I’ve just got back from seeing the latest Bond movie, “Skyfall”, at Leicester Square Odeon. Wow! I’m still reeling. An awesome film.
I’ve always enjoyed the Bond movies – they never fail to be entertaining. The sixties films with Sean Connery were truly iconic. As much part of the era as the Beatles and mini skirts. Roger Moore turned the series into wry comedy thrillers and I can’t remember a lot about the Dalton and Brosnan eras. May even have missed a couple. Daniel Craig restored a hard and darker edge, as new technology rubbed up against the classic glamour and style of the early films. Both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” were up there, for me, with the best.
But “Skyfall” is on another level. I expected a good film, having read a few reviews, but not this good. I found the whole film riveting and the denouement in spooky, misty Scotland incredibly gripping. I was buzzing at the end!
You never get too much character development in a Bond movie, but there was a journey into the dark past of M (Judi Dench), Bond and the malevolent villain Silva, played with grotesque elan by Javier Bardem. It added an intensity to the film, a deeper interaction than usual between the central characters. Intensity was the word for me. There were relatively few scenes, but as a result there was time in each to build a genuine tension.
And of course there was great imagery. The opening chase scene through the alleys, up the steps and along the rooftops of Istanbul was thrillingly spectacular. The pursuit of the assassin through the glassy tower in Shanghai, all looming structures and confusing reflections, was reminiscent of “Blade Runner” (my favourite film).
The confrontation on the devastated island, somewhere off China, was brutal. And London played a big part, much of it subterranean. The dark heart, the underbelly of the city.
And then that final confrontation in Scotland. Explosive, destructive, like so many Bond movie final scenes. But focused, intense, claustrophopic. Dare I venture that I felt a Harry Potter moment about it all? Silva as Voldemort? I wonder…
“Skyfall” is reputedly heading towards being the biggest grossing Bond film of all time, so I’m not exactly preaching to uninitiated here. But if you haven’t seen it, and like Bond movies even a little bit, go and see this one.
It might leave you, like me, shaken and stirred…
Excellent review John. Great movie. Worth seeing twice, as I did, to appreciate it even more. Roll on the next one but let’s not have to wait four years for it this time.
Thanks Eddie. Bet you’ll be on for a third showing!
Okay, I’ve got to see this film! I luv Bond, James Bond!
You must! And tell me what you think.
Great review. Haven’t seen the movie yet. There’s a screening on IMAX. Never mind what Asterix and the Gauls may fear, but the wife and I will head for Skyfall
Should be amazing on IMAX!
Really enjoyed it. However I have one question – What about Mr. White?
I may be being a little dim here, but who or what is Mr White?
Mr. White was one of the baddies in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. (That’s him getting shot in the leg right at the end of Casino Royale.) Then QoS starts immediately after with him being taken by Bond to be interrogated. He escapes. We see him at the opera with other members of the shadowy Quantum organisation, including an adviser to the Prime Minister. And then nothing of him afterwards.
So here I was thinking that in Skyfall we were going to get to see the end of Quantum or at least the end of Mr. White. But no, it’s as if Mr. White didn’t even exist in the previous films.
Maybe Blofeld like he’ll just keep appearing every now and then?
Your memory is superior to mine! I enjoyed both films but clearly need to watch them again.
Yep, great piece, John, and I totally conur.
This film takes Bond to a new level. It is, in my ‘umble opinion, the best Bond ever made, and by some stretch.
Why? Well, to name but a few reasons, Sam Mendes; superlative photography from Roger Deakins; a stellar cast; highly engaging plot; rich characterisation; brilliant music, and a sophistication, maturity, and sense of personal engagement we’ve never seen before.
I’m tired of the whole Connery schtick! He was great for his time, but with lame plotting, cardboard villains, coathanger chicks, and (understandably) clunky gizmos, I don’t think there’s too much to mourn. Craig is a proper actor, and a total star, and never better than here. Bring on the Oscar nomination – at least!
Totally with Osama on Mr. White, who barely appears in both the previous films but still exudes an air of great steely menace. (I just loved the final scene of Casino Royale, where Bond wounds and captures White at his stunning Italian lakeside villa – Bond attired in magnificent three-piece suit, of course.) But I suspect with Skyfall, the writers just wanted to leave the Vespa storyline behind, and take us into the even more intriguing Oedipal world of Bond, Silva and M.
Maybe Mr. White will reappear. Hope so.
I was thinking a tad Shakespearean. You trump me with classical Greece! Oh, wait a minute, it’s only James Bond…
That would be ‘concur’. And ‘Vesper’. Blame it on the Shiraz.
I was waiting to read this until after I’d seen the movie. Couldn’t agree with you more John, I really enjoyed it!