director: Sam Mendes
writer: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade & John Logan
starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem
genre: Action | Spy
released: November 1, 2012 (Germany & Greece), November 8, 2012 (U.S.)
A lot of talk has gone on about the newest Bond production. Anticipation had been high, rumors flew non stop about the plot and suspicions of it being Craig's last Bond film. Alas, Craig will continue as Bond for two more films. However, did Bond 23 cement itself as the best representation of espionage in cinema or did it merely remain concurrent to our old time expectations, instead of surpassing them?
Four years after "Quantum of Solace", James Bond (Daniel Craig) is back in action. Now on the chase of men out to release sensitive information of undercover MI6 operatives. His mission goes astray and the information is leaked into the wrong hands and events show that a old foe and associate of M (Judi Dench) is behind it all. Bond and the rest of MI6 now go on the fight to stop the eminent terrorist threats and get to the bottom of the villainous foe called Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
What I loved with Skyfall, compared to other Bond productions was that it went even further with the dirty, realistic, Bourne-esque take on Bond. The first films were trying to show Bond being gritty, tough, battered and always on the offensive. Here they avoid a little of that and a bit of the unnecessary flamboyant stunts of past. Showing off Bond's cunning wit in almost every gun fight and situation. Bond is patient, smart and always with a trick up his sleeve.
With Bond the world also got more grounded. Long gone are the days of laser weapons, world domination plots and only evil corporations. We get into the real deal of today's espionage world. Which is terrorism and cyber-terrorism. Bond has to deal with a threat more pragmatic to the times and is finally seen in all his glory. Fighting on the mainland and for his country.
Besides the positive turn of events in "Skyfall" and exceptional job of production. I feel once again insatiable in my desire for a perfect Bond film. Both Casino Royale and Skyfall manage to do so much for Bond, by heightening the level of realism in the series, raising the stakes and making not only Bond a visceral force as a agent, but a man with a heart.
Nonetheless, the said Bond films still remain imperfect from becoming something greater than the series now aspires to be. Casino Royale may have had an astounding plot, incredible femme fetale and an emotional and fresh take on Bond. But it had also horrendous fluff action sequences and a good hour until the plot got somewhere (Vesper-Casino).
Skyfall has the same exact problem, with elements dragging it down. Here the action is great and essential to the plot. With the plot itself being smart, grounded and calculative with its sense of setup for future films and its structure. And on a smaller note, Bond again has a remarkable cast, maniacal villain that everyone will remember and well done special effects and cinematography to complement it.
Where the balance is lost is for one in the absence of a emotional core, that Casino Royale had with Vesper. Were Skyfall could have had this, is with Bond and M's relationship in contrast to Silva's and M. Which is touched upon lightly, but never to a larger scale. No effort was put to have a greater back-story, with an emotional connection between Bond, Silva and M. Compiled with the very little character time to make these elements even stick together into cohesive whole.
Combine that with the fact that Bond, nor M are ever challenged on this adventure mentally, not psychically. Supposedly Silva is a Joker like character. There as tormentor and tempter. To show that the world of bad and good are more alike then you think. So when Bond and M go through this merry ride, they never flinch in who they are. Even with amounting evidence and events for Bond to be apprehensive and for M to be shrouded in guilt. They still pass every event and revelation as if it was child's play.
Hence, Silva's temptation on Bond and terror in M is pointless from the first second and dosen't lead to any new feelings or challenges in the both. This could have been the much needed story arc for the two. With a turbulent roller-coaster thriller of betrayal and partners at odds. Instead, they are both dead set the same, from whence they began to whence they end up.
Bond is back, better than ever, but that's not saying a lot. The series has a way to go if its going to make a real bust with audiences, critics and maybe awards shows one day. Because "Skyfall" is a good start, but we had said the same exact thing about "Casino Royale" and here we are again.