SKYFALL: Movie Review

Skyfall is currently enjoying some hefty praise, indeed you'll have to look extremely hard to find a negative review. If anything the question at the moment is just how good is Skyfall, is it the greatest James Bond film of all-time? Read on for my spoiler-free review.

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By Mark Julian - 11/8/2012


Reviews are throwing around statements like 'Best Bond movie ever' and 'Craig is the best James Bond of all-time.' Be careful of heading into Skyfall with overinflated expectations. The film is very good and a much needed rebound from the convoluted Quantum of Solace but to go to such extremes is well....a bit extreme. While racking my brain to come up with the best, most simplistic summation of the film I came across this tweet from Toronto International Film Festival director Cameron Bailey, 'Skyfall satisfies'. A pretty simplistic statement but it speaks volumes. How many films in 2012 alone have advertised and promised a certain cinematic experience only to fall well short?

I will say that Skyfall is the most 'Bond 'of Craig's 007 outings. Casino Royale was a massive reinvention of the franchise that was so fresh and far-left that our jaded James Bond senses were invigorated. But in revitalizing the franchise, Royale sacrificed a lot of the sensibilities intrinsic to the Ian Fleming novels. Skyfall returns to the Fleming fold but probably not how you expect.

There are certain types of films where you know heading in that you should switch your brain off at the door. And then there are films where you know you'll need your brain synapses firing on all cylinders or you'll miss the subtle and indirect elements that some of our best auteurs inject in their films. Casino Royale was a film in the latter category. Quantum of Solace was a film much too far in that same category. Skyfall surprisingly, is a film in the first category but that's not to say its Expendables 2 or The Man With The Iron Fists. The film is fully aware that you'll sit down to watch, looking closely for The Turn, if I can borrow a bit of nomenclature from The Prestige (Hey, Mendes did say he was inspired by Christopher Nolan). The status quo established by Casino Royale dictates that a minor plot development, death, statement, etc. something presented very early on in the film will resurface in the final act to have profound ramifications. That moment never comes in Skyfall, the plot is a steady development that builds and builds until only the finally brick remains to be laid. And in that final moment, Craig and Dench deliver evocative performances that will remain with you long after the credits roll.

Speaking of Dame Judi, if any of the actors in the film have a shot at taking home an Academy Award its her. Craig and Bardem are exceptional and memorable in their portrayals of hero and villain but its M that makes the story turn. Naomie Harris injects a breath of much needed fresh air into the MI6 dynamic and Ben Whishaw is a Q for the modern era. The casting overall is a true testament to producers Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Brocolli and Mendes; not a single weak point in the entire ensemble.

The film does have a few minor miscues but the action, acting, editing and score are so solid that you'll easily forgive them. Simply put, Skyfall satisfies.





RELATED CONTENT:
Mark Julian Reviews THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Mark Julian Reviews CLOUD ATLAS
Mark Julian Reviews SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D





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16 Comments
kackbratze - 11/8/2012, 9:50 AM
First!

I saw it on Friday and REALLY enjoyed it. Good stuff! Daniel Craig is badass.
RedeyeJedi - 11/8/2012, 9:53 AM
Good review, nice and simple. I'm going to see it on Sunday with my wife, so I hope we're in for a treat.
Jolt17 - 11/8/2012, 9:56 AM
Nice review. I couldn't agree more about the ensemble cast. It's nearly flawless, indeed.

And also, the simplistic plot. I think that's another reason of why the movie shines: It delivers a spectacular movie with a plot that can actually be summarized with one sentence. A feat pretty hard to achieve today, I think.
optimus - 11/8/2012, 9:57 AM
Boring Film, Javier "Joker" Bardem, lost sense of "realism", Q WTF? acting skill = 0.
Brillant first 20 minutes.
Dench its a masterpiece.
TheMarvelWay - 11/8/2012, 10:33 AM
I don't get why people keep projecting Oscar worthiness with this film, TDKR or other action/CBM/SCIFI films.

The only thing I can think of is that people who watch films from primarily those genres are not used to seeing strong acting after watching films like Transformers. So when a legitimate actor gives a great performance in a genre film it blows them away.

Dame Judi Dench's performance was good but the character "M" is not quite a realistic, genuine character. You could at times feel Dench wanting to make her human but was restrained by the emotional limitations of "M".
Javier Bardem's Raoul Silva is well done but 100% cliche. He is like the bastard son of Max Zorin from A View To A Kill. They add a strange homoerotic moment in a desperate attempt to make him unique but it doesnt work.
They tried to over dress this Bond film and make it above other action films but they only succeeded in making it a high quality, yet highly implausible action film.
The Epilogue doesnt adequately deal with tying up the story and its just used to show us the new set up.

The film is no more possible than any Die Hard film because of the typical escapes and superhuman feats of Old Man Bond. Its those improbable scenes that make this just another action flick.

gmckoy - 11/8/2012, 10:44 AM
@ optimus

really, which bond villain is realistic? most are over the top, can't see the relevance of your nitpicking

bond films and realism dont go together
optimus - 11/8/2012, 11:19 AM
gmckoy
You are right none is realistic, but you have to agreed: Casino Royale show a Bond more ground into reality.
AC1 - 11/8/2012, 12:38 PM
What? Are you saying this film causes the audience to think less than Quantum of Solace did? Did we watch the same versions of both films? Skyfall is clearly a far more intelligent film than Quantum. And what are you saying about Casino Royale being a film that belongs in the category of being made by an auteur?

Martin Campbell is a decent director, and he did a great job with Casino Royale, but he is by no means an auteur.

Apart from those gripes though, this is a good, fair review. I think you've been a bit harsh in some criticisms, but different strokes and all that. In my opinion, even though Skyfall isn't perfect, it's pretty close for a Bond film. And it cleverly reintroduces so many elements of classic Bond into this new era. And it has some of the best performances of the series, although you pretty much said the same.
AC1 - 11/8/2012, 12:39 PM
And it was miles better than Dark Knight Rises.
superbatspiderman - 11/8/2012, 1:23 PM
I think Daniel Craig is the best Bond. I have enjoyed Craig's movies more than any of the older ones.
Maximus101 - 11/8/2012, 2:06 PM
@acira Don't get ahead of yourself now, it's a very good movie but not TDKR good.
optimus - 11/8/2012, 2:22 PM
TDKR was a film so bad...at level of Batman and Robin, or Batman Forever.
Even this boring movie (Skyfall) was better.

beane2099 - 11/8/2012, 6:21 PM
I just saw it today. No spoilers here. Overall, I liked it. There were some scenes that were just beautifully done. But I felt like he took a little too much from Nolan in some parts. There's one scene where you SWEAR you're about to hear Zimmer's Batman score. I kid you not. I think in some respects though, this movie almost wasn't a Bond film. It was really good, but not necessarily a Bond film. I can't put my finger on why, but that's the feeling I came away with. The end really does pull on your heart strings though. And I'm looking forward to the next one.
Maximus101 - 11/8/2012, 7:09 PM
@optimus it got A reviews and made over a billion so it's clearly good regardless of what you think, if what you think was true then the avengers was crappy as well.
AC1 - 11/9/2012, 2:11 AM
@Maximus101 don't get ahead of myself? TDKR was the biggest disappointment of this year IMO, it was my most anticipated film of the summer, I saved up to go watch it in IMAX, and I left the theater thinking "that was it?"
I'm a huge Nolan fan, have been since I watched Batman begins, as it is, I've seen every film he's made apart from Following (the DVDs are out of production) and his short films from school, and I've enjoyed everything he's made. Even TDKR had its moments, but they were quickly ruined by either really cliched or really pointless scenes. The entire final act was a joke, I really hated how Bane was treated toward the end (being made a henchman, then being killed off in a way that looked like part of a comedy film rather than one of Nolan's Batman movies).
And that damned police officer, I think he was Modine's character, he was the most annoying piece of shit ever!

I really think that the series should've ended with The Dark Knight. And if you look at TDKR really closely, you can see that all that film is about is the ending of the previous film being undone in the most clumsy way, and then the rest of the film follows pretty much the same plot as The Dark Knight. Nolan sacrificed story for scale, and that was a bad move. It basically wasn't a Batman movie.

@optimus I wouldn't go that far, it was no where near Batman and Robin or Batman Forever levels of bad... its main problem was that it's such a disappointing conclusion to what could've been a brilliant trilogy.
Succthis - 11/9/2012, 3:34 AM
I was born in the 70's and my whole life have loved Bond. Play the games love the movies. Sean Connery has always been who popped into my head when James Bond was mentioned...until Daniel Craig came along. I hope he stays with the role for some time.

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