Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris, Ben Whishaw, Ola Rapace, Albert Finney.
Rated: PG-13. Action/Adventure. Running Time: 2 hours 23 minutes.
I’ve never been a huge James Bond fan, though I’ve certainly enjoyed some of the films over the years. I’m a Sean Connery guy for sure, but Daniel Craig has stepped firmly into my number two spot. His third shot at the suave “shaken not stirred” British spy, is my favorite of his regime so far. An unknown bad guy (I won’t spoil anything by telling you that he turns out to be the fantastic Bardem) has stolen information that contains the identities of undercover agents all over the world. Bond gets shot by accident, by one of his fellow agents while trying to retrieve said information, and is presumed dead for a short span early in the movie. Please. You can’t kill Bond. See: You Only Live Twice etc. At any rate, some truly epic chase scenes ensue (a Bond staple that Craig has taken to the next level) but the information is lost temporarily and agents lose their lives. The capable, stoic, Bond-loving M (Dench) subsequently comes under fire. It is that story line, the meeting and uncovering of Bardem’s bad guy character, and the crossing of the two events that are the heart of the movie.
I’ve been a huge Bond fan since I was a young girl. Much like my love of oldies music and the intrinsic need to watch Wheel of Fortune & Jeopardy, Bond was something instilled in me by my father. He loved watching endless marathons of the long running spy series, and in the days before DVR and multi-room flatscreens, we all watched with him. Because we had to. My parents, somewhat begrudgingly, took me to see Goldeneye in the theatre. That was the Bond of ’95 and Pierce Brosnan’s take as the clever agent. We all loved it. And that was that – I was hooked. It seemed that I had also inherited my mother’s admiration of action movies (her most recent favorites are Jason Statham & Liam Neeson flicks, although I know she’ll always have a spot reserved for Deathwish & “Charlie” Bronson in her heart). Pierce’s Bond played second fiddle only to the original Connery. But recently, I’ve been swayed by consistently great performances by Craig and my viewing partner’s glowing reviews. Craig embodies what Bond is truly about. An innate ability to come off charming, intelligent, sly, sexy and slightly obnoxious – all at the same time. Skyfall is further evidence of his success.
There is no doubt that Daniel Craig has breathed life into a franchise that seemed to be headed for the scrap heap. Did you see him getting what appeared to be a hand job under the table from his wife Rachel Weisz at the Golden Globes!? Not sure what that has to do with anything, except it was cool! Ok back to the movie. Beyond Bond, there are some other interesting stories going on here. We finally get a new Q (Whishaw), a younger, updated version, more into helping with his computer in cyberspace than in gadgets. The latter, of course the trademark of the wonderfully likeable older Q played for years by the late Desmond Llewelyn. New Q has potential, but I will certainly miss, pen guns, laser shooting Rolex’s, cars that turn into submarines, rings that ensure jackpots at slot machines, et al. Also, we are reintroduced to Miss Moneypenny, not going to say much about her to avoid spoilage. Suffice it to say, this is not your daddy’s Miss Moneypenny. And a new character emerges, Gareth Mallory (Fiennes), who is certainly here to stay. One final note, there is a reveal of the name Skyfall near the end of the movie that felt a bit “Rosebud”-ish to me. Not quite Citizen Kane, a distant cousin maybe. Though I’m not a huge Bond fan, like I said, I do find myself looking forward to what they come up with next. Thanks Daniel!
Firstly, I’d like to address the Craig/Weisz H.J., which was undoubtedly happening. I pointed it out while we were watching the Globes and with the helpful technology of DVR, we reviewed it several times. Kudos Mrs. Craig, I applaud your brazen behavior and hope your Hollywood romance endures. Skyfall had some memorable moments, but it’s the actors that have really kept Bond relevant. Of course, the plot resonates with current affairs, but the plausibility is cemented with great performances by Bardem, Dench, Fiennes and Finney. And throughout the years, Bond has always relied on his supporting cast of evil masterminds, his friends at MI6 and his harem of lovely ladies. After all, what would he do if he had no one to fight, no one to help him and no one to sleep with? He’d be one bored Bond. Lastly, I want to give credit to whoever brought in Adele for the theme song. As you Brits like to say, bloody brilliant.
Ross’ Rating: 3.75 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Maria’s Rating: 3.5 Gummies (When I rate a Bond movie, I rate it against every other Bond movie, if you think this is low).