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Skyfall - Film Review

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by Adam Ray Palmer (subscribe)
A film reviewer, a poem dabbler and an admirer of words. They are funny things aren't they? Words, where would we be without them? On TV probably.
Published October 26th 2012
Cheesy, moody alcoholic man? Yes James Bond is back
Bond is back with a bang, and what a bang it is!

Bond, James Bond is back to his best in this 23rd instalment of the Bond franchise that has run for a staggering 50 years.

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Daniel Craig stars in his 3rd James Bond film 'Skyfall' after a disappointing time as the agent in 'Quantum of Solace' and also, in my opinion, the overrated 'Casino Royale'. So, to put it bluntly, as much as I get excited for a new James Bond movie; I was hugely sceptical about this next Bond offering. Much to my surprise, it was like a whole new modern take on the franchise and I must say it worked; it was sensational.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade returned to compose another Bond script after penning the previous five Bond films along with fellow writer John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo, and The Aviator) also joining them on the script. The screenplay for 'Skyfall' is brilliantly written by the trio with fragments of tension and suspense in scenes leading to powerful and action-fuelled spectacles that really get the audiences' adrenaline pumping. I think a key detail is that 'Skyfall' creates the perfect mixture of realism and lavishness. Realism is an element that has been lacking in the previous three films by some distance but the writers certainly nail it here.

Sam Mendes directs this stylish and thrilling instalment with similar conventions and techniques mimicking the latest Batman trilogy. If people were still wondering what it would be like if Christopher Nolan took the helm of a Bond production, I think we have found the answer. 'Skyfall' is dark, moody, smooth and gripping. It is very reminiscent of 'The Dark Knight' with scenes of blatant action and also sequences of suspense to build up the climatic scenes. I think the main reason I was so excited for 'Skyfall was because Sam Mendes headlined this project, and to be fair, he created a Bond masterpiece. Mendes, having already won an Oscar for 'American Beauty', displayed all his experience in this film with some great camera angles, a few picturesque establishing shots and many slick, fast-paced action edits where Bond shows off his battle moves. I think a special mention needs to be noted to Mendes for the way he portrayed James Bond to be vulnerable and older in this film but without forsaking the faith we have in the agent. I think it is very difficult for a director to show the main protagonist becoming slightly withered in his older, less-fit age but yet still guaranteeing the audiences willingness and belief in Bond to succeed.

The cast in this British phenomenon is sparkling along with the script and directing as Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and the evil villain Javier Bardem star. The two Bond girls on this occasion are Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris who later in the film reveals her true self which I will not spoil. Both these ladies are stunning but personally I think Berenice (playing Severine) could possibly be one of the most beautiful Bond girls of all-time.

Daniel Craig presents his best performance as James Bond to date in this action-thriller delivering those pinch-of-salt cheesy lines, demonstrating little emotion and expressing his quality combat skills. I think Daniel Craig has had a strong year with 'Skyfall' and his notable performance in last year's 'The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo'. Judi Dench is exquisite as ever with her portrayal of 'M' showing her elegance and class in scenes of need. A court sequence is evidence here when she reels off a little speech declaring her views in a poetic style. She also delivers a more timid and vulnerable side to her when her role is in jeopardy with more and more people thinking she is too old for her job.

Javier Bardem steals the show for me with his majestic depiction of an evil villain Raoul Silva. He is confident, sly, and intelligent and sometimes conveyed psychotic. By the term 'psychotic' I do not mean violent and uncontrollable. He is calm and stays tranquil in times of action where he oddly grins with his dodgy dentistry when murdering innocents. Silva reminds me yet again of 'The Dark Knight' film in terms of the villain 'The Joker'. He too is calm and quirky when action is needed to be taken. Ben Whishaw's role is well-acted too as the younger, wittier version of 'Q'. I think the youth of 'Q' dictates that Ben will be in the future Bond movies too.

If I could take one snipe at the film it would be something that the director, writers and actors could not do anything about... the product placement. I am sure many of you would have noticed in recent Bond films that products are slowly coming into cameras shot such as the 'Vaio' laptops in 'Casino Royale'. Do not fear... the laptops return in this Bond chapter too. In addition, many more products creep into the misc en scene; especially a bar scene when you can see all the bottles behind the bar clearly. I will let you find all the products in the film rather than me list them all now, but if you are wondering why the product placement is occurring, rumour has it Heineken paid 28 million for the bottle to be shown on screen twice. I am sure that lump sum could help with the production of 'Skyfall'.



The Verdict
What I loved about this film is that 'Skyfall' is like a stripped back version of any other classic Bond movie. At times, the film feels very mellow, especially in the weapons department when the only gadgets on offer for James are a personalised gun and a mini-chip radio, but the film manages to deal with the minimal aspects and turn them into a huge positive. The biggest risk 'Skyfall' attempts is to re-introduce James Bond to the viewers and asks us questions about what is going to happen next. Is he past it? Is there a future for him? Or should he just retire with his Martini (or Heineken)? It is a bold and daring film to say the least but it definitely pulls it off.

Star Rating: 5/5
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Why? Who doesn't love a Bond movie?
Where: Cinemas Worldwide
Your Comment
Very nice- agree with most of your comments here. Bardem really stood out for me, and I too thought there were parallels between this and The Dark Knight- especially with the teeth scene. Great review, I only wish I'd got in there first!
by Katie Thompson (score: 1|29) 1944 days ago
The first '"The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo" is still easily the best, like most classics the take off don't quite have the same punch and would not become a classic on their own merit. Looking forward to the latest Bond Thriller, turn off the reality, sit back and enjoy soon hopefully.
by roxy (score: 1|15) 1931 days ago
Looking forward to seeing this one. I also find product placement to be distracting but I guess that's all part of the machine.
by Where I Holiday (score: 2|338) 1926 days ago
Good review. Good film. I loved it too! :)
by Sally Writes (score: 2|533) 1926 days ago
Oh man are you for real? The only comment on the younger female actresses is to say how 'beautiful' they are. You are part of the problem women are not taken seriously. Can we have a pic of you in a skimpy satin dress with makeup and stillettos please? Oh, and don't forget to take off all your hair except the hair on the top of your head; that is allowed to be long and artifically enhanced. Then we will judge your looks and how you feel about that.
by ozdig (score: 0|4) 1903 days ago
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