I’ve never been a fan of James Bond although I live in a house with someone who is so I have watched, albeit under duress, the vast majority of the films.
The Daniel Craig offerings are the only Bonds that I have watched in the cinema. I vaguely remember enjoying Casino Royale and I strongly remember hating Quantum of Solace. The trailer for Skyfall was convincing so I went into the screen with nothing more than casual curiosity.
PLOT: After an assignment in Turkey goes very wrong James Bond (Daniel Craig) returns to London to discover MI6 is under attack. The attack then become personal when it becomes clear that M (Judi Dench) is the target of deranged terrorist Silva (Javier Bardem). END PLOT
My general attitude towards the James Bond franchise is that if you have seen one you have seen them all. The witty quips, the car, the martini, the ridiculous gadgets, the Bond girls – it has been lather, rinse and repeat over the course of fifty years and it has always bored me.
Initially I thought that Skyfall was going to be no different as I started to feel restless very early on in the film but by the end I was on the edge of my seat. I didn’t realise how invested I’d become until it was too late.
The relationship between Bond and M is more prominent in Skyfall than in previous films. There is actually tension and a real possibility that Bond, who is struggling with injuries, might not save the day.
Daniel Craig is excellent as James Bond and he brings with him an edgier offering than Pierce Brosnan. In Skyfall Craig’s Bond is ageing, broken and in danger of being pushed aside by the younger generation of Eve (Naomie Harris), a character who seems rather pointless until the very end and Q (Ben Whishaw) the super brainy tech support. Craig has great chemistry with Harris and Whishaw who are both fantastic additions to the cast.
Dame Judi Dench gets up from behind M’s desk and finds herself right in the thick of the action. It is always expected that Dench will put in a great performance with limited screen time but in Skyfall she is front and centre and steals the show.
Javier Bardem is effectively menacing and his interrogation of Bond is downright unsettling. Bardem is clearly enjoying skirting along the edges of overacting but Silva never steps into full blown crazy territory.
The success of the Bourne films means that Bond has followed suit and has become much grittier. The tone is serious and although the Bond/Q scenes are amusing the familiar Bondian quips are few and far between however Skyfall is better off for it.
Thankfully the cheesy gadgets such as the god awful disappearing car have become outdated and are hopefully gone forever. In Skyfall Bond gets nothing more than a gun and a radio. The rest is up to him.
As expected there are a number action set pieces all of which are very slick and well executed. There is of course a motorcycle chase scene, a now mandatory feature in action films; nevertheless this particular sequence is very impressive. The opening credits on the other hand with that wailing banshee Adele were not so impressive.
Skyfall clocks in at 143mins which was probably a tad too long as there were a few occasions in the first half when I began to feel a bit restless - once the film got going time was no longer an issue.
I will never be a huge fan of the franchise but Skyfall is the first time I’ve ever not only enjoyed a Bond film but wanted to go straight into the next one. Skyfall gets an 8/10 and I wouldn't be too unhappy to watch it again in the future.