cover story: Bond’s back and licensed to thrill .......................
Bond is back at his best as Skyfall meets the hype, writes
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 .