¨ It always makes me feel a bit melancholy. Grand old war ship. being ignominiously haunted away to scrap... The inevitability of time, don't you think? What do you see? ¨
¨James Bond will return¨ is one of the few promises that have never been broken, and that is where Skyfall jumps in as the 23rd film of the franchise. There have been several changes along the way, this is the third film Daniel Craig stars as the main character, but it is the first time Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Road to Perdition) directs. Long time screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are back again writing the script although this time John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo) was brought on board to help out. I think these new additions improved the film and gave the characters a lot more depth. This is a very different James Bond film; it begins as your average spy thriller with a motorcycle chase but ends like a Western film with a final shoot out in an open field. Skyfall is beautifully shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins who should receive his tenth Oscar nomination for his work in this film. The film has a much more artistic feeling to it than most other blockbuster Bond movies and much credit has to be given to all these new additions. The film has a nostalgic feeling to it as we finally begin to see how the inevitability of time can catch up to even the greatest spy on Earth. Like we saw in the Dark Knight Rises with Batman, James Bond too has begun to feel the weight of time over his shoulders and he is much more vulnerable in this picture. Sam Mendes also does another thing very well in this film: he pays homage to some of the earlier Bond films near the end. Skyfall was a great film and definitely among the best Bond movies. However I would still rank Casino Royale as the best one so far.
Unlike with Quantum of Solace that picked up right where Casino Royale left out, Skyfall takes place several years later as we see an aged Bond (Daniel Craig) chasing yet another foe who has stolen a computer drive which contains all the names of the MI6 British agents and their locations. Bond is not on his own; his partner Eve (Naomie Harris) is also following the evasive man who is getting away with the drive. Bond chases him to the top of the train and Eve is waiting for the perfect moment to take the shot but time is running out. M (Judi Dench) orders Eve to take the shot before they get out of her reach and the bullet hits Bond. The man disappears with the drive, and Bond is declared death after he falls wounded into a river. A few months go by and M is in trouble for having lost the drive and putting all the MI6 agents in harm way. Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) insists it is her moment to retire, but she refuses since she wants to solve the problem. An explosion takes place inside the headquarters and several other agents die. M receives a threat claiming that the name of 5 agents will be revealed and that she should pay for her sins. Bond, who of course hasn’t been dead but enjoying of his early retirement decides to return to England after hearing about the explosion and enlists once again as 007, although a bit more rusty. M sends him on a mission to find the man who has the drive and retrieve it before more harm is done. Here we are introduced to some other characters like Q (Ben Whishaw), Severine (Berenice Marlohe), and Silva (Javier Bardem) and the spy games begin.
I must say that Javier Bardem portrays one of the best Bond villains I´ve seen. He steals the show from the minute he walks in. I think another Oscar nomination is on the way for his supporting performance here. It is a villain unlike most other ones. Silva is seeking revenge but in a much more calculated and methodic way. Skyfall is much better thanks to him. Daniel Craig is in my opinion the best Bond and he had a lot more depth in this film as well. The Bond girls were also perfectly cast. You can´t have a Bond film without them. Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris were both great in their roles. Judi Dench is marvelous as M. She has been playing this role for nearly two decades and here we see her making a lot more difficult decisions. She is portrayed in a much darker light here. The film works extremely well, I loved the new characters, the nostalgic feeling to the film, and the beautiful cinematography. This is a different kind of Bond film, but one you will want to see.