Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Skyfall (2012) Review

Skyfall (2012) PosterLet me start off by saying, I had very little faith in this film. Been an Englishman and a movie fanatic I always feel somewhat proud of the James Bond franchise. Its without a doubt one of the most successful movie franchises of all time and its British, so I have much love for the series. Now the reasons why I had little faith. This been the 50th anniversary, I still had memories of the 40th anniversary film Die Another Day (2003) not a bad film but really not a great swansong for Pierce Brosnan (come on Invisible cars, no thanks). Then there is the matter of Quantum of Solace (worst title name ever?). I was disappointed with that film, the work they had done on Casino Royale just got flushed away. But thank god this film is Right! In fact its more than right.

With Sam Mendes directing straight away I thought oh okay American Beauty, so it could be art house cinema, will it work. And work it does, yes its Bond with the usual mix of Action, Drama, stunts and finally a touch of humour, but with Mendes at the helm you knew you would get some great cinematography too. The Cinematography by Roger Deakins is just breathtaking, the scenes in Shanghai and Macau are just beautiful the colours and all the lights of Shanghai just mesmerize, one scene in particular takes place in Shanghai, adverts of Jelly Fish moving with lights all around becomes the only light in a dark scene and what a way to light it, it all looks Art house cinema like.

The film starts off with one hell of an opening, we meet Bond trying to locate a computer hard drive in Turkey. With a female agent in tow (Naomie Harris). He chases the man who has the drive right through the city, we get motorbike chases through buildings, markets and on rooftops and its just brilliant only bad thing for me is the use of CGI. (the CGI again I know its my Bane!). Some scenes in this chase they placed Daniel Craig's face straight over the stunt driver with CGI looks bad to me but hey its the only thing that let me down in this film, they could of done it old school long range shots so we couldn't tell it was the stunt man (maybe I'm just to old school). No spoiler here its in trailer, our hero gets shot by the female agent and ends up falling off a train. This missing hard drive has the names of undercover agents, so as you can imagine they have to get this back, which doesn't help poor M who is now under the watchful eye of Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). Bond returns and needs to get back to peek condition to get out to field, we are introduced to the new Q (Ben Whishaw) who is amazing as Q. We may think he is too young but even Bond thinks so, and we get some wonderful chemistry between them both, it works so well.

Our heroes journey for the information and who has it, takes him through the before mentioned Shanghai, Macau and a great climatic showdown in Scotland (they had to use the home Country of the legend Sir Sean Connery). And what a climax it is like if they gave the cast of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) a Home Alone (1991) booby trap type house and some shotguns you would not be far off this climax. The Villain in this drama of Cat and Mouse happens to be the great Javier Bardem, who is just legendary as a Bond villain, he could go up as one of the great ones.

Now we know Bond has to have a "Bond Girl" so enter Judi Dench as M... Hang on am I right, well she might as well be called that because there is no else, and when I say Bond Girl I don't mean in the usual sense! Its a stroke of genius from Mendes because its not the usual Bond film, M and Bond sort of discover more about each other and each others past, which builds up on such a close "bond" of friendship (good pun.. Well I thought so) they develop. Talking about Judi Dench, an actress close to my heart, she was born and raised in the same City (York) I was born and raised in! She is amazing in this film stealing scenes as ever in her role as M, and this time we see a very human and vulnerable side to M, she pulls off so well.

Another scene I adore and was given away by a Top Gear special and various clips on the TV, is the return of the Aston Martin from Goldfinger (including ejector seat) this for me was amazing it took bond back to its roots for me, and the music even returns much to my pleasure. They had to celebrate 50 years of bond with a reference or two.

This is not just a great Bond film, this is a great film full stop. The set pieces, the acting, the cinematography, the direction, the stunts, the cast and the drama all works so well together fully deserving of its best British film Bafta award. Thank you for these wonderful 50 years Mr Bond and long may you carry on!

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