Skyfall (2012)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 11:02 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.2/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

SKYFALL (2012) - Sam Mendes

Forget beginning the movie with the gunbarrel sequence. Start it straight to the point with an intense chase scene that goes from motorcycles on top of buildings to running on the roofs of a train. Before the title sequence, we are already given a taste of how relentless Skyfall is planning on being, and as the film progresses, it deserves every bit of credit. As we see our fellow agent fall into the water, the brilliant title song by Adele begins, and we are soon welcomed back to the world of Bond. James Bond.

Skyfall follows Bond (Daniel Craig), after being presumed dead, returning to the agency as he investigates an inner attack on MI6, led by former MI6 operative Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). This time, things get more personal than ever, as M's (Judi Dench) security becomes more and more frail — her past coming back to haunt her.

With a cinematographer nominated nine times by the Academy, Skyfall is the best looking entry in the franchise, not just a Bond film but as a work of filmmaking. Taking place in Shanghai for a significant amount of time, Skyfall takes advantage of vibrant colors and lighting, bearing several shots of silhouettes. Every scene that takes place at nighttime looks spectacular, almost as if the night scenes were directed by Christopher Nolan or David Fincher. Of course, the film takes place during daytime as well, but the nighttime scenes are extremely beautiful and compelling to watch.

This is only Daniel Craig's third Bond film, and even though he was pulled down often by Quantum of Solace, he grew on me so quickly in this entry because of one simple thing: characterization. With everyone thinking he was dead, Bond took this chance to "retire," to escape the world he works for, until the attack on MI6 drew his attention. Now he is back, but he is shaken. He has been drinking too much. He is doing less pull-ups. He is mentally and physically unable to continue on. The clever move that director Sam Mendes makes here is he executed this concept as a foreshadowing, making us believe that Bond is not up to the challenge and it will lead to something consequential. Because of this, the stakes are already raised for Bond himself, and it already puts the audience at the edge of their seats. But the final push that finishes it off is Craig himself. Despite him still giving off humorous lines at times, his facial expressions begin to flesh emotions out, especially with his eyes. The more I saw Craig on screen, no matter what movie he was in, the more I realized he is a legitimately good actor, and he has taken full possession of James Bond in this film -- this one film, Skyfall.

One of Skyfall's greatest strength is characterization, not just our protagonist, but the entire supporting cast as well. Here, the film brings back Q (Ben Whishaw), head of the fictional research and development division of the British Secret Service. His role in the film was quite small, yet very humorously memorable due to the well-crafted dialogue assigned to the actor. Actually, most of Q's humor came from the way Whishaw physically delivered the lines, which pleases me to say that it was a perfect choice in casting. In both of Craig's previous films, Dench's role as M was always in the minor role, where her character just exists. Here, she is pivotal to the plot, where she is in greater damage than Bond himself. As a result, Skyfall bears a great chemistry between Bond and M, one of the main pairs in the film. As for the villain, Javier Bardem excels the role with great skill, requesting to have the script translated to his native Spanish language to understand it completely. His lines of dialogue are memorable, and his personality is bizarre but memorable, a noteworthy antagonist to Bond. The best part of it is the movie evens out the playing field for the two instead of having one of them steal the show. The moments between just Bond and Silva are staggering, and in a way I wanted to see more of the on-screen chemistry. In fact, many critics argue that Bardem is one of the strongest elements to the film. Though I agree that he is indeed a great villain, the characterization and cast as a whole is stronger.

The final push Skyfall makes that helps classify it as a perfect movie is the amount of homage it pays to the classics. There is no better Bond movie in the 21st century that pokes fun at the Sean Connery years. For the fans, it is nothing less than a good pat on the back. Actually, it might leave the fans cheering. Before I say anything else, here is a message to all the Bond fans out there: Go see Skyfall before someone spoils the ending. Believe me, it is like a dream come true, like Christmas, like Candy-land. Skyfall was released on the 50th anniversary of Dr. No, and in all honesty, it seems here that the filmmakers are raising their glasses to the old days of Goldfinger and From Russia With Love.

In all seriousness, Skyfall does everything a Bond film needs and more. There were moments in the film where I forgot that I was watching a Bond movie. It has a little of everything in the action thriller genre. It knows when to be groovy without being too cheesy. It knows when to be sexy without leaning towards Roger Moore's era. It knows how to respect the genre as it was fifty years while staying current to its style now. It knows when to be serious and raw in its emotion and heartfelt with the characters while at the same time have them give off lines that sometimes lead to outbursts of laughter. It is brilliant direction and screenwriting, and for me who is honestly not a Bond fan, I can definitely say that Skyfall is the best Bond film ever as well as one of the best action films of this year.

In conclusion, Skyfall was phenomenal. It's fast-paced, with the best introduction scene to ever open a Bond film. It's sexy, with charismatic performances from the Bond girls all around. It's loaded with beautiful use of locations and camerawork, with stunning silhouettes and dazzling lighting. It's driven by emotion for the characters, making it far more compelling to follow, as the film takes a turn that will blow away minds. Skyfall is the greatest gift Bond fans will ever ask for. Done.

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