COLUMN: "Skyfall" soars
In a current action film market saturated with computer-generated heavy effects and action-packed thrillers, “Skyfall” blasts the James Bond series back into the world of action movies.
Bond enthusiasts had serious doubts as to where their beloved series — which is celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year — was going after the disappointing “Quantum of Solace.” The most pertinent dilemma “Skyfall” faced was how to make such a classy film series feel at home in such an action-packed film market.
“Skyfall” brings back a more classic Bond than in other Daniel Craig Bond films — most recently “Quantum of Solace” — which has been given a lot of due criticism for not living up to the Bond name. Director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) and writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan went back to old Bond themes while mixing in new-age technology to meet modern audience’s expectations in “Skyfall”
In the pre-credit sequence we learn a hard drive containing the names of every undercover NATO agent implanted within terrorist organizations has been stolen from MI6, and it is James Bond’s responsibility to get it back. Bond and his sidekick, Eve (Naomie Harris) look to take back the hard drive at any costs.
During the initial chase scene, Bond has gotten himself in a precarious situation where he is fighting the man who has the hard drive on a moving train zooming across the Turkish countryside. M, Bond’s long-time boss, has to decide whether to shoot at the man and risk hitting Bond or let the man escape, which would be perilous for the undercover spies.
M gives the command to shoot the man, but Eve misses and hits Bond. After the incident, everyone thinks Bond is dead — M even writes Bond’s obituary — but in true Bond fashion, he comes back to avenge his failures and find whomever is responsible for stealing the hard drive.
Playing the all-important villain in “Skyfall” is Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men”), and his character Silva is sinister, unruly and motivated by his hatred for England and M. Bardem delivers an awesome performance, adding a much-needed villain spice that “Quantum of Solace” was lacking in its recipe.
Another essential ingredient to “Skyfall” is Q. Q, or quartermaster (Ben Whishaw), surprisingly, adds a geeky hacker image — another nice touch Mendes added in hopes of modernizing “Skyfall” — to the role of providing Bond with all of his weapons.
Ralph Fiennes plays the head of British Intelligence for the Prime Minister and adds some flavor to what could have been a very dry and boring character. All of the supporting actors really made the movie enjoyable and memorable.
Kudos to Mendes and his writers because they did exactly what they needed to do to turn the rump roast (“Quantum of Solace”) into filet mignon in “Skyfall.” The beautiful worldwide scenery and awesome credit scene are two more subtle details that really help “Skyfall’s” reputation as one of the best Bond films.
“Skyfall” has a 143 minute runtime and could have benefitted slightly from a closer to a two hour runtime, but add the spectacular acting, exotic scenery and amazing storyline, and “Skyfall” easily outshines other Daniel Craig Bond films and brings back the James Bond series to its former glory.