cover story: Bond’s back and li­censed to thrill .......................

Bond is back at his best as Sky­fall meets the hype, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS - Caris Biz­zaca

THE 23rd James Bond film is a po­tent cock­tail.

Sky­fall com­bines one of the great­est Bonds – Daniel Craig – with com­mand­ing ac­tors Judi Dench, Javier Bar­dem and di­rec­tor Sam Men­des.

It then shakes (not stirs) them to­gether with clas­sic 007 mo­ments and a thrilling, emo­tion­ally charged story to cre­ate a Bond film that’s not only de­serv­ing of a place with the canon, but is in­deed one of the best yet.

It’s no easy feat, con­sid­er­ing Bond, the long­est-run­ning film fran­chise in his­tory, turned 50 this year.

Yet even un­der so much pres­sure and scru­tiny, par­tic­u­larly af­ter the dis­ap­point­ment of Quan­tum of

So­lace, watch­ing Sky­fall is some­thing else.

Re­veal­ing any­thing about the plot would po­ten­tially ruin it but writ­ers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Lo­gan should be com­mended for pen­ning a Bond movie that con­stantly merges the new with old, the old with the new.

It’s still got the clas­sic el­e­ments that ev­ery­one loves – thrilling ac­tion, Bond girls (the sul­try Berenice Mar­lohe and tough Naomie Har­ris), mar­ti­nis, crisp suits and dry hu­mour.

In many ways it also pays homage to old Bond films, cheek­ily drop­ping one-lin­ers and ref­er­ences for diehard fans to spot.

But, in a turn that may irk tra­di­tion­al­ists, this is a Bond film that ques­tions the pre­sum­ably im­mor­tal 007’s age and mor­tal­ity. The gor­geous open­ing mon­tage, set to Adele’s Shirley Bassey-es­que vo­cals, makes the re­cur­ring death theme clear with drip­ping blood, graves and gun­shot wounds. It’s not the only thing that’s changed. There’s a new, young Q (Ben Whishaw), who doesn’t ap­prove of the quirky gad­gets of yore (how­ever, the ap­pear­ance of one par­tic­u­larly iconic toy got a huge cheer in this screening).

Mean­while, M (Dench) is back on board, but re­tire­ment is be­ing brought up and in Sky­fall, she finds her­self away from the desk and in the fray with Bond.

Their re­la­tion­ship (pla­tonic) is one of the many com­pelling things about Sky­fall, which be­comes even more fas­ci­nat­ing once Bar­dem’s vil­lain Silva is thrown into the mix. Bar­dem’s open­ing scene is im­pres­sive, as he de­liv­ers a per­fectly timed mono­logue while walk­ing down a room in a sin­gle shot. Blonde-haired and the epit­ome of creepy, Silva is a bad­die who’s not only be­liev­ably un­hinged but has an in­trigu­ing back­story that makes his mo­tives some­what un­der­stand­able.

Di­rected by Men­des, who’s known for han­dling emo­tional films like Amer­i­can Beauty and Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Road, his touch is ev­i­dent, as Sky­fall packs more punch and depth than usual.

Sky­fall feels so com­plete. It’s dra­matic and com­pelling, ties ev­ery­thing to­gether bril­liantly but has enough sur­pris­ing twists to leave you ex­cited for the next in­stal­ment. He’s half a cen­tury old but Sky­fall proves Bond’s still got what it takes.

Sky­fall opens to­day.

Berenice Mar­lohe and Daniel Craig star in di­rec­tor Sam Men­des’ Bond en­try, Sky­fall .

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