oo7 Skyfall (2012) review

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall*SPOILER FREE*

Skyfall is the 3rd film to star Daniel Craig in the iconic role of James Bond. How is he in the role?  I think he’s pretty good.

When Casino Royale first came out I was skeptical like many other people, but he proved himself to be capable of handling the role. I do think it’s weird how his hair color is different and he seems to have gotten a full body wax, but never the less he pulls off the character well.

He plays it very differently than previous bond actors. More serious, less cheesy. If I had to rank him among the bond actors I would say he’s #3. #1 being Sean Connery, simply because you can’t beat the original. #2 would be Pierce Brosnan. He embodies the idea of James Bond. When someone who’s not too familiar with the 007 franchise thinks of James Bond, it’s Brosnan that comes to mind.. He has had the most at bats and has the perfect suave attitude. I’ve heard that playing James Bond put him in a contract where he wasn’t allowed to wear a black suit in any other films. Daniel Craig’s biggest strength is his brutality. Out of all the Bond actors he seems the most capable of the action performed on screen. Connery has the class, Brosnan has the suave, and Craig has the brutality.

So we know now how the star ranks among the previous ones, but how does this film rank among the previous James Bond films. I actually feel that this may be the greatest James Bond film of all time. I haven’t seen every James Bond movie, but out of what I’ve seen, it’s certainly my favorite.

Skyfall takes on Sam Mendes as the new director. He does a fantastic job. He keeps the elements of the previous Craig Bond films like the brutality and realism, but adds stylistic elements from the older movies as well. A good deal of comedy is worked into the film, which I feel is a welcome addition over the sometimes overly serious tone of the past two films. This is one of the more visual appealing James Bond films. There are very interesting set designs that all look fantastic, and have wonderful cinematography. There are many references to the old James Bond films such as an old James Bond car returning, which makes this movie feel like a buffer between the old and new James Bond. Craig’s first run at James Bond was drastically different from the previous installments and left many fans a little cold.  Skyfall is a good middle ground of the two. This could have been used to ease people into the style.

Javier Bardem and Daniel Craig in SkyfallJavier Bardem plays a fantastic bad guy. The 007 franchise is known for having some of the most memorable villains of cinema history, and Javier Bardem is right up there with them. One of the best bond villains, just out of pure charisma. His most well known role before this was as Anton in No Country For Old Men. He plays a bad guy in both but the way he plays them are wildly diverse. Anton he hardly spoke. In “Skyfall” he doesn’t know when to shut up. You can tell he had a lot of fun in his role. The way he plays the character often adds a whole element to the scene he’s in. He doesn’t actually appear for a good portion of the movie, but once he does he steals the show. The actor Javier Bardem is actually afraid of guns, which is funny to think about when considering his gun heavy roles in “Skyfall” and especially “No country For Old Men” where he’s hardly ever without a gun.

The beginning part of the movie, as is now tradition, starts in the middle of an action sequence, which was great as always, and is then followed by an opening credit music sequence. I have been disappointed by a number of the intros but this one was done very well. I think they could have found a better singer than Adele but the song definitely fit the tone they were going for and she won entertainer of the year for the skyfall song. The visuals were very cool, interesting, and also quite creative.

skyfall banner“Skyfall” really explores the characters in the Bond universe. I didn’t really realize how little I actually knew about the characters before this. They explore M, and Bond especially. We get to know a little bit about Bond’s back story. His childhood, family, where he grew up, stuff like that. This is something that I never really wondered about, but never the less was interesting to learn. Sometimes there is back story that can ruin your idea of a character, and that does not happen here.

As the trailer shows, Bond has been injured and has to re-learn the ropes. His skills have fallen, and he’s no longer in active duty shape. People liked seeing the character out of his prime. I think this has been a trend lately. A character falls from his prime and has to work his way back up. That’s been a common theme in movies lately even in another blockbuster that came just before it, The Dark Knight Rises. It’s a reoccurring theme just like the “Old Guy/ action hero” movement that’s been going around lately. Started by movies like Live Free or Die Hard, “Rambo”, “RED” continuing through the Expendables 2″ and future films like “The Last Stand” and the “Bullet in the Head” remake. The weird thing is that no matter how times people see this same formula they tend to find it fresh and original.

That got really off topic, but anyway back to James Bond awesomeness. “Skyfall” is a great movie, and I think it just might be the greatest James Bond film of all time.

 

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