As I sit here listening to the soundtrack to “Skyfall” by my man Thomas Newman (Newman for President 2016!), I can’t help but replay the entire movie through my head. I’ve seen every Bond film multiple times, most of which spent with my dad during the TNT Month of Bond marathon’s over the years, and “Skyfall” definitely takes the cake. Most if not all of you older folks will automatically disagree because Mr. Connery “is the only Bond”, but Daniel Craig has brought in a new era altogether. “Skyfall” is no longer your dad’s James Bond.
To me “Skyfall” is the best James Bond film I’ve ever seen, and here is why. It is every single Bond movie put together. That’s not to say that you don’t need to see the previous 22 to appreciate it, but it does stand alone as a pretty awesome film. It also has the closest thing to an origin story that Bond has ever come to. Previously Pierce Brosnan mentioned how Bond’s parents died back in “Goldeneye” but this time we actually get to live through Bond’s past. Also the jokes are back. Both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” were almost completely bare-bones action with a few chuckles here and there, but “Skyfall” came back and had us laughing several times throughout the film. It brings you back to remembering that Bond is still a suave and quick-witted spy instead of just a brawler with some fancy gadgets. Which brings me to my next point: Q. Ever since Desmond Llewelyn passed away after “The World is Not Enough”, Bond has been remiss of his trusted Quartermaster. Luckily we now have Ben Whishaw as a younger, Mark Zuckerberg-esque Q who quickly proves to be more of a friend to Bond then a mentor. I felt that this fit in quite well, especially with our generation who may tend to find the older films tedious and smutty. I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure what that word means but for some reason it felt like it fit the sentence. Let’s run with it.
At 143 minutes this movie definitely did not feel long enough. I tend to piece together the bits of the trailer into the film and use what’s left to figure out how close we’re getting to the end, and as the remaining pieces dwindled all I could think about is how I wanted it to keep going. From the opening sequence watching Bond chase down an assassin on a moving train through Istanbul after riding a motorcycle off a bridge, to his romps in China, England, and finally Scotland I just couldn’t get enough. Sure the dialogue has it’s cheesy moments and Javier Bardem’s villain is a tad reminiscent of earlier rogues, but that’s what makes this a fun movie, right? That’s another thing, Bardem’s portrayal of Silva, the blonde haired creeper with a personal vendetta. He’s almost more realistic in this way because his motive isn’t world takeover or large scale bank robbery, it’s something much deeper than that. In my opinion it takes Bond and MI6 to places they’ve never been before and creates tension for Bond. I read an article yesterday about the film and how Bardem’s role was questioned as being homosexual in a way, but instead Sam Mendes (director) defined it as uncomfortable, which is exactly how it ended up being. Coincidentally the first time we are introduced to Silva the audience had several laughs at the interaction between the two. It was a breath of fresh air to be up against a baddie who wasn’t petting a cat, or trying to harness the sun’s rays with a satellite filled with diamonds (yeah, this actually happened in “Die Another Day”). The chemistry between the two actors was amazing, and even Bardem’s channeling of Hannibal Lecter was spot on. Even Judi Dench got a much larger role than usual, which is great to see because she was born to play M and get out from behind the desk. Newcomer to the series Ralph Fiennes was a perfect choice for his character, Gareth Mallory (Gareth?). He’s basically M’s higher-up but treats her more like an old…younger sister, if that makes sense. He spends his time looking out for her while also trying to remain professional. Naturally the first time he and Bond meet they butt heads, but the relationship takes a sudden leap about halfway into the film which can mean only great things for later on. And holy crap, Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe are super sexy Bond Women (no longer “Girls”), and are also a solid throwback to the wooing ways of old. Truly everyone cast in this film in whichever roll they filled was an excellent choice, and I certainly wouldn’t have picked anyone else.
Javier Bardem no longer works in films unless his character has weird hair.
I would like to end this with the “Bond Theory”, and what “Skyfall” does for it. When “Die Another Day” came out, the director had considered using Roger Moore or Sean Connery in a cameo role as Brosnan’s Bond’s father, therefore explaining that the Agent number 007 and James Bond were just moniker’s for an agent’s specific level. Basically if you were a member of MI6 and happened to be good at breaking the rules and killing bad guys, you reached the level of 007 and your “cover” then became James Bond, with the same back story as every character. This would explain why there have been so many different Bond’s over the years, as well as why George Lazenby looked directly at the screen and said, “This never happened to the other fella” after chasing a girl on a beach in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. Of course there are discrepancies with this over the series, but there are also reaffirmations such as Judi Dench M being referred to as “new” in “Goldeneye”, and “Casino Royale” being time stamped within 2006. Yeah I know, we fan boys have way too much time on our hands. Anyway, “Skyfall” offers it’s own unique take on this theory, one that I assumed was debunking it right away but after listening to my girlfriend’s thoughts (and dismissing them way too quickly), I now think she was right in stating that this film only helped the idea that there have been several James Bond’s over the years (shout out to Emily). So whether you really care about the series or not, it really hits home and offers more than just action. Even you Connery lovers will walk away thinking this one is shaken and not stirred. (I admit, I have no idea what that means.)
DIRECTOR’S CUT: I hate Adele and wish someone else had sung the theme song, but the movie more than makes up for it. It’s just too bad that kids can’t really dress up as James for Halloween since the man could use some more recognition as being awesome.
FLICKCHART RATING: 20/1956 (Whoa)