To the Summary!
James Bond faces his most personal attacks yet, as the one family he knows comes under attack.
To the Cast!
Daniel Craig – James Bond
Judi Dench – M
Javier Bardem – Silva
Ralph Finnes – Gareth Mallory
Naomie Harris – Eve
Berenice Marlohe – Severine
Albert Finney – Kincade
Ben Whishaw – Q
Rory Kinnear – Tanner
To the Deeper Thoughts!
Bond, James Bond has returned. Making a triumphant return to the screen since the lackluster Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig once again holsters the Walther to fight the enemies of Queen and Country.
We join Bond in pursuit of a hard drive that contains a list of all NATO agents embedded in terrorist organizations. Chasing an assassin through, well over, Constantinople Bond ends up fighting him on a moving train. His partner in this mission, Eve, is tracking them and finally has a (not clean) shot. With little remorse, M orders Eve to take the shot. She misses and Bond is presumed dead.
Cue the opening credits and the requisite song. All I will say here is that Adele knocks it out of the park.
We rejoin the world of Bond three months later. He’s been hiding in some island country, playing drinking games with scorpions. That is until he hears about an attack on MI6. He breaks into M’s flat, and declares he wants back in. MI6 has done the reasonable thing and retreated in the tunnels below London. Bond is tested, and although he fails, M declares him fit for duty to her boss, Gareth Mallory. After a fitting out by Q, Bond starts chasing down to clues, and those clues lead to Raul Silva.
Raul Silva. It is easy to make the argument that he is the now the greatest villain in the Bond film cannon. He has quite possible the greatest entrance ever. Descending from an open air elevator, Silva starts telling Bond how best to get rid of a rat infestation. Short form: get the rats to eat each other until there are only two left. And here we have our two rats. See, Bond was not the first agent that M left for dead. Silva was once an agent in Hong Kong that went bad, and M turned him over to ensure a peaceful transition of Hong Kong back to Chinese control. And here we have a similarity to Bond. Bond could have easily made the decision to get revenge and work for the bad guys, or to set himself up nicely. As Silva did when he hacked into MI6 and rigged an explosion. That’s right he used a computer to rig an explosion. Gives you an idea of the kind of bad guy we are facing here. An enemy who has no known affiliation, and lives in the shadows; who can strike anywhere.
So, obviously Bond has captured Silva and brought him back to the MI6 secret base. Except, Silva has planned for this. Q gets to work on hacking Silva’s computer, but wait!
Its a trap!
Silva executes one hell of an escape and heads to some governmental building where M is giving testimony as to why MI6 should even still exsist. Well, the stuffed shirts are about to get a lesson. Silva barges in and starts shooting the place up. Bond shows up, and with the help of Eve and Mallory, force Silva to run. Bond decides to get ahead of Silva, and takes M to his childhood home in Scotland, Skyfall. Oh, and they get there in THE Aston Martin DB-5. If you don’t know what I mean, go watch Goldfinger and Thunderball.
The final battle at Skyfall is nothing short of epic. Devising some pretty cool bobby traps (including said car) Bond, M, and the groundskeeper Kincaid, fight off the first wave of Silva’s men. But then Silva shows up in a helicopter with more. Losing ground fast, Bond blows up the castle, taking out the helicopter and more of Silva’s men.
Tracking Kincaid and M to the onsite chapel, Silva corners M. He attempts to get M to kill themselves, but at the last minute Bond shows up, kills Silva and declares: “Last rat standing.”
And then it got dusty in the theater. Having been shot earlier in the battle, the stress and blood loss are too much for M, and she dies. Side note: just prior to the movie, my wife and I were talking about who should replace Judi Dench as M. We get that answer very soon.
And so begins my favorite sequence in the film. Bond is standing on the top of MI6 as Eve shows up and presents him with a ceramic bulldog that used to sit on M’s desk. Eve suggests that perhaps its a message from M to Bond to take a desk job. Bond states that it is quite the opposite.
Walking into a room with a familiar coat rack, Eve says she is not cut out for field work, and that she is taking another assignment. Oh, and her last name is Moneypenny. And then the door. The door with the leather padding from so many Bond films opens, and you see that first glimpse into The Office. Tanner (M’s Chief of Staff) walks out, and tells Bond “He’s ready to see you.” Bond walks in to see Mallory behind the desk as the new M. M tosses a file at Bond and says: “We have work to do.”
This has got to be the best of the Criag Bond’s, and quite possibly one of the greatest of all. If Casino Royale was a bump, and Quantum of Solace was a (weak) set, then this is the spike. Bringing back familiar elements (Q, Moneypenny) and setting up a new world of evil for Bond to fight, this movie declares that Bond is back.
Also, this is the 50th anniversary of the Bond film franchise. So, there were subtle reminders and tributes throughout. A few of my favorites:
- Q telling Bond to return the gear in one piece, and that they don’t do exploding pens anymore. Hell, all the exchanges between Q and Bond were fantastic and reminded me of past Bond movies. (Goldeneye, et al.)
- Bond escapes from some Komodo dragon’s in a very familiar way (See Live and Let Die)
- The Aston Martin DB-5. Need I say more?
There were many others, but these are my favorites.
Skyfall is a hell of a movie. I think its the first that has a chance of some acting Oscar nominations, especially for Javier Bardem. He just plays Silva with the right amount of sinister, mixed with the right amount of crazy. He approaches the edge of campy, but then steps back.
I LOVE this film. It is a high note for the franchise. I can only hope the next chapter can carry this wave of momentum.