I must confess that I am not a James Bond fan. I’ve always found them to be either incredibly cheesy or just rather dull. The only real exceptions are Dr. No and the more recent Casino Royale. So coming from a non-Bind fan, what was my opinion of the super-hyped Skyfall?
Its still no Casino Royale, but its good.
In Skyfall, MI-6 itself is attacked, leading Bond and M on the search for a former agent who is behind it all. This former agent is Silva, played with delicious malevolence by Javier Bardem. What we end up with is a more personal James Bond story than audiences are used to, which is both off-putting and refreshing all at the same time.
This is truly a Bond film of its age. It strives very hard to be a modern telling of the classic series, through not only its technology, but in integrating the idea of old fashioned intelligence in a modern political climate. And it manages to work while keeping the Bond feel (which is something Quantum of Solace didn’t pull off so well).
Skyfall also dares to venture further into the background of the character of James Bond himself. Bond’s past was traditionally considered a taboo subject, since the movie studio always considered him too iconic of a character to start delving into too deeply. He was always supposed to be a shallow character and that should never be messed with. But Skyfall dared to there, and it paid off well. The last act of the story, coupled with Craig’s humanizing performance, gives the character of Bond new life. And after 50 years, lets face it, new life is always welcome.
But the odd thing is is that as non-traditional as this movie tires to be, it is also riddled with fan service. They play this up like an origin story (even more so than Royale), and we get the introduction of some of the old-school characters from the past, as well as some lines obviously added as a commentary on the history of the series involving, among other things, gadgets and martinis.
And while these were fun, they also felt out of place in this otherwise well-constructed action film. Casino Royale had tongue-in-cheek references to the older films as well, though I liked the subtlety of those far more than the gigantic winks made in this movie. Yet even with the weight of 22 previous efforts, Skyfall is certainly one of the franchise’s stronger efforts, with a great hero excellently played by Craig and some really good action set pieces. Definitely worth it for fans and non-fans of 007 alike.