Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
The world's angriest most miserable and subsequently dangerous little man, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is back in his latest adventure 'Skyfall', with the onus in this edition of the Ian Flemming Super Spy to care for the world's surliest, most unpleasant little old lady M (Judi Dench).  Snarky repartee is bound to ensue.

Since this is a Bond movie it must open explosively and 'Skyfall' does not disappoint.  On this day Bond and the fresh faced field operative Eve (Naomi Harris) are in some country in hot pursuit of some cat who stolen a hard drive filled to the brim with MI6 critical info.  Car chase, car crash, shootout, motorbike chase, foot chase, and a shootout on top of moving train with it all culminating with Eve forced to take an obstructed shot to end this menace, on the orders of M.  Oh well.  Agent down. 

Now the world believes Bond to be dead and Bond makes the best of his untimely demise by going on holiday.  Is he having a good time on holiday?  Of course not.  Sure he's engaging in sexual acts with beautiful women and playing arguably the stupidest drinking game I've ever seen, it involves a scorpion in case you doubt this, but he's miserable and depressed as per usual. 

Bond needs a purpose and the purpose will surface when somehow some computer hacker manages to sabotage MI6 headquarters, resulting in the deaths of quite a few trusted associates.   James is back on the job and M needs her man back on the job, even though James looks like he's in absolutely no condition to be back on the job, it's time to travel the world and kill some scoundrels.
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First stop, Shanghai… get some info, kill some dudes.  Next stop Macau… Get some info, kill some dudes, have some fun innuendo with Eve, have sex with the lovely Severine (Bernice Marlohe) even though I don't think James actually enjoys the act all that much.  Next stop, some island where he meets today's enemy bent on world domination, the completely bizarre looking and totally evil Mr. Silva (Javier Bardem).  To be honest Silva really doesn't want to dominate the world, even though he could if he wanted to, he just hates M.  I mean this cat really dislikes this old woman.  For good reason as it would turn out, at least if you were to ask me. 

James, however, really likes this bitter old lady.  Heck if we know why.  I guess we could delve into the fact that he is an orphan and that M is that matronly figure that was absent in his life, because if ever there was a movie character ripe for psychological deconstruction it is this version of James Bond. 

Regardless, Silva has a plan and like any plan constructed by a James Bond villain, it's overly elaborate and ridiculously intricate and thus bound to fail.  But before it gets to all of that, we must know the secret behind Skyfall and we must watch stuff blow up and it will be awesome.

So I have a good friend who dislikes Daniel Craig's interpretation of James Bond for the same reasons that he's my favorite James Bond as this James Bond isn't terribly smooth, he's more of a blunt force object than an international man of mystery, he's not always in control of whatever situation he happens to be in, and he drinks his shaken martini's to dull the pain, not because they are tasty.  My friend actually prefers the smooth Bond with the dagger wing tips, cigarette missiles and submarine sports cars.  Crazy, I know. 

This brings us to 'Skyfall', directed by Sam Mendes who is a fine director but not a director I would associate with handling a sprawling action movie such as this one, but no worries as Mr. Mendes did a fine job in his first outing as a Bond director.  Yes, the movie does seem to run a little long if you were to ask me and if you take a step back and look at the narrative with a discerning eye, which is never recommended, a lot of what has to transpire to get to certain points doesn't make a lot of sense… which ultimately places this Bond episode a step below the insanely entertaining 'Casino Royale' in my book, but still above the beleaguered 'Quantum of Solace'… but the bottom lines is that 'Skyfall' is still a very good James Bond epic.

It starts out with the explosive beginning before sliding into the super slick opening credits with pop diva Adele singing the theme song.  I told my son that this song is almost perfect Bond, evoking memories of Shirley Bassey.  "Shirley who?" he would ask.  The shame I felt was palpable.  From there we get to experience the best parts of the new Bond, his angst, his issues, his problems, mixed with the best parts of the old Bond, intrigue, world travel, beautiful damsels, crazy action and nefarious bad guys.  Sam Mendes and company even toss in a couple of old school nods into the mix which any long time fan of the franchise will no doubt appreciate. And it will also greatly increase your appreciation of this movie if you happen to be a fan of a shirtless Daniel Craig.  Unfortunately I don't fall into that category.  This might be the one area of the new Bond that has taken a step backwards, being as how the old Bond's used to have women walking around shirtless.  It's a new, sad day I guess.

As I mentioned earlier there are a couple of things that might not make a heckuva lot of sense, like our villains ultimate plan and the things that ultimately have to happen for him to make it from point A to point B for this plan of his to jump off… I don't think that even in an illogical world such as this one that this is even remotely logical.  This all trickles down to the explosive ending sequence which too was a little silly, but hopefully by then you've brought into it all and are just enjoying the spectacular show.  Me… not completely.  But it didn't detract enough for me to not really, truly enjoy Bond in his fiftieth anniversary of cinematic ups and downs, with 'Skyfall' definitely seeing bond on the upswing. 
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