I watched Skyfall. the latest Bond film from Sony Pictures, starring Daniel Craig. It also features the always creepy Javier Bardem, the staunch Dame Judi Dench, and Naomie Harris.
The plot of the film is that after a particular mission goes south, the names of Mi6 agents are released, and these agents are compromised. Bad enough. However, it appears that someone is attempting to take down the British Mi6 organization, and possibly vendetta against M herself. Bond is tasked with finding the missing data, and also the perpetrators behind this dastardly plot. Bond travels to Turkey, Shanghai, Macau, and Great Britain following the trail. Along the way to Javier Bardem, he meets assassins, Q, and also the beautiful but you know she is damaged goods Severine, played by actress Bérénice Marlohe.
I watched Skyfall while on our family vacation in Cancun. Directed by Sam Mendes [American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road], it is a great looking film, lots of fun action, and an entertaining story line. The picture quality is crystal clear, and while I didn’t get to enjoy the audio in its original DTS-HD MA 5.1, the audio was good. Since the 2006 film Casino Royale, I have really warmed up to Daniel Craig as James Bond. He’s cool, collected, and I’ve enjoyed the action sets seen since then. More importantly, I don’t know how he Daniel Craig does it, but he is the only Bond actor so far who makes me care about the character.
I also enjoyed the supporting cast. Judi Dench was magnetic as always when she is on screen. In past films, her character M was portrayed as this tough as nails chief, but in this film, Mendes makes the character more human. You can see clearly that she is constantly challengednby ethical dilemmas where she has to balance the lives of her agents vs the greater good. And despite always appearing to dislike Bond, she has a soft spot for him. And that James has a strong sense of loyalty to her. And without that kind of emotional resonance in a film or any other story, it becomes one mindless action set after another.
The film also introduces Naomie Harris and her character, who I liked as she was both interesting and also a person of color. Javier Bardem as the villain? Egads, that man can act creepy. His Silva character is nowhere as frightening as his character from No Country for Old Men, but he can infuse life into his characters like no one I know. Mendes uses all the same basic elements of Bond films (the car chases, the grandiose villains, the femme fatale), but somehow he keeps it fresh and entertaining. Keep your eyes open for the brief cameo of the old school Aston Martin of yore.
For some reason, I was never a die hard Bond fan growing up. I missed out on the Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton eras. I’ve watched most of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, with the exception of that seminal 1999 classic Tomorrow Never Dies where Denise Richards was a nuclear physicist or something. Perhaps I should add them to my list of films that I need to enrich myself with.