It’s not often that a movie franchise lasts fifty years, or survives so many cast changes, but this year marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series and with that comes the 23rd instalment, Skyfall. Though technically it’s only the third film, Casino Royale was a reboot.
After an action packed opening sequence, in which Bond (Daniel Craig) fails to retrieve important M16 files, M’s ability to lead is called into question. Gareth Mallory, played by Ralph Fiennes, is sent in to pressure M into retirement, but she doesn’t want to ‘leave it (M16) in a worse state than she found it’. 007 must then go on a mission to track down the files, but to do this he must go deep into M’s past and face a ghost who has come back to haunt her.
The story is interesting and moves quickly so it never gets boring despite the long running time of two hours and 23 minutes. However, some aspects, like the Bond girl, felt like they were just thrown in because they had to or it wouldn’t be a James Bond film. Bérénice Marlohe plays Sévérine Skyfall’s version of a Bond girl. Though her performance was good she never really had anything to do and could easily be lifted out of the movie without it affecting the story.
M is very much at the centre of the plot and Judi Dench does an amazing job portraying M as both a heartless leader and a mother figure. She makes the tough calls and doesn’t apologise when one agent’s safety has to be sacrificed for the greater good, which is admirable but makes it hard to believe that anyone would actually be loyal to her. However, she does subtly give an explanation for this by pointing out that ‘orphans always make the best agents’. Bonds unquestionable loyalty to her adds to the depth of his character, which is explored further in this movie.
As far as villains go, I think it’s fair to say that Skyfall has one of the most interesting. Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem is a cyber-terrorist who prides himself on being able to take down organisations and people without ever having to leave his computer. Even though he’s the villain it’s hard not to like him because he’s a little crazy and that’s always interesting to watch. Plus, he very nearly became the first Bond boy, well that should get your imaginations going. There are a number of similarities between Raoul and Bond, which makes it so interesting to see how different they ended up.
Skyfall also sees the return of Q, though a much younger version. Ben Whishaw takes on the role offering up some comedic relief and creating an interesting dynamic with Bond who is now the older of the two. Naomie Harris plays a young field agent, called Eve, who ‘may not be cut out for field work’. Harris does a great job, but some of Eve’s choices, particularly one at the end, seem out of character. The relationship between her and Bond is actually much more compelling than the one he has with Bond girl Sévérine.
There are some really fun references to older Bond movies that fans of the franchise will love. Even if you’re not well educated in the world of Bond you’ll be able to pick up on a few and join in on the fun. Skyfall is a really clever, entertaining and interesting movie that has shown Bond films can have depth and character growth without sacrificing the action and excitement.
What do you think? Are you a James Bond Fan? Have you seen every Bond film? Do you plan on seeing Skyfall? Who was your favourite Bond? Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and, if you liked this review, click the like button.