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Overall Rating
3.96

Awesome: 35.29%
Worth A Look45.1%
Average: 7.84%
Pretty Bad: 3.92%
Total Crap: 7.84%

5 reviews, 21 user ratings


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Skyfall
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Welcome back, 007."
4 stars

If nothing else, "Skyfall" is the prettiest James Bond film in years.

Especially in the Shanghai sequences, master cinematographer Roger Deakins bathes the screen in the soothing blue of neon and the perky yellow of lantern lights. Elsewhere, Deakins brings out lush and painterly browns, reds, and oranges. The movie is certainly a lot easier to look at than its drab predecessor, Quantum of Solace, and considerably easier to sit through, too. Skyfall isn’t quite a throwback to the absurd thrills of the 007 films of old, but it does inject some fun back into the franchise. What you need in this series, it turns out, is a diabolical mastermind with apparently limitless resources. Bond needs to stop him. The rest almost takes care of itself.

The mastermind here is Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a former MI6 agent who wants revenge on MI6 leader M (Judi Dench). Silva warms up by stealing a list of agents in deep cover and threatening to out them. Bond, in the formidable form of Daniel Craig, swings into action — though painfully, since he almost died (and for months is officially presumed dead) and spends half the movie wincing over a bum shoulder. This is Craig’s third 007 outing, and probably his best; he seems more comfortable in Bond’s skin here, and he gets to play a productive mix of emotions. Since this year marks the series’ 50th anniversary, it looks back a lot (much is made of “the old ways” being better than “the new ways,” and Bond’s very relevance is questioned by the government), and so does Bond.

For its 50th birthday, the franchise has been gifted with its first-ever Oscar-winning director, Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road). Though not an action director, Mendes at least lets you see what’s going on, unlike Quantum of Solace non-action-director Marc Forster. The movie has breathing room, too; as far as I can determine, Skyfall has the second-longest 007 running time (Casino Royale has it beat by a minute), yet the pace is smooth and assured, mainly because the plot doesn’t get bogged down in pointless twists. Getting away from his usual theme of masculine disillusion seems to have done Mendes a world of good (though the betrayed Silva character allows him to sneak it in a side door). We can feel Mendes enjoying the far-flung locations, the set-ups and grandeur that only 007 money can buy. For the first time, I got the sense that a name director had attached himself to the franchise out of love for Bond, not for an easy paycheck.

This is all to say that I, generally indifferent to Bond films, had a decent time at this one. Bardem brings back something we haven’t seen in the series in far too long, an interestingly depraved villain who seems to love his work. I don’t know whether Silva’s flirtatious advances towards Bond indicate anything other than simply tweaking his macho and legendarily hetero adversary, but it’s amusing to watch. Bond himself gets two bedmates here, one of whom has no dialogue and one of whom does, but may as well not have any — all she does is vamp, talk about how much Silva scares her, and fail to smoke a cigarette convincingly. Aside from M and a new field agent (Naomie Harris) who assists Bond, the 007 franchise remains a boys’ club, and a white boys’ club, at that. Is there any reason the next 007 can’t be a black man — or woman?

Well, you go to war with the Bond you have. In a way, Skyfall returns Bond to his roots — the title refers to the estate where Bond grew up and where the climax unfolds, and though Bond is unsentimental about the place, the movie brings in Albert Finney as the estate’s gamekeeper, a role originally intended for Sean Connery. I wish the filmmakers had enticed Connery out of retirement, as Skyfall would be a far superior swan song to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but Finney’s presence feels right here anyway — it seems like he always should’ve been part of this series in some capacity. He might’ve made a wittier Q than Ben Whishaw, who doesn’t get to do much with what he’s given here, but any Finney is better than none.

And for those who feel that any Bond is better than none — i.e., those who convinced themselves that "Quantum of Solace" was any good just because it was there — "Skyfall" should be a pleasant surprise.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=23934&reviewer=416
originally posted: 11/12/12 08:43:19
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User Comments

7/26/14 Simon why you go to the movies- fresh yet familiar, fun yet with depth. James Bond has returned 5 stars
6/03/14 george not one of the best--2 long 2 stars
3/21/14 Jack So many flaws in this film to list. Just awful. One of the worst Bond Pics ever. 1 stars
7/23/13 Annie G It's no "Casino Royale", but not too bad overall. Worth owning. 4 stars
5/25/13 Monday Morning A bit long but great overall. Old school is back & it works. 4 stars
5/19/13 richard the performances were great but i found the film dragged - IMHO it needed to be half an hou 2 stars
3/04/13 Nicole Davis I love all the Bond movies. Loved it! 4 stars
2/26/13 Geraldine Fantastic! 5 stars
2/20/13 austin one of my favorite movies of the year 5 stars
1/18/13 PAUL SHORTT A GRAND, EXCITING AND EMOTIONALLY ENGAGING NEW ENTRY IN THE BOND FRANCHISE 3 stars
12/17/12 Martin Z Absolute pointless rubbish. Overrated to a fault. Demented plot, demented dialogues. 1 stars
12/08/12 Helene Forcier Loved it! Great acting- a plausible, believable, vulnerable Bond. Most like the books! 5 stars
12/03/12 action movie fan dull first hour exciting second hour overall decent unbond like bond film 3 stars
11/30/12 KingNeutron YOU HAD TIME FOR ANOTHER SHOT, MONEYPENNY!!!11ONE! 3 stars
11/18/12 mr.mike Among the best of the Bonds. 4 stars
11/15/12 cooler most overrated bond movie ever. Hardly any action and lame plot. 1 stars
11/15/12 Marty Just OK. Bardem's character needed more. Kincaid random. Weak new actors 3 stars
11/14/12 The Big D It needed Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint! 1 stars
11/12/12 GLC great movie. Bond is back.Very entertaining. 5 stars
11/12/12 Koitus Bond as a vehicle for cool sh!t; ^ this. Great story; needed more "meat." 4 stars
11/09/12 Abigail Great film! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Nov-2012 (PG-13)
  DVD: 12-Feb-2013

UK
  N/A

Australia
  09-Nov-2012
  DVD: 12-Feb-2013




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