Skyfall may be the best 007 movie ever. Sam Mendes has crafted a passionate homage to 50 years of Bond films while creating his own epic that propels the super spy into the future. This adventure is thrilling and emotionally gripping.
A list of deep cover agents is lost. M and MI6 are humiliated then attacked. Bond is left for dead. The spy resurrects himself when the mission gets personal.
Daniel Craig completely owns Bond now. His 007 is a cool, confident, clever killer with a ruthlessness in the field and in the bedroom. The creators let Craig take Bond into his past to see what made him the perfect recruit for MI6 and explore a part of Ian Fleming’s creation we’ve never seen on-screen.
Let’s just crown Javier Bardem as the new ultimate Bond villain! Silva brushes aside Auric Goldfinger, Doctor No and Rosa Klebb. The cyberterrorist has an M obsession and a fatal attraction to Bond. You can see shades of Red Grant, Hannibal Lecter, Anton Chigurh and the Joker madly swirling into Bardem’s performance. Just when you think you know Silva’s next move he violently switches stalking like a predator towards his endgame.
Let’s move on to the Bond girls.
Judi Dench is the silvery queen of steel as Bond’s boss. The villain’s plot is not grounded in destroying the world or money. It’s personal. M is under fire from an obsessed terrorist, an arrogant superior (superbly played by Ralph Fiennes) and an onslaught of bureaucrats who want her to hang. Dench is perfection whether giving orders to leave an agent for dead, staring down government investigators or dodging bullets from the unhinged villain.
Naomie Harris and Daniel Craig share some of the best on-screen chemistry since Sean Connery and Honor Blackman in Goldfinger. Eve is a gorgeous, resourceful field agent who is not just 007′s eye candy. She is crucial to his survival and future.
When 007′s adventure takes him to Shanghai and exotic Macao he encounters the exquisite Berenice Marlohe as Severine. The stunning French actress portrays the mysterious bad girl perfectly. Bond peels away the gorgeous layers of this haunted women tied to the villain.
Skyfall marks the welcome return of Q to the Bond series. This is not your father’s Quartermaster with an arsenal of impossible gadgets. Ben Whishaw portrays a young, snarky, brilliant computer genius with echoes of the Mark Zuckerberg seen in The Social Network and the biting wit of the classic Q (the late Desmond LLewelyn.)
James Bond jets from Istanbul to Shanghai to Macao to the London Underground to an island of the dead with thrilling chases, fights, seductions, and revelations. 007 changes the game and the action hits home when he lures the villain to the Scottish Highlands for a brutal version of The Most Dangerous Game. The climax is action and emotion packed with pitch perfect performances by Craig, Dench, Bardem and a scene stealing Albert Finney.
Let’s bow to Sam Mendes now. You can sense the director’s love and knowledge of the franchise. Mendes and writers John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade fill Skyfall with clever winks with classic lines, moments and icons of the series. You can enjoy the film as a 007 virgin but if you’re an obsessive like me you will absolutely delight in all the references to the Bond legacy. Mendes celebrates the past while creating a modern thriller that moves Bond into the future.
I can’t help but think but compare Daniel’s first and latest Bond films to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. Casino Royale was Bond Begins. Mendes has given us James Bond Rises in Skyfall. But this is not the end. James Bond will return.
A huge congratulations to the cast and crew of Skyfall. Ian Fleming, Albert Broccoli, Bernard Lee, Desmond LLewelyn and Lois Maxwell are raising their martinis to you.