James Bond: Skyfall ReviewJoe Green
Skyfall is the beginning in an evolution for the James Bond franchise, both in its vision and modern market appeal. Much like Christopher Nolan's new depiction of Batman's story more on its similarities to follow - Skyfall's director Sam Mendes has taken the Bond we know and turned him into a real-life hero, with more depth than the roguish ladies' man we've all grown to love.
With Skyfall marking the 50th anniversary for Bond, it's very clear that every effort has been put into making this film as grandiose, entertainingly nostalgic and epic as their creative team can muster. By Her Majesty, what a good job they have done!
You witness beautiful cinematography with set-pieces in Shangai, hallmarks of London's familiar tourist hotspots and finally, a stunning finale in Scotland's highlands; which offers an untold story into Bond's family background.
The film begins in typical and very well executed James Bond fashion. We see a thrilling opening scene with the pedigree of action the series is known for. If, like me, you weren't sold on Adele's rendition of the Bond theme song, you may well change your mind having seen the movie. It's dulcet tone fits perfectly with the events of the beginning.
But from here on we see Bond transform into something new, a modern-day and believable hero. At this stage, you are also introduced to Skyfall's villain, Silva. Javier Bardem plays the role of an anti-hero very convincingly and very well.
It was at this point that I began to notice similarities with The Dark Knight movie, as it is clear Skyfall has been heavily influenced by it's dark and ambitious nature. The villain being depicted as a true anarchist, without gain sought from his actions other than to "watch the world burn" for one. In fact, there is a late scene with Javier Bardem, in which he staggers towards the camera as a dark silhouette, with flames raging behind him and the link with Batman's, The Joker seems clear.
James Bond himself has been given the Bruce Wayne' treatment it seems, as we learn the nature of his entry to the MI6 and the background of his family. Overall, the story is by no means similar, but Mendes' intention to allow Bond to roam into epic, more chaotic territory feels familiar. The new era for Bond seems apparent now that the talented script writer, John Logan has confirmed he will be writing his vision for the next two movies' story arc.
But all of this would be somewhat diminished if Bond had entirely forgotten his roots and focused purely on the dark and the serious. More so than Daniel Craig's first two Bond films, we see a good deal of comedic relief and even humility. It also does so without seeming forced or detracting from the impressive scale of the film. In particular, there are references to James Bond's more outlandish gadgets from yesteryear and the triumphant return of his Aston Martin DB5, in which he offers to eject 'M' out of the passenger seat.
Without looking to give any inclination as to the final events of the film, it should be safe to say that the last scenes in Scotland are some of the very best. We see Bond facing enemies in a new way; not as some untouchable force, with overbearing special effects and car chases, but as a humble man facing enemies with friends. In the end, the film finishes with a hint of sorrow, not overplayed and perfectly timed. There is also a final nod to one of the series' most pivotal and well-loved characters. Importantly, it leaves you watching the credits roll with a smile on your face and a sense of satisfaction in your soul.
Skyfall is a tremendous film, which has so far been the very best of this year. The cast are excellent, the story is rebellious, the set-pieces are grand and the new direction is exciting. If you wish to spend 143 minutes on the end of your seat, in Bond's best mission yet, do not hesitate to go to your local cinema and watch Skyfall. The only problem is a classic dilemma which only the very best movies struggle with: how are they going to top it next time?
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