Thursday, November 29, 2012

Movie Review: "Skyfall"

   I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.

The Cast: 

   Daniel Craig borders on the best Bond for me. I just like his gritty, no-nonsense approach to the role and it’s a nice departure from the suave, cool as ice-water, modus operandi of the past actors that have been Bond. Craig makes Bond human by making him fallible. The best part is that he doesn’t just do this...he delivers everything else that audiences have come to associate with Bond. 

   Javier Bardem is an excellent actor and it seems as though he has fulfilled something destined to be...when he steps into the shoes of Silva, the latest Bond villain. Very few people were born to be a Bond bless Bardem for answering his calling. 

   Naomie Harris is the latest installment of one half of the Bond girls in the film...and although not portrayed as glamorous as Bond women have been in the past, the utility of her role is perfect for the plot, and sets up a nice surprise for longtime fans.

The Plot:

   Really? It’s James Bond, who needs a plot? much as that question might ring true for some, the basic Bond formula was present. Mad villain seeks to cause chaos and destruction, with a side of revenge to round the dish out. It’s pretty straight forward, but let me get into all the explosive details.

   A drive with a list of all the MI6 agents has been stolen and Bond must recover it before it gets into the wrong hands. In the process of recovering the stolen drive, Eve (Harris) has Bond and his adversary in her crosshairs as they fight on the roof of a moving train, and is ordered, by M, to take a shot that has an equal chance of striking Bond. It does, and Bond falls from the train and presumed killed.

   Now in enemy hands, MI6 agents across the world are being executed, and the Prime Minister of England calls for M’s resignation. With agents being killed and computer systems being compromised, M’s office within MI6 headquarters is bombed...the icing on the cake to show that nobody is safe. Enter the return of Bond.

   Bond is put back to active duty and tracks down the man behind all the chaos, Raoul Silva, and ex-MI6 agent with an axe to grind against M. Bond recovers the drive, captures Silva and learns the past history behind the attacks. A prisoner within the new headquarters of MI6, Silva is exactly where he planned to be all along...within striking distance of M. When Q tries to access Silva’s top secret files, the tables are turned...and things get very interesting as Bond must protect M from a rogue agent that is always three steps ahead, with all the bases covered.

The Verdict: 

   Any fan of James Bond will be a fan of this film as well. It is being advertised as the best Bond film ever, but that is a stretch considering the body of work the Bond series covers (25 films). There are hints of a new direction, while paying homage to the classic foundations

   The most visible aspect of Bond in this film is his vulnerability. He is shot, can’t make the grade for active duty, and has trouble compensating for his shortcomings. This is something not really shown in Bond films as he has not been this vulnerable since the beginning of Die Another Day.

   Missing also are the plethora of gadgets, opting instead to keep it very simple and focused on Bond himself. Although Q’s bag of tricks is missing (replaced by his updated hacking ability), the original Aston Martin DB5 makes an appearance and hefty contribution.

   The fact that Bond isn’t the can-do-anything slickster works for this film. It puts it in a place not normally traveled by the (Bond) material. That said, it might have gone too much in this direction since being a Bond film carries with it a certain amount of expectations. Even so, this film was able explode, shoot and poison three and a half (3 1/2) cinnamon sticks, out of five, in this extremely tasty cup of tea. Shaken, not stirred...of course.

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