I have a couple of pretty cool memories when it comes to James Bond. Being snuck in to see Tomorrow Never Dies, two years too young by my older brother and going to see The World Is Not Enough with my Grandfather, the last film I actually remember seeing with him before he passed away. So I find it difficult sometimes not to associate James Bond with those two very vivid memories of mine.
That being said I am not the greatest Bond fan ever. I’ve seen all of the films perhaps two, three times and have enjoyed them, especially the ones from the Connery era. Casino Royale was the first Bond film to really blow me away with a tight script, awesome action sequences and a top notch performance from Daniel Craig which quickly escalated him to the status of being “my bond”, the Bond of my generation
Quantum of Solace felt flat though, to the point where it didn’t really leave my waiting for the return of James Bond. And now he has returned after a four year gap consisting of financial troubles and uncertainties of what would happen to the most successful film franchises of all time.
On Friday I went to see the latest outing for Bond, Skyfall. The trailers for the film were epic and the reviews were very positive with some people calling it the best bond ever. With all this in mind I had pretty high expectations of the film, wondering if it could really top Casino Royale.
Skyfall is not the greatest bond ever but it is still a pretty damn good film and a vast improvement on Solace.
In terms of plot, I’m not going to say anything as in this day in age I believe the less you know about a film before going to see it, the better. Besides the trailers have done a pretty decent job of summing that up, without giving too much away.
The first thing to be said about this film is that it has an impressive cast behind it with Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Javier Bardem joining the already established Craig and Judi Dench. Bardem in particular steals the show in this one with his twisted and disturbed portrayal of the “baddie” Silva who has some serious mother issues. His performance is on a par with Heath Ledgers Joker and I wouldn’t be surprised if a campaign for him to get an Oscar Nod doesn’t come into fruition.
To be honest I felt a little flat watching the first half an hour or so of the film, perhaps as it wasn’t the beginning I had expected, but the second we are introduced to Silva, the films escalates to a relentless pace which builds and builds until the finale, the London Underground chase being the highlight for me, keeping me on the edge of my seat and grinning from ear to ear.
The rest of the cast are all on top form here too, although I was a bit bemused as to what the need for Albert Finney’s character was and Daniel Craig once again shows off why he is one of, if not the greatest bonds of all time with his charisma, style and general coolness appealing to both men and women alike.
Sam Mendes did a great job of directing here and the film has some pretty stunning scenes throughout, none more so than when Bond is in Asia. From the Modern Towering skyscrapers to the old traditional fireworks, these scenes really were a spectacle, all the more better on IMAX. However as good a job Mendes did, you can’t help but think Christopher Nolan influenced this film in a massive way (a statement Mendes himself has made in interviews). The Dark Knight has clearly influenced and inspired this film from the slightly “off-skew” villain and the damaged hero to the mix of action spectacles with deep character moments. This doesn’t hinder Skyfall in any way, quite the contrary, it’s a step in the right direction if anything but I can’t help but wonder what an actual Nolan Bond would be like.
Overall, Skyfall is an excellent addition to the Bond franchise and will definitely be considered one of the bests for a long time due to its classic bond humour, action and villain. The producers of the film have said that this is not a sequel to Royale or Solace but I disagree, if anything this is the end of a trilogy setting everything in motion, with the introduction of Q, amongst other characters, ready for the next straight forward Bond film. James Bond will return..