You were expecting something else?
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 14:11
In the year of the 50th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s James Bond, it’s only fitting that we have now received the best Bond film to date.
If all you’re reading this review for is to know whether or not you should go see Skyfall, that opening sentence should just about sum it all up for you. If you’re at all interested in the franchise, you might as well just go and see it immediately. However, if you’re interested in knowing why it’s the best Bond film to date, keep reading.
Skyfall is without a doubt the most personal film in the franchise thus far. Expanding on some of the concepts introduced in Casino Royale, the script takes us much deeper into the life of Bond as a human being -- rather than just a tool of the English government – than we’ve ever seen. From the opening moments that show us James’ life without Mi6, to the conclusion that reveals the surprising meaning of the film’s title, this is a tale of Bond the man, not just Bond the spy.
For as much as Skyfall centers in on its primary protagonist, an equal amount of time and care has been given for Judi Dench’s M. Her past, her choices and her relationship with James absolutely steal the show, even as the brilliantly choreographed action scenes do their valiant best to outshine character development.
The triangle of interacting characters is closed by Javier Bardem’s highly effective Mr. Silva. Silva is confident, scary, remorseless, unhinged and, ultimately, somewhat sympathetic. In short, he’s everything that a good Bond villain should be, and fills in the one piece that has been missing from the franchise for so very, very long.
Without getting too specific, Silva is Bond’s equal, and his foil. He is the vice that constantly pressures M and Bond into believing that they are antiquated. Ironically, this idea mirror’s M’s own sentiment concerning Bond from her first 007 outing, Goldeneye.
That sort of full circle thinking is inherent to the film. References to the characters’ pasts and futures are mirrored in the plot, as it sets up a brand new fiction for this Bond reboot by digging deep and wide into the franchise’s 50 year past.
If there is one fault with the movie, it’s with the franchise’s trademark “Bond Girls.”
Berenice Lim Marlohe and Naomi Harris certainly seem to enjoy themselves onscreen, and do their best with what they’re given, but what they’re given isn’t very much. Bond Girls have almost always been objectified and largely disposable (with the obvious exception being Casino Royale’s Vesper). However, here they seem to serve no greater purpose than to move forward a pair of plot points and, of course, have sex with James.
Luckily, Naomi Harris’ character will very likely be returning in future films, so there will likely be more depth added to that character when less time is being spent on M.
Skyfall is a surprisingly character-driven film, with action that is all the more tense because the breathing room that gives it. It provides the deepest, most insightful view into the world of James Bond that audiences have ever seen, and as a result, it may also be the best.