For today’s next review of Skyfall (2012), here’s Sherise of The Girl That Loved to Review‘s thoughts on it
This is the movie that made me a huge James Bond fan. I haven’t had much experience with the franchise in the past. I’ve seen a couple Pierce Brosnan films, I’ve seen the Daniel Craig ones as well as read Casino Royale. That’s it. But after seeing the latest James Bond outing, Skyfall, I have been converted. This is an action movie at its best. Skyfall’s greatest success is taking an old, rundown formula and making it feel new and fresh again.
Saying something like that is kind of funny since it also describes James Bond (the character’s) journey through Skyfall. James is brought to his lowest low (ahem, Quantum of Solace) to be resurrected and brought back from the dead both literally and figuratively.
Part of what makes Skyfall feel fresh is the direction of Sam Mendes. A director known for dark dramas like American Beauty and Revolutionary Road (a film I really like, but is too depressing to love). Mendes has a different approach than say a director that specializes in action films. It’s not surprising that Skyfall focuses in on James Bond, his haunting past, his insecurities, and his fear that he will be left behind in a quickly changing world. I don’t think that any other Bond film (please correct me if I’m wrong) has ever focused in on Bond as a character (except for maybe Casino Royale). In other films the gadgets, villains, and women were the main attractions. I think this different dramatic approach was only possible with a director like Mendes and a Bond like Daniel Craig. He has the acting chops to pull off the dramatic scenes while still maintaining Bond’s mystique and allure. Those ice blue eyes of his are piercing whether he’s being vulnerable or seductive.
Visually, Skyfall is incredibly strong. The cinematography is brilliant. That doesn’t really surprise me though as Revolutionary Road is also a beautiful film with the same cinematographer, Roger Deakins (seriously, this guy is amazing). It feels so clean and crisp and constantly entertains the eye. The title sequence is amazing, one of my favorite parts of the film (especially combined with Adele’s song). The first time I saw the movie I actually didn’t like the title/credit scene because it didn’t make sense to me. But once I knew what happened in the movie, I really loved it the next time I watched Skyfall. My favorite fight scene is the one in Shanghai in the glass building. The blue lighting and silhouettes are just so cool! I think it’s one of my all-time favorites.
One of my favorite parts of Skyfall is how it brings back some iconic characters from the franchise, like Moneypenny and Q. Which is kind of funny since I’m not very familiar with them. I guess I’m just a little nostalgic. Anyways Naomie Harris as Moneypenny is quite enjoyable. I loved her banter with Bond, it’s too bad that she doesn’t do very much fieldwork. I like the relationship between the two characters, there’s some good chemistry there.
The action sequences in Skyfall are great and there are many of them. One of my only criticisms of the film though is that it is a little too long. Especially the fight out at the end, they could’ve shortened it. Some of the sequences aren’t the most original (there’s always a rooftop chase), but there’s enough of a twist to make them feel fresh.
Skyfall has a few flaws. There’s a lack of Bond girls, which isn’t a flaw in itself. The Bond girl here is Judi Dench’s M. Judi Dench is great (you have to say that or MI6 will take you out), but I found M very annoying. Stubborn to a fault. And kind of dumb (seriously, the flashlight?!). And then she dies and the whole Skyfall fight is for nothing. I’m kind of glad to see her go, although she and Daniel Craig had a few good scenes together.
I also find Javier Bardem a little disappointing. He does a good job as Silva, but the character is unoriginal (except for maybe that wonderful blonde wig). Silva reminds me of The Dark Knight’s Joker, who in turn reminds me of Seven’s John Doe, who in turn reminds me of The Silence of the Lamb’s Hannibal. These villains are eccentric, intelligent yet arrogant, with great master plans. These villains all plan on getting caught. There’s also the cliché of being kept in a glass cage. The villain running around in disguise. Hmm I’m sure there are plenty of other similarities. If Javier wasn’t such a great actor I think Silva would have fallen flat. He’s not a memorable or unique villain. Also, how does removing his upper denture change Silva’s whole face? Seriously?! And a minor flaw, why does Bond keep a piece of shrapnel in his chest for God knows how long?
Severine (Bérénice Marlohe) is probably the weakest part of the film, she should have just been cut out. Her makeup is too dark and she gives off a sad, pitiable vibe. It would have been okay if some of her issues were addressed, but instead she is largely ignored, Bond sneaks up on her in the shower (really Bond? She’s a rape victim!), then abruptly killed. And no one in the movie cares! Even Bond just jokes about wasting scotch! I really hate that one scene and it tarnishes the film a little.
I think Skyfall is a great, fun movie that manages to reinvigorate the franchise without losing the qualities that make it so special. When I left the theater after seeing Skyfall I remember feeling really excited. I can’t wait to see where the franchise goes after this. Moneypenny! Q! Ralph Fiennes is the new M! And now, two years later I’m still very excited, especially since Christoph Waltz will be the next Bond villain. The future for James Bond and company seems very bright.