It seemed silly to re-do my review of Skyfall, seeing as I’d already reviewed it right here!! Skyfall is a brilliant movie, and a brilliant Bond film as well. It’s near perfect for me. It’s got the right mixture of quips and a good story, two things that I think the previous two films were missing respectively. So here it is, my review of Skyfall which was originally published on October 29, 2012.
“The two survivors. This is what she made us.”
I have seen all the Bond films more times than I can count. It’s a film series that is synonymous with Britain, and you could ask any random person on the street, Bond maniac or not, who their favourite Bond is, and everybody will have a different answer to the last (I’m a Pierce Brosnan fan, he was my first Bond so he’ll always BE Bond for me) I have fond memories of watching the tanker truck finale in License to Kill, seeing Rosa Klebb’s shoe blade in From Russia With Love, laughing at Scaramanga’s third nipple in The Man With the Golden Gun, feeling sad at the death of Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service or cheering as Alec Trevelyan is dropped from the submersible satellite dish at the end of Goldeneye. It is my favourite film series ever, I even love Die Another Day! Because of this, I was going to love Skyfall whatever the end result was. Skyfall however, was better than anything I could have imagined.
Skyfall is the 23rd Bond film in the series (or 25th if you include the 1967 Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again) It is also the 50th anniversary of the series. I can’t imagine the pressure director Sam Mendes was under to make it original, yet familiar for Bond fans. He strikes a good balance, with a few subtle references to old Bond films such as the ejector seat or Bond’s “You must be joking” to Q (an obvious nod to Goldfinger) or the palm reading gun (similar to the one in License To Kill) or my favourite, Bond jumping on a Komodo Dragon to escape (a reference to the crocodile jumping scene in Live and Let Die)
The film throws you straight into the action, with Bond chasing down Patrice, a mercenary who has stolen a hard drive containing the names of all the NATO agents currently undercover in various terrorist organisations. Bond chases Patrice down with the help of another operative, Eve. This pre-credits scene will go down in Bond history as one of the best, with Bond going from car to bike to train to digger before finally getting into a fistfight with Patrice on the roof of the train (a nod to Octopussy?) The film reminds us that 007 is not invincible, with Bond getting shot at least once by Patrice. M is also shown as particularly ruthless; ordering Eve to take the shot at Bond and Patrice even though there’s a good chance Bond will get hit. Bond does get hit (although this scene is in every trailer) and he falls of the train, leading to the opening credits. Whatever your feelings on Adele’s “Skyfall”, it works very well, and these credits stand tall against the classic openings. They have their own modern twist, yet there is still the occasional shadowy naked lady, reminiscent of all the best Bond openings.
When Bond returns after three months a lot has changed; M is being forced to resign and MI6 has been half destroyed. He is soon training to get back into the field. He’s not as good as he used to be. This is another cool touch, even Bond has a few off-days. He can’t shoot straight and he is not in very good physical condition. He fails the tests, but M has faith in him, sending him off into the field regardless. The next section of the film see’s Bond heading to Shanghai to kill Patrice. There’s a great hand to hand battle between the two at one of the top levels of a skyscraper. It’s a dark fight, just two silhouettes fighting against the backdrop of Shanghai, until Patrice fires his gun and lights up the battle. It’s a brilliant effect and is shot amazingly. On that note, the whole film is well shot. Whether Bond is in Shanghai or driving through the Scottish Highlands, it always looks beautiful. But what else were we to expect from Oscar winner Sam Mendes?
After a cool scene in a Shanghai casino we finally meet Silva. We later find out he was an ex-operative who worked for Station H, a similar job perhaps to that of Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love who worked for Station T. Silva however, is an anomaly. He has every hallmark of a stereotypical villain; his own island, long evil speeches, a horrible physical deformity (thanks to a cyanide pill gone wrong) but Javier Bardem plays him so well that you just can’t take your eyes of him. You believe what he’s doing, and you believe that he’s truly insane. He is obviously enjoying playing this madman, throwing everything he’s got into this role.
It’s not just Javier Bardem, who does well in their role. Daniel Craig is great as Bond (Obviously) and Judi Dench shines as M. The supporting cast do a brilliant job as well, Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris are brillianr as Sévérine and Eve respectively. Ralph Fiennes is excellent as Mallory as well, a roll which he’ll probably be reprising in future films. There isn’t a weak link in the film; great actors, great action and Sam Mendes makes a great director as well.
After a series of events that include Silva escaping MI6, a train crash and M reciting a passage from Ulysess by Alfred Lord Tennyson; James and M escape to his ancestral family home which is named Skyfall. It’s here where they meet another supporting character, the Bond family’s gamekeeper Kincade played by Albert Finney. Him and Bond have some great lines together, such as when Bond see’s him for the first time in the film; “Are you not dead yet?” It is Kincade and M who are Bonds only allies in this final fight against Silva and it is brilliant. They set up some evil Home Alone-type traps to get Silva and his men and get in position. The Bond house is destroyed in the process of the fight but 007 doesn’t care (“I always hated this house”) But it really hit the fan when they blow up the DB5. This is an incredibly cool scene, as the DB5 explodes you can see how pissed off Bond is. The action slows down and the final confrontation takes place in a small chapel in the grounds of Skyfall Lodge. A quick look at a gravestone in the cemetery shows that this is the resting place of Bonds parents, Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix Bond, making this a really poignant finale (especially for long time Bond fans)
I’ll end the review here, as not to spoil the ending. As the review suggests I highly recommend this film, not just for Bond fans but for movie fans generally, it’s the movie of the year for me and rightly so.
Anyway, it’s been a fun 23 days. I still believe that the James Bond series is the greatest series of movies of all time. Watching them over the past 3 weeks or so has given me a better appreciation of these movies, the majority of them are classics in their own right and will go (and have gone) down in history as brilliant movies. James Bond has been a big influence on me since I’ve been very little, and watching them again takes me back to that time. Each movie is a slice of nostalgia for me, and I will carry on watching them forever. Thank you to Tom for helping me undertake this big task, it’s been great. And thank you for reading our ramblings. Until next time!
Reviewed by Jack 😛