My Review of ‘Skyfall’ (2012)

This review may contain a few SPOILERS! Okay, you’ve been warned or maybe living under a rock.

I must confess that after a certain point, I pretty much stopped watching Bond films. Between the outsized villains seeking to take over the world and all the cutesy gadgets — and dumb jokes, in Roger Moore’s case — not to mention the improbable situations and names of various female characters. Well, it all started to blur into an almost indistinguishable mass of secrecy, double crosses, dead dames, and climactic endings so epic, there exists no shark big enough for them jump.

However, having Daniel Craig play Bond has either 1) made the character much more interesting or 2) the writing has improved. I suspect both are true.

As for the plot, the movie starts in media res (pretty much), with Bond engaged in a big fight atop a moving train with a mercenary who stole top secret files with names, etc., of MI6 undercover agents. After trading a few punches — and diving to avoid near decapitation by train tunnel — Bond falls to his (presumed) death.

Now, you know the guy’s not dead. He can’t be. That part is basically You Only Live Twice revisited, except Bond’s “death” in that movie was planned.

So, in Bond’s absence, M faces severe consequences for letting the bad guy make off with the hard drive that holds all those secret identities. And then MI6’s servers get hacked and, well … all hell breaks loose when the MI6 building kind of explodes. Now, there’s an event that’ll ruin one’s day, if you’re an MI6 employee/a contractor/M.

At that point, Bond returns to the fold (what’s left of it). And even though he fails every physical, medical, and psych test they put him through, M wants him back on (what remains of) the team. Guess she’d grown accustomed to his (current) face.

Waiting for Q.

As always, Bond is outfitted with new, ultra cool techie gadgets by a young bespectacled geek, the new Q. And, from where I’m sitting, I’d say this one’s quite an upgrade. Very sleek, very sure, and very, very millennial.

“Seriously?”

Basically, the story revolves around finding the fiendish person who’s trying to destroy MI6 — and take M out while they’re at it. Mostly because of M and what she did to this fiendish person.

In many ways, this is one of the best Bond films I’ve seen in years. Along with great performances by Craig and Judith Dench being as M as ever, Javier Bardem’s performance as the villain of our story, for the first time I can recall in the franchise, is played more as a pathetic wretch than a man looking to take over the world. His evil deeds are inspired less by desire for world domination than just flat-out revenge.

“Thanks a helluva lot, M!”

I also liked that the filmmakers used modern technology, without overusing it. It’s this kind of update that’s helped (to some extent) keep the franchise relatively fresh and relevant to today.

Not only that, but the relationship between Bond and M is fleshed out in a most interesting way. Plus, we get to find out the Bond origin story. At least a little of it.

Image via Into Film.

The movie ends on a bittersweet note, that gives a sense of closure, but not a sense that the franchise is done.

Image via Daily News Dig.

Not by a long shot.

Did I mention who what else makes a guest appearance here? 🙂

Can you say Aston Martin?

Definitely a great pick for Bond fans, old and new.

*****

Directed by Sam Mendes
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan (based on the Bond series by Ian Fleming)

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Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.