If you are going to release a new Bond film to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the most famous secret agent in the world. Then I don’t think it gets much better than Skyfall.
A big hats off to director Sam Mendes for taking James Bond back to basics. The film could quite easily have been called “Skyfall – A new beginning”. This is Daniel Craig’s third outing as James Bond. The audience wasn’t too sure about Craig filling 007’s boots in the 2006 Casino Royale but I think the majority warmed to him in Quantum of Solace despite the story being quite weak. Now Craig has well and truly earned his place as probably one of the best Bonds to grace the silver screen.
The film follows the usual formula thrusting us straight into an exciting chase sequence which sets the pace for the rest of the film. Bond is tasked with retrieving a stolen computer disk which holds the names and identities of MI6 and Nato secret agents. He pursues the bad guy through Istanbul with the help of a female field op companion Eve (Naomi Harris) which includes a jeep, a motorbike rooftop race and finally fisticuffs on top of a moving train. The conclusion of this chase leads into the opening credits involving surreal images of Bond underwater with slow-motion near naked girls in silhouette taking us back to the good old Bond movies of yesteryear. All this is going on while Adele delights us with a god old traditional Bond theme. The yanks might have Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer but “Nobody does it Better” than England’s finest.
Following a near death experience Bond goes to ground, grows stubble and swigs larger out of a bottle. Yes, OMG exactly! But it’s not long before he’s back ‘shaken and not stirred’ to save MI6 and ‘M’ (Dame Judi Dench) from the villainous Silva played by a bleached blonde Javier Bardem. Silva is an ex-agent turned evil genius with a touch of a camp Hannibal Lecter and a huge grudge against ‘M’.
Although the early scenes takes us to Istanbul and Shanghai the majority of the film is shot in the UK in London and Scotland where the final climax takes Bond back to his family home. Compete with doddery old gamekeeper played by an almost unrecognisable Albert Finney under a Grizzly Adams beard.
One of the old school highlights for me was the introduction of the 1960’s silver Aston Martin DB5. When Bond opens the garage doors to reveal this other great British institution the audience didn’t so much cheer but gave out a “Huh!” of nostalgic recognition in complete unison...brilliant!
Watch out for the introduction of a new regular character in Mallory (Ralph Finnes) the only government suit to win the respect of Bond by being an ex SAS officer having seen action in the field.
This is the 23rd James Bond film and if you have never experienced a Bond movie then this is great place to start. Bond is Back!
Certificate 12A, 142 mins In cinemas now.