The Bond franchise has hit film number 23, and for most film series there is a progression from good to contrived and to painful to awful, until we’ve arrived at a necrotic demonstration of commercialism gone well and truly wrong. When we look at Skyfall the most recent adventure of the martini-drinking, woman-lusting Bond, such a trend is nowhere in evidence, as this is truly the Bond film that has everything, it is outstandingly action packed and full of rightly chosen talented actors.
The director, Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road), is inspired by the great legacy of the Bond franchise series and as it is the 50th anniversary, Mendes wanted to explore and revise everything about the franchise – the action, the women, the settings, the antagonists and Bond himself. This he does, to great effect. The opening sequence is gloriously, wonderfully silly. The women: Bérénice Marlohe, Naomie Harris and, why not, Judi Dench are all lovingly obligated to Bond, each in their own way (less sexually, more maternally in Dench’s case). Shanghai is a time-tested location for action films that introduces and enriches the film with exoticness. Finally, Javier Bardem as the sensational, camp and brutal Silva is fantastic – everything a Bond villain should be.
Bond himself is superbly played by a much more confident Daniel Craig. It is the evident aim of Mendes to reflect on who Bond was – his origins – and hardcore Bond fans will certainly appreciate these references to the history.
Mendes states: “entertainment and artistic integrity are not mutually exclusive” and this is seen in the rollercoaster plot with certain scenes at a slower pace to appreciate the arbitrary turns of mood experience by Bond, and then suddenly we are thrust into a powerful action sequence, before sliding comfortably back into the focuses of the agent plot.
Skyfall works extraordinary well as an action film, and still manages to miraculously chase Mendes’ ideal of “artistic credibility”. The film doesn’t just “get by”. It rides through the plot with the aforementioned strengths of talented acting and high-speed action sequences. It happens especially in the third scene that takes place in astounding valleys of Glencoe, showing us that Daniel Craig remains a perfect match for the new Bond and Mendes daringly toys with a lot of stock Bond-isms, including his sexuality, to startling effect.
Mendes has played his cards right and produced a flawless plot, with the message that it is clearly a thinking man’s movie which will appeal to hardcore Bond fans as well as newcomers to the franchise. It is a stock blockbuster – and, given how long Bond’s been going for, is perfectly executed.
Skyfall is released nationwide on 26th October 2012.
Watch the trailer for Skyfall here: