Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Judi Dench
Written by: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan
Directed by: Sam Mendes
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking
James Bond movies need two reviews. They need to be reviewed as a movie, and then they need to be reviewed as a JAMES BOND MOVIE. That’s a tall order. Some film reviewers just aren’t that into the James Bond films, and their reviews simply can’t be trusted. If someone spends entire weekends talking crap about Roger Moore, they should not be telling you what to think of a James Bond movie. (Roger Moore is a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. And he was James Bond. Deal with it.) They’re only allowed to tell you about a movie. Me, though, I’m going to do both.
First, let’s talk about Skyfall, the movie. This is a tense thriller with Oscar caliber acting, the best cinematographer in history, and a scenery chewing villain. It’s a globetrotting adventure, with fascinating settings such as Istanbul, Shanghai, Macao, and a mysterious abandoned island. The movie is full of plot twists that you will see coming, and more importantly, ones you won’t. There’s some nice character moments here leading to relationships you actually may care about. This is a well done, tight thriller, and it’s the sort of high-budget, smart action movie that’s fallen out of favor in Hollywood.
But now, we need to review The New James Bond Movie, and this is where things get a little trickier. You see, we’ve been led to believe the Daniel Craig movies are supposed to give us someone who’s “not our father’s James Bond,” but after the complete disaster of a film called Quantum of Solace, they’ve decided that what people really want is not some copy of the Bourne movies, but actually their father’s James Bond. This is born out by the fact that the biggest ovation during our screening was for a car. You can guess what kind of car. (If you can’t guess what kind of car, read the above paragraph instead of the one you’re reading now.)
To actually talk about what this movie is about, and discuss the nefarious plans of the main bad guy, would be treading into spoiler territory, so let’s just say that Javier Bardem was a little bit Joker and a little bit Anton Chigurh. It seemed at times like his main motivation was to mess things up in artistic ways. His goal is singular, but his methods are pure madness. How what he’s doing relates to what he’s trying to accomplish doesn’t really make much sense if you stop to think about it, so I implore you not to do so.
The true joy of watching Skyfall is not in any of its James Bond-ness, but in the look of the film. This is, without a doubt, the best looking James Bond movie that’s ever been. Roger Deakins, cinematographer of the Gods, does beautiful work here. The use of color is absolutely spectacular, and everything is framed just wonderfully. This isn’t much of a surprise; check out his credits.
I’d love to discuss more of this in detail, but I would really just invite you to see the movie. It’s probably the best movie to ever have been called a James Bond movie, and as a James Bond movie, it’s near the top of the list. Every Bond has had the one movie that defines their time in the role, and for Daniel Craig, it will clearly be Skyfall.
Skyfall opens in theaters nationwide today.