<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Sam Mendes. Starring Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judy Dench, Ralph Fiennes
After action packed Casino Royale and a weird snore fest in Quantum of Solace comes a sort of in-between movie that’s neither great nor that bad. As a Bond film it falls desperately short in a sea of one-man special agent cum superhero movies that took their inspiration from the original 007 films.
Sony told us not to reveal plot points or the ending but telling you what Skyfall is really won’t give away anything. So here it is: It’s James Bond’s ancestral home in Scotland. He goes there to hide out at the end of the film. That’s it. Perhaps they ran out of names or I’m missing some hidden metaphor.
The film starts off with a chase sequence through Hollywood’s favourite location at present: Istanbul. Bond and his associate Eve (Naomie Harris) are chasing down a thug with a stolen hard drive containing a secret list of NATO agents embedded in enemy territory. During the chase, M (Judy Dench) gives Eve (how Bond doesn’t know her surname till the end of the film still puzzles me!) the order to shoot the goon but she accidentally hits Bond instead. He falls from a speeding locomotive into a waterfall (reminds you of the Sherlock Holmes death scene) and is presumed dead. The mission of course has failed miserably and now England’s premier secret service MI6 faces inevitable extinction at the hands of the government and the new Chairman of intelligence Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).
A terrorist attack and agents being assassinated bring Bond back from the dead – as he says in the film, his specialty is ‘resurrection’. Now he must track down the mastermind who is also waging a personal vendetta against M. It turns out to be a former agent called Silva played by Javier Bardem. All right, so while Craig’s Bond is snooze inducing (sorry ladies, but it is) Javier is like a breath of fresh air or rather flippant air. He’s played his bad guy in a very camp way, you see. In his very first scene in the film when he’s talking about rats, I laughed out loud a bit at his almost ‘Jack Sparrow’ (Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean) tone of voice. But you later realise his is the only character that brings some life to this somewhat drab Bond film.
Speaking of the campy style, there’s a somewhat homoerotic scene in the film where Bond is tied up in a chair and Bardem’s villain unbuttons him to see Bond’s bullet wound and then starts feeling up his chest and neck. He then proceeds to rub his thighs. Bond doesn’t flinch and even goes so far to say that this wouldn’t be his ‘first time’. Hmmm, trying to appeal to a wider audience now are we…
Underwhelming. Yes that’s the word someone used. It’s okay as a film. Just not as a Bond film. They’re trying to, I don’t know what, make it contemporary or go back to the past – Sean Connery’s old Aston Martin DB5 makes a special appearance only to be blown to smithereens. There’s a new Q (quartermaster, and gadget giver) played clumsily by Ben Whishaw. There are few or rather no gadgets or gizmos in the film. The femme fatale Severine (Bérénice Marlohe) has a five-minute role and is then unceremoniously shot. The intro credits are dismally boring and repetitive with only Adele’s rendition of the theme song keeping your attention (hear it below). The grandeur and scale that you’re used to in Bond films just isn’t there. Sure they’ve tried to ‘humanise’ things and make it so it appears they’re reinventing the wheel. But where’s the fun in it all?
Of course everyone will go out and watch Skyfall and many will say, “it’s not the best Bond film but it was nice.” But in my opinion we need more than that to refresh this franchise or let’s just put an end to it already. We have Liam Neeson, Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Joseph Gordon-Levitt etc etc all doing the one-man army superhero agent nowadays.
My opinion: Get a new Bond. I thought Pierce Brosnan was brilliant. Who’s with me?Even Arnie would be more fun than skull face Daniel Craig.
Listen to the theme song from Skyfall by Adele: