10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
James Bond the Ageless Wonder.,
This review is from: Skyfall (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
James Bond is sure getting up there in age. He's 59 years old since his birth in Ian Fleming's novel Casino Royal along with 50 years since his first film appearance in Dr. No, and his 21 other Bond films have taken a toll on the franchise and character with its ups and down. It might be time for Bond to retire and get his AARP card. I started watching Bond back in 1990 or 1991. I was just 11 or 12 years old when I caught a marathon of Bond films on what I remember being TBS and the first Bond film I saw was Goldfinger. I didn't understand all the sexual references or the adult humor at the time, but I loved the films and character, and they were really entertaining. My favorite Bond is Sean Connery. His first four film go at the character with Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball were just great. That's not to say he was perfect especially with his second and third go at the character. I think George Lazenby is looked over or unappreciated as James Bond. Roger Moore in the beginning did a really good job as James Bond, but quickly started showing his age after the disaster of a Bond film in Moonraker. Moore was followed by Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and now Daniel Craig as James Bond which comes back to the age thing. Through the years with different actors and different tone or takes on the character James Bond has gotten old. Some would say why continue the series the character is outdated with it being a different type of world and films like the Bourne series, Mission Impossible and others maybe it is time to retire the character and series. The funny thing is Skyfall addresses these issues and masterfully does it with poignant and humorous moments that address these issues.
I think I'll try and avoid plot details and instead talk about some of the themes of the film like for example intelligence agencies in the modern world. With countries not being a huge direct threat to nation security of nations with most being criminal organizations, militant groups or terrorist organizations intelligence agencies have to adapt and is an issue in this film dealing with MI6. Of course getting old and being in this line of work is another theme. What is a person like Bond going to do if he retires? I mean really is he just going to sit around somewhere leading a boring life. The man has lived an exciting with women, danger and adventure, but not without being majorly scarred from torture, injuries and losing friends and loved ones. M (Judi Dench) also has to face these realities as does the bad guy Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). The last issue is the abandonment and mommy issue which two of the main characters have. It doesn't sound like a Bond film does it? I'm sure some would say it goes against the Bond reality, but face it time, age and the sins we commit in life eventually catch up to us and it works in Skyfall making it one of the best Bond films. There are a few flaws in the film mainly I think to do with editing for time. I think Sam Mendes and the editors edited out a few things to save on time. I think you'll notice them like when Bond is relaxing on a beach somewhere. I won't give anything away except it's kind of really short and seems to have been edited. Also there's character Sévérine (Bérénice Lim Marlohe). The stunningly beautiful character/actress is underused and I think some of her scenes were edited out or shortened. These are just small flaws that I noticed, but nothing that would hurt the film for me or anyone else.
All right let me be honest what makes this film go are two actors and one actress in Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Judi Dench, and really the film is about them. Daniel Craig with his performance as James Bond has become my second favorite Bond behind Sean Connery. I know people will point to Quantum of Solace saying how disappointing a film it was, but it wasn't. Was it perfect of course not, but it is not even close to being the worst Bond film. If you want those all you have to do is watch Moonraker, Never Say Never Again, Die Another Day and The World Is Not Enough. Quantum was middle of the pack Bond film and Daniel Craig did a great job. Judi Dench as M in GoldenEye from just being Bond's boss into a real character with obvious flaws and scars and true affection and respect for James and she truly shows it here in Skyfall. Then there is Javier Bardem who truly steals the film as the bad guy. I think this may be the most original villain in the Bond franchise though some might find some parallels with another Bond villain, but I won't tell you since that might give something away. Even with that said Javier does the far better job. He's been betrayed, abandoned, tortured and has been psychologically scarred. He isn't after world domination or something ridiculous like that he's after something more tangible. I might have to watch the Bond films again, but in my opinion Raoul Silva might be the best single Bond villain ever. Ralph Fiennes does a really good job in his role as Gareth Mallory, and I loved Ben Whishaw as the new Q. I look forward to seeing the character in future films. I've already talked about Bérénice Lim Marlohe, so instead I'll talk briefly about Naomie Harris (Eve). She's not horrible nor is she greatly memorable. I ended up with a sort of indifference toward her and her character.
The more realistic action they've been putting in Bond films since Daniel Craig began as James Bond again really works. The opening sequence is really good and there's a short sequence at night in a skyscraper in Shanghai that is truly beautifully done. The cinematography was beautiful especially the scenes in Scotland. In the brief scenes they did an astounding job showing off the beauty of the country. Sam Mendes is a masterful job directing Skyfall and beginning together the story and actors almost perfectly. Now to be honest up until about nine months to a year ago I had never heard of Adele, and nor was I a big fan when I heard her music. That being said she did a really good job with the Bond theme song. It is kind of funny and interesting that Bond is the only franchise that does something like this and generally it works. The problem I had with Skyfall's one isn't the song it's the video that went with it. The video just wasn't very good at least to me. Outside of the Adele and the Bond theme the music was well done and worked for the film.
Is James Bond getting old or irrelevant? Yes maybe the Ian Fleming character he created in his novels, but not the James Bond you saw in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. No James Bond has found a way to adapt and cope with the times yet still keep many of the qualities and beliefs that have made him a great character and in doing so he has for now become ageless. Skyfall is one of Bond's best films with a great story, great acting (especially by the three main characters), really good directing and cinematography. I highly recommend this film for Bond fans and action fans in general. I don't think you'll be disappointed.