After 50 years of Bond films, ‘Skyfall’ does not disappoint


Daniel Craig (left) and Javier Bardem star in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions' action adventure "Skyfall." 

Film Critic

To say this is the best Bond film yet would be a classic understatement. From the opening action sequence involving a chase on motorbikes across the roofs of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, to a thrilling climax set at a Scotland estate in darkness, “Skyfall” never lets up.

Daniel Craig’s Bond is weary in a way that has not been seen all that often in the previous movies in the series.

He might be intelligent, brooding and have a way with women that would make Don Juan blush, but even so he cannot escape the trappings of aging. Bond is no longer a young man, but an agent ripe with experience.

After surviving death, a clever callback to the Bond title “You Only Live Twice,” Bond is forced to come back from the shadows of death to confront an enemy targeting M.

This is not “Die Another Day,” “Moonraker” or that bloody awful “Quantum of Solace.” “Skyfall” feels more grounded and is a film for the modern age.

Everything is updated for the social media generation. A twenty-something Q, cyber terrorism as the villain’s weapon and a stronger emphasis on accountability on the part of MI6 when agents’ identities are revealed on YouTube.

Even with all the flourishes for the generation at hand, the film does a stellar job at doing old callbacks. A martini shaken but without the famous quote explicitly stated, a reference to the old way of using gadgetry by way of exploding pens and the usage of the Iconic Aston Martin DB5 as a getaway car will be recognized by any Bond fan.

This is a revenge film. No diabolical plot to overtake the world, which is a refreshing change of pace from the more outlandish Bond movies.

Bond is here to avenge the deaths of his compatriots because of a strong duty to Mother England.

In contrast we have Silva, a bleached blonde Javier Bardem, whose opening long shot where he tells the story of how his grandmother taught him how to get rid of rats on an island is both menacing and comical. His intentions are clear, he feels that he needs to eliminate M because he once served at MI6 as one of her top operatives. She ended up giving him up to the Chinese in order to secure back several agents.

In a shocking reveal, Silva explains that he clung to life but eventually decided after being tortured for so long to end it. Unfortunately the cyanide capsule he took did not kill him but completely destroyed part of his lower jaw and he takes it out to reveal his hollowed face. This betrayal leads Silva to orchestrate what could best be described as one of the more elaborate ways to get back at someone.

Aside from Bond, M and Silva, there are other intriguing characters in the film including two Bond women who are among the best in the series.

Q is modeled after the tech geeks and computer geniuses of today and I cannot wait to see more of him in the next installment.

Albert Finney as Kincade the groundskeeper provides some nice comic relief in a film that sorely needs it.

Lastly, the inclusion of Ralph Fiennes as Mallory is an inspired choice and Mallory is not at all what he initially seems. 

Overall this is the spy fantasy that even after 50 years and 23 movies feels like it has a place in the popular consciousness.