters are developed far beyond what we previously have seen.  Miss Moneypenny's first name finally is revealed, and she turns out to be much more involved in the actual spy business than has been apparent all these years.
Daniel Craig as James Bond running down a street in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond running down a street
The film runs 143 minutes, the second-longest film of the series after the recent "Casino Royale." The title refers to Bond's Scottish childhood ancestral home, to which he returns at a key part of the story.  The main villain is Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a flamboyant figure who is unlike any major Bond nemesis of the past.  Why he is causing problems and what motivates him only becomes apparent late in the story.
Daniel Craig as James Bond having a fistfight atop a train in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond having a fistfight on a train
"Skyfall" is the first Bond film to depart completely from the Ian Fleming stories.  Adele sings the theme song, which echoes the classic compositions by John Barry such as "Goldfinger" and "Moonraker" much more than it does the more recent efforts by Madonna and Jack Black/Alicia Keys.  It is somewhat sad and downbeat, which does not quite match the mood of the film, but it would sound appropriate on any compilation of Bond theme songs.
Daniel Craig as James Bond standing in front of his Aston Martin in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond standing by the classic Aston Martin
The film scored at the box office, becoming the highest-grossing film in the franchise and setting box office records in England.  It opened at 3505 locations in North American locations, the most in franchise history, and quickly earned back its production costs.
James Bond being touched by Javier Bardem in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond with villain Javier Bardem
True fans of Bond will spot scenes that echo those in several of Ian Fleming's works.  He is injured and looks older and more tired than in Craig's first couple of films in the series, giving the character a sympathetic quality that may have been lacking a bit in those efforts.  The classic Bond Aston Martin makes an appearance, as does a new Q who has some useful gadgets for our favorite spy to use.
Daniel Craig as James Bond firing a gun in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond firing a big gun

"Skyfall" is an exciting spy film with lots of action. You likely will enjoy it if you favor that type of film.  There are not many Bond girls this time, with Berenice Marlohe holding up that end of the story quite nicely.
Daniel Craig as James Bond talking with Berenice Marlohe in Skyfall movieloversreviews.blogspot.com
Daniel Craig as James Bond with the latest Bond Girl
Early reports are that , who was one of the screenwriters for "Skyfall" along with and , will author the next two Bond films.  They are said to be tied together in a two-part episode, which would be a first for the Bond franchise.  After that, it likely will be time for a new Bond and new stories that drift further and further away from Ian Fleming's vision.







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