Directed by Sam Mendes
Expectations: Very High. I love Bond.
Skyfall might not be perfect, but it does so much right. Its opening action sequence is the perfect example of how a modern Bond film can echo the over-the-top camp of classic Connery-era Bond and still retain a modern feel. They wisely keep the action believable enough to be believable, while also concentrating on making it awesome enough to be awesome. It’s a perfect marriage and Skyfall is a Bond fan’s dream come true. This opening, which also leads into what is probably the best modern Bond credits sequence, is worth the price of admission alone.
Skyfall does a lot of interesting things as it plays with Bond and his cohorts, the most impressive of these is basing the story around the series’ supporting characters who were always regularly pushed aside after their requisite scene telling Bond what he’ll be doing next. This continues the grounding of the character started in Casino Royale, taking the series to the next level before then taking us a level deeper into Bond’s psyche (and his past). Skyfall goes places you would never expect in a Bond film, while also delivering action and situations that would feel at home in any of the Bond eras. The screenwriters must be absolute Bond nerds, and we are all reaping the benefits.
Especially so, because when Skyfall does get around to the meat of the film, it’s pretty much non-stop awesome. There’s a cat-and-mouse chase that rivals the best filmmaking the Bond series has ever known. It’s so well-constructed that it will make you forget your problems with the slow build of the plot. It’s one of those scenes where you actively root for both the hero and the villain, as every time either one gets a leg up, the audience wins.
At the end of the day, though, Skyfall is for the fans. If you don’t count yourself among the throng of 007 fans, I doubt that Skyfall will be the film that persuades you into a life of global espionage. But for those that eagerly await each new installment in the longest running film series of all time, Skyfall is a revelation. It manages to go both big and small, crafting a journey that’s exciting as well as emotional. I can’t wait for Bond 24, and if they can’t get Daniel Craig back, maybe they can bring in Macaulay Culkin. 🙂