Feature / Movie Review

Skyfall- The Best Bond yet?

James Bond is celebrating 50 years this year. And if I am not wrong Dr. No was released 50 years back. Cut to the current day and the Bond has changed. There are no more exploding pens or fancy gadgets. But Bond is still suave and explosive as ever. After the  reinvention of Casino Royale and the failed Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig gets third time lucky with Skyfall.  Sam Mendes gives us a thrilling adventure that manages to be both classic Bond and a top notch modern action film.

Like a typical Bond movie, ite begins with a chase sequence by car, motorcycle and train in Turkey which ends with the serious, tight-lipped Bond getting shot and falling off the train and presumed dead. While Bond is away, MI6 is in trouble, a list of its agents goes missing.  Bond who everyone thought was dead comes back to save the day. And as always the villian is an ex-MI6 agent who has turned against them (original idea?) But Bond gets a fitting antagonist in Javier Bardem, who is a mix of Joker and Hannibal Lecter but gay. He is after M and Bond has to save her. Bardem is brilliant as the kind of insane old-school Bond villain we haven’t seen for a while.

When all else fails, sometimes the old way works best, is the theme of the movie- old school vs new school. At one point, there’s a scene in the film where the classic Aston Martin DB5 makes an appearance complete with ejector seat for the bond loyalists! Sadly the bond girls disappoints me . Naomie Harris becomes Moneypenny and would have loved to see more of Berenice Marlohe.

The story is superbly but predictably put together and has some interesting twists. This globe-trotting adventure takes in the backdrops of Shanghai, Macau, Turkey and London. This is not a completely formulaic Bond movie. Craig’s bond is still more emotional than Connery or Moore ever were and for the first time we get some relatively detailed descriptions of his childhood. Craig’s version of Bond, by embracing it’s past ‘Skyfall’ is able to build a successful future for itself. Sometimes the old way really does work the best.

I might be biased to say but the movie looks inspired by Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. Its gritty, dark and is about relations and emotions. Daniel Craig looks best as ever, but age now shows on his face. Will he get another Bond movie, we will have to see. Craig who powered through Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace as a proficient killing machine, finally gets around to the charm part of Bond’s persona. Ben Whishaw plays a youthful Q, and there are jokes at the expense of 007’s previously OTT equipment. Javier Bardem as Silva plays  a sadistic fop with an indecipherable accent who taunts Bond for being a relic of the old order. A bond villain right out of old Bond movies. The entire cast is at their best here.  Judi Dench lets us see glimpses of the person who earned her way up the ladder at MI6, and Ralph Fiennes is introduced as Gareth Mallory, a fascinating new addition to the Bond canon

It’s the 50-year-old debate: Who Is The Best Bond? Daniel Craig: 3 films in & by the time you see Skyfall, there is no doubt in my mind that he is the most fleshed-out and multi-dimensional. Craig’s Bond is good with weapons and gadgets but at his most threatening when he is bare-handed.  Sean Connery had that physical prowess which Craig has equalled, if not bettered; George Lazenby was more of a pantomime; Roger Moore started out well  but romanticised 007 to the point where he wore flares and befriended steel-toothed villains who were baying for his blood; Timothy Dalton brought back the hard edge Bond was missing and very underrated; Pierce Brosnan carried on that darkness worldwide and made Bond a household name. For me, each Bond has his own charm and you can’t choose one from another, but still I feel it was Brosnan who took Bond global and was born to be a Bond. Craig is rough and tough but he is just carrying a legacy, in a new style all together.

Skyfall is not a typical Bond film as a lot of loyalist wanted but Skyfall shows a new way to reboot Bond. The movie isn’t without its faults. There are a couple of slow moments that drag but then they don’t affect the film.  Skyfall works towards a thematic, storytelling-driven goal. Skyfall is a must-see for both modern and classic action fans. From momentous occasions to push it forward to those big classic moments that make you cheer, Skyfall is the Bond of the future – and the past.

Rating- 4 Out of 5

PS- A good read on how Skyfall is inspired by Nolan – http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/11/skyfall-dark-knight/?utm_source=Contextly&utm_medium=RelatedLinks&utm_campaign=MoreRecently

Would love to hear from those who didn’t like the movie.

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