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Friday, November 16, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall

This year, Daniel Craig returns for his third time as James Bond/Agent 007 in Skyfall! With the release of this, the 23rd James Bond movie, also marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. Back in 1962, the one and only Sean Connery starred as Ian Flemming's Agent 007: James Bond, in Dr. No! Spanning 23 films (not counting the original Casino Royale (1967) spoof) and 6 different Bonds, it has become the most popular and successful film franchise in the world! The newest installment to the Bond films will no doubt leave it's mark as one of the most anticipated and successful Bond movie to date.
Following a botched mission in Turkey, Bond, believed to be dead, returns to MI6 to track down a dangerous cyber-criminal known as Silva (Javier Bardem). While Bond questions his choice to return to the spy life, he also has some misgivings of 'M's (Judi Dench) orders, who despite her efforts to keep the world safe, is soon to be replaced by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). With the help of a new and particularly young 'Q' (Ben Whishaw), Bond must track down this sadistic hacker, who has a personal vendetta against 'M' and MI6!
The ever-popular credit sequence for this movie is particularly impressive with the theme song "Skyfall" performed by the artist Adele. Like any Bond film, there is of course a few new Bond girls (or women, per political correctness) including Eve (Naomie Harris), who also played Tia Dalma in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe) a popular French TV actress. Under director Sam Mendes (American Beauty (1999), Road to Perdition (2002), Jarhead (2005), Skyfall is an intense and action-packed film worthy of the Bond name. Filmed at some of the most exotic locations including Istanbul, Shanghai, Japan, the film film also features several scenes within downtown London and even along the moors of the Scottish countryside. The Shanghai location is visually stunning with a floating casino made up of Chinese lanterns and dragons which includes live Komodo dragons in a pen! While Daniel Craig's Bond has established himself as the newest 007 since Casino Royale (2006), he has presented himself as a more serious, even darker and grittier secret agent. Also, since the death of Vesper (Eva Green), his character has become a brooding, reluctant hero. Another variation of the Bond character comes with this newest film, since many of the previous Bonds have never had much of a backstory. Always somewhat one-dimensional, many Bonds let their suave demeanor and one-liners carry through the entire film while many of them (particularly in the 1970's) were overly formulaic and predictable. With this Bond there is a little more insight into his character and his origins along with elements of him dealing with his insecurities and coming to terms with his age, a theme that has become common in recent action films like The Expendables (2010). Skyfall is unlike any previous Bond movie, with a unique twist on the age-old revenge story. The only disappointment in this movie (despite the numerous rumors online) is that it does not reference much in the previous film: Quantom of Solace (2008) and has little, if nothing to do with the elusive and mysterious antagonist group known as 'Quantum'. Along with strong overtones of the modern concept of terrorism and world in-security, it strikes a heavy chord within our modern, post-"War on Terror" age (particularly with the comments made by Judi Dench's 'M' towards the climax). Without spoiling any plot points, this movie begins a new era in the Bond franchise, which will be apparent in the ending, leaving it open for at least two more confirmed Daniel Craig Bond films.