January 28, 2013 –The James Bond franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary on film.
Perhaps that’s why the powers that be chose “Skyfall” to imply that James is getting a bit long in the tooth and may be ready for retirement. It is subtly mentioned several times in the film, so much so that it made me wonder if James received the obligatory AARP information in the mail, or at least the British equivalent of it.
“Skyfall’s” premise is a little different than other Bond films I’m familiar with. Bond’s latest assignment doesn’t go as planned, agents around the world are exposed, the British agency MI6 is attacked, and their fearless leader M is forced to relocate the agency to a secret underground location. All of this leads the audience to believe that the super hero may be human after all.
Daniel Craig’s Bond is charming as ever under the direction of Sam Mendes, and he manages to do what Bond does so well in the end, even though he’s been shot, is presumed dead, is not nearly as young as he used to be, and is maybe not quite as infallible as originally thought. An aging Bond with some mistakes under belt still provides a thrill a minute, whether it’s with his trademark fighting off three or four bad guys by himself, or jumping on the bottom of an elevator and riding it up 50 floors while hanging on with a bum shoulder.
Aging a little also hasn’t affected his playboy image. He flirts with Miss Moneypenny, hops into the shower with a mysterious woman he’d met only an hour before, and is nursed back to health by a beautiful Turkish woman. In the end Bond also gets the bad guy, and in “Skyfall” he is played by the deliciously evil Javier Bardem.
Add the finely tuned acting skills of Dame Judy Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney, and this version of Bond equals compelling stuff. Plus, the end leaves you believing that this gang, in one form or another will be back for another round.
Many critics claim “Skyfall” is the best Bond movie ever. The plethora of positive reviews and over $1 billion-plus gross earned from movie goers is solid proof that perhaps this is true. The early buzz was that this may be the Bond nominated for Best Picture; that did not come to fruition, but the film did nab five Oscars for the more obscure categories, including Best Song, which Adele will perform at the ceremony on February 24.
That said, the film wasn’t perfect. There were elements that reminded me of “Home Alone” meets “Wuthering Heights”, especially at the end when they booby-trapped Bond’s childhood home on the Scottish Moors, aptly named Skyfall. That said, it was still a thrill ride, and made me realize that there is no one on earth I’d rather have protect me or rescue me from evil than the steady 007.
I’m hardly a James Bond aficionado, and have seen only a handful of movies in my life (mostly starring Roger Moore), but I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Craig’s portrayal of the suave spy making me believe It definitely won’t be my last. “Casino Royale”, anyone?
5. Great Movie, see it now
4. Good movie and worth the price of admission
3. It’s OK, but I’d wait for the DVD
2. Proceed with caution
1. Don’t bother
On a side note, I realize this movie has been out for several months, but I just got the chance to see it over the weekend. Better late than never, right?