After Quantum of Solace, the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson went through a very public struggle trying to make the next James Bond movie happen. It got to the point where Hollywood news outlets starting wondering whether James Bond should just retire, that the need for secret agents had been rendered obsolete.
Cut to four years later: A scene in the newest Bond film, Skyfall has Judi Dench’s tough-as-nails character M defending the MI6 agency against a council that want to render secret intelligence agents obsolete. Seconds later, James Bond himself bursts into the room and shoots at a potential assassin and chases him into the London underground. This is part of Skyfall‘s genius: It’s so incredibly self-aware. The script contains many tongue-in-cheek references to the struggle to make it to the big screen.
It’s hard to keep a movie series going for 50 years without it going stale. The producers of the James Bond series have done an absurdly good job of keeping things fresh while still honoring the original. Daniel Craig’s interpretation of the 21st century Bond is dark, modern, and grounded. A far cry from the cheesy gadgets and punny lines of his predecessors, Craig’s 007 is a perfect fit for modern audiences, who have long since embraced Jason Bourne and Nolan’s Batman. He’s the perfect model of a 21st century Bond. Even after the script delves into his difficult past, the man remains as invulnerable as ever.
Even the villains of Skyfall put all other Bond villains to shame. Javier Bardem’s character Silva has neither an eye-patch nor a fluffy white kitty. He’s a brilliant and incredibly complex cyberterrorist with information on all of the undercover M16 agents (and he knows details about their true identities). He’s also blatantly unhinged, bleach blond, and seems to have a pretty hard time keeping his hands to himself. His actions are genius and unpredictable; he thrives on chaos for the sake of chaos.
The Bond girl in this series is pretty forgettable (or maybe I’m just jealous) but Skyfall finds renewed energy with its resurrection of Q, played by Ben Whishaw, and Ms. Moneypenny, played by Naomie Harris. The gadgets are simple, yet effective. Nary an exploding pen in sight. That’s not to say that elements of classic Bond have disappeared completely. He’s still a suave, extremely well dressed playboy who just happens to be a highly trained secret agent. Even the old Aston Martin makes a cameo looking as shiny and dapper as ever.
Aside from being a really great Bond film, Skyfall is just a great movie in general. If you’ve never cared about the Bond series before, Skyfall provides a fantastic starting point. Director Sam Mendes created a gorgeous, thought-provoking, and riveting film. The emotional scenes are thrilling and the action scenes are perfectly choreographed.
Skyfall definitely makes its mark. In my opinion it will definitely go down as one of the best Bond films ever made. And whoever replaces Daniel Craig will have a very tough act to follow.
Kickass trailer below:
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