Skyfall is a fine spy film, yet not quite Bond’s best…

 

I was excited.  The origin story of Agent 007, the incomparable James Bond would be coming full circle.  And all though there are plenty of strong aspects to Skyfall, overall I was left wanting more…Bond.  Despite some gorgeous cinematography, a beautiful score, well choreographed action sequences and strong performances–I still felt it was lacking in pacing and purpose and did not have the fun-factor that Bond usually provides.

I’ve watched Bond films for all of my life–I remember marathons during the holidays when I was a child and was always in line to see the latest in the 50 year franchise.  The last re-boot of the series with Daniel Craig as 007 has been interesting for me. I loved Casino Royale and loved the origin story concept.  It was clever and fresh to approach the character from a never seen before angle–before he was Bond–the possibilities were endless.  Quantum of Solace was okay (wonderful action sequences), but again…it was a direct continuation of CR and still part of the “origin”, so I made excuses for it.  Because of this approach I kept waiting for the evolution of Craig’s Bond.

Well…that doesn’t completely happen in Skyfall and I am a bit disappointed.  Again, we are in serious territory.  There are few witty moments, but overall this is heavy and about 20 minutes too long.  The pacing at times was painful and I am sorry, but long-lingering shots of Craig in a tuxedo does not make him Bond.  Okay–he is gritty, real and serious, but he will become Bond–confident, arrogant, playful and dangerous–right?  I do see more and more of that in Craig (fixing his cuff-links on the train is a good start), so I remain hopeful.

Also, although Javier Bardem is an excellent actor, I did not believe he was the incarnation of evil.  His motivation is so single-minded that it is almost too simple and yet, it takes the entire film for him to try to exact his revenge.  A major problem with his Silva is that I never believe he is any of the things they claim him to be and he doesn’t really live up to the hype that surrounds him.  At least I can say he is entertaining.

That said…there are a lot of positives, too.  I was surprised by Director Sam Mendes skill of handling action.  Mendes is known for intimate character studies and he uses that well here–but he also creates some intense, well structured action (the opening is brilliant).  Thomas Newman’s score is beautiful and haunting.  One of the best this year.  What really blew me away was the cinematography!  Roger Deakins continues to impress.  His use of bold colors, bright hues, shadows and silhouettes is breathtaking.  WOW!  There is a fight scene in a building in Shanghai that is amazing.  (I hope this finally wins him an Oscar.)

Judi Dench and Ralph Fiennes are, as usual, wonderful.  As the authority figures they fit their roles perfectly. Dench is a stand out here–her M is one of the movie’s strengths.  The Bond girls are almost non-existent in this film–but Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe are both good.  I was really looking forward to the new Q (one of my favorite characters), and I liked Ben Whishaw, who is perfectly nerdy and awkward.  I wish there was more playful interaction between him and Bond, but maybe that will come with time.

And that is pretty much it–maybe that will come with time–seems to be my mantra.  I keep waiting for the Bond I love to return to the screen.  I appreciate that these last 3 are good spy films yet they’re not quite my Bond.  Skyfall is fun and entertaining and will be a fine addition to the series, but I can not join the crowds praising it as the “best Bond film ever” (that is still Goldfinger, with Casino Royale a close second).  Hopefully though, if the ending is any indication, maybe my Bond will show up the next time.

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About nediunedited

Who is nediunedited? A lover of cinema since the age of seven! All kinds–all genres. Films (TV and Books, too) have shaped my life–they were my escape, my inspiration and even my first role models. I do not rate my films in the traditional sense (no stars, grades, etc.)–instead I give you my opinion and my take on it–I do not give traditional plot summaries either, because I want you to go in clear–ready for your own experience. There is nothing better than discovering a fine film, without any other influence. (Personally, when I want to really see something I practice media shut out–I refuse to watch too many trailers, viral promos, reviews, etc–I have been known to cover my eyes and ears in the theater during trailers–LALALALA!) That’s me–hope you come by and visit! I will definitely make the rounds and find some of you out there, too.

15 thoughts on “Skyfall is a fine spy film, yet not quite Bond’s best…

  1. Your review has come closest to mine, but still gives this film more credit than I have been able to. Like you, I grew up on a healthy diet of Bond films and have seen all, a few times. I’m waiting for ‘Bond’ to turn up in this rebooted series, and after three films, I am getting a little tired now. I absolutely didn’t enjoy this film. And enjoyed your review very much (regardless of our difference of opinion!)

    • I am with you! Waiting for Bond to show up is exactly right…

      I appreciate what they have tried to do (bring Bond into the 21st Century–blah-blah) and that is probably why I am hoping our Bond will come back. The ending did indicate that all the players are in place, as well as his confidence–so I will–probably foolishly–keep my fingers crossed.

      So glad you stopped by–hope to see you again (no matter our differences!) 😀

  2. “I still felt it was lacking in pacing and purpose and did not have the fun-factor that Bond usually provides”

    I disagree (pretty strongly, actually) with the first part, but agree very much with the latter part. The pacing was great, and the film definitely had a purpose, but it IS definitely lacking that “fun”. They tried to add a dash of it with the Macau Casino sequence – but the rest of it is SO heavy that that bit gets swept aside. I’m totally with you, Nedi, we need to lighten Bond up a bit!

    Raoul Silva was GREAT though. 😀 Sorry, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on that one. I’m already ready to hand him the crown as King of Bond villains. 😀

    • You and most of the world (it seems) are loving on Bardem! 😀 I think his performance is fine–I just could not believe his character was soooo evil–none of his actions indicated that. Even how he killed the girl was straight up execution –where was the malice? Etc etc…but I did love the sexual tension he and Bond exchanged –pretty clever.

      And yes! I am ready for the origin-serious time to be over and we get some fun back in…”Ready to get back to work?” Bond “With pleasure!” I hope so!

      Until next time… 😀

    • It’s gorgeous! Deakins is amazing. I loved his Assassination of Jesse James too–same kind of mouth open–wow!

      And yes–I am definitely in the minority when it comes to Bardem’s Silva. Don’t get me wrong–I enjoyed the performance –just did not buy his actions as truly evil or menacing–the girl was terrified of him and I was “cool–this guy is going to be ruthless” and then nothing–he just executes her. But hey–at least he had an awesome sexual moment with Bond–that was clever. 😀

      Thanks for stopping by!! Hope to see you again!

      • I’ve still not seen jesse James although it’s sitting in my collection at home waiting to be watched. I thought that sexual moment in Silva’s entrance was great, you’d never expect to see something like that in a Bond film!

  3. Great review. It’s a very, very good film but not the Best movie of all-time, like everybody has been praising it as being. I just hope that they can keep this steam going and deliver on more Bond adventures that we need to see.

  4. See, I am actually in your boat on the Silva argument here. Because you make a very valid point. He was hyped up to be evil incarnate and fell flat. Now, he was a good planner and organizer, and he was evil, just not as much as I think everyone is givin him creds for. It’s reaching to call him the best Bond villain of all. but he still is good at being evil, don’t get me wrong. But, I almost like Trevelyn more only because he was sinister and playing both sides. meh, it’s my opinion.

    I was hoping for just a little bit more. the franchise with Craig is ALMOST there. 🙂

    • Yes, indeed! Almost there…I am hoping (like I said to Fogs) that when Bond answered “With pleasure” it signifies that he is now the Bond we all know and love. Ready to bring it… 😀

      One interesting point my Matt (aka my manfriend) made, is that he felt Silva needed to be a brilliant, yet ruthlessly insane ex-field agent or a brilliant, sinister (like your adjective :D) hacker–but trying to be both he falls flat in both. I thought that was dead on and thought-provoking.

      And best Bond villain….hmmmm…I love Blofeld (of course)–he is iconic–the bald head…the CAT! lol! Goldfinger with his much quoted…”No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” In the new world I really loved LeChiffre, thought he was the cool baddie and totally agree with Trevelyan, because that was a personal betrayal. Loved his ending–“For queen and country, James?” “No. For me.” Love it!

      Fun sharing with you! See you later.

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