Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Skyfall (23rd Bond film) Review: Part 1.

Thoughts: Skyfall, the critically acclaimed 23rd film in the James Bond series, but does it live up to the hype? Due to the length of this Skyfall review and how much I have to say, the review has been split into two parts for your reading convenience. This is a mostly spoiler free, with some spoiler discussion at the end of the review.

When Skyfall was released, it had been 50 years since James Bond hit the big screen with Dr. No and 22 films later we have Skyfall, Sam Mendes' realistic yet fun take on the classic character. Not only did Skyfall gross over a billion dollars worldwide, it received four Oscar nominations, and rightfully so, Skyfall was an amazing film. It had the perfect Combination of the real world Casino Royale atmosphere with the fun classic Bond feel, yet adds a humanizing element not seen to this extend in previous films. After reading many overwhelming positive, my expectations were exceeding high, almost setting myself up for disappointment, but Skyfall delivered everything except disappointment. Now I almost regret not viewing it in theaters.

The tone of the film was very unique. Somehow it was drastically different than anything James Bond has done in the past, yet feels so familiar and classic. In a way, it is an oxymoron, which I cannot explain. One criticism that the film often receives is the slower pacing during the middle part of the film, to which I partially agree. It could have had one more action scene somewhere, but I was never bored or disinterested at any point.

Skyfall is one of the most visually pleasing films I have ever seen, every frame is skillfully lit and framed by director Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins, who was nominated for an Oscar and should have easily won. There was one notable fight scene where the characters were filmed as silhouettes during the fight, which usually sets-up for disaster, but they managed to pull it off with style. Creating a unique fight that was actually very well choreographed, while not exactly stunning, it showed how to make darkly lit action scene work, unlike Nolan's earlier work on The Dark Knight trilogy. More on the action later in the review.

Skyfall is a celebration of 50 years of James Bond, packed with references to all the classic Bond films that will put a big grin on "fanboys" of the franchise, myself included. Many scenes the film is almost self-aware with the references, yet they were pulled off skillfully and never took me out of the film. There was moments were I was actually in awe at one of the references the film made, and how well it was used.

My only slight disappointment would be that Javier Bardem as the film's antagonist Raoul Silva. He was great but not quite as amazing as I was lead to believe. Don't get me wrong, he is one of the best Bond villains and Bardem gave a fantastic performance, yet he did not blow me away as I expected. *Major Spoiler* His escape plan reminded a lot of the Joker's from The Dark Knight, in both the manner in which he escaped and the absurdity of the his pre-planning for everything to go into place, except, in Skyfall it is even more unbelievable than The Dark Knight. He would have had to see into the future for it to all work out. *End Spoiler* Despite this, he was fun to watch and a fitting villain for Bond.

Directed by: Sam Mendes
Genre: Action, Thriller, Spy, Espionage,
Release Date: 9 November 2012
Running Time: 143 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Classic Bond references, Breath taking Cinematography, Expertly choreographed and filmed action scenes, Perfect combination of new and old Bond, Great character development, Shocking plot twist, Amazing finale, Surprisingly deep, Q is back, Fantastic performances, Memorable Villain, "Skyfall" song, Brilliant Opening Title, Excellent soundtrack,  Humanizes Bond, Clever humor, Perfect ending,

The Bad:

Warning: As with all James Bond films there is a lot of suggestive content and it is recommended for the mature audience.

*Major Spoiler Discussion Ahead Watch the Film Before Reading*
Skyfall's ending is one of the many reasons why I liked the film so much. As soon as Bond stepped into the M's new office, I noticed the similarities with M's original office from 60s and in fact it was a near replica of the set. In Dark Knight Rises fashion the unnamed MI6 was revealed to be Eva Moneypenny, one of the original core characters to the Bond franchise and Ralph Fiennes' character, Gareth Mallory, as the new M. Basically, Skyfall, ended with what we have always known as James Bond with M, Q, and Moneypenny. I absolutely loved how it ended with the nods to the classic Bond films, it could not have ended any better. The iconic Bond cued at the perfect time to end it. Plus the "Gun Barrel" sequence was moved to the end, which was a surprising yet fitting end to the film.
Possibly my favorite part of the entire film was when Bond used the original Aston Martin DB5's front mounted machine guns. Still can't believe the Mendes did it. I give him some serious propos for having the guts to do that in this version of Bond. I nearly cheered during that scene.
*End Spoilers*

Click on the links below for more Skyfall Reviews by my favorite Film Critics.
Skyfall by Jordan at Rath's Reviews
Film Review: 007 ~ Skyfall Alexandra Lanc at Words of the Worlds
Movie Review: Skyfall (2012) by Buddy2Blogger at Buddy2Blogger
Skyfall by Ian Drury at Banon's Roar!
Skyfall Review by Daniel at Random Mexican's Movie Review Extravaganza
If you have reviewed the film and would like a link to your link review to be displayed on tomorrow's post, please comment.

For Part 2 of this review and my final thoughts, please check back here tomorrow. What are your thoughts on the film? Have you seen or do you want to see it? Please comment below.

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  1. Nice review, James.

    I too enjoyed the nods to the earlier movies.

    I look forward to your thoughts about the fight choreography.

    Thanks for sharing the link.


  2. Great review! :)
    I've heard a lot of good things about this movie and I definitely want to watch it(and the other Bond films) at some point :)

  3. Excellent review James, I agree with pretty much everything you laid out. Bardem was a tad over the top but not in a distractingly bad way either.

    The similarities to TDK didn't hit me for a good while after seeing the movie but there are plenty.

    Remember reading that Mendes did get a lot of inspiration from it.

  4. @Buddy2Blogger: Thank you. Part 2 will have more details about the fight choreography. No problem, glad to do it.

    @Shena Tokala: Thanks! :) Definitely watch Casino Royale then Skyfall, and maybe Goldfinger to understand the references. :)

    @Daniel: Thank you very Daniel. I agree, he was maybe trying a bit to hard, but still fun to watch.
    I read that as well, it shows in a few aspects of Skyfall.



One rule: No strong profanity. If you want to link to one of your posts, please do; I am always interested in other reviews and such.

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