No. Definitely not the best Bond yet!
Sam Mendes has done well, this Bond is right in so many ways. Gone is the smug, swaggering, Teflon-coated superman womaniser with a taste for fine vintages. This Bond is injured, possibly suffering from PTS, but still willing to serve Queen and country to the last. Felt there was also a fitting tribute to the casualties of recent conflicts.
This Bond is gritty, intelligent and refreshing. All the old favourites make their appearance without excess. This is a perfect Bond for the present time - I loved it! British talent at its best, hope it does well in the Oscars.
I may be the only dissenting voice about this film, but for me, the massive, massive hype ruined what was merely a good Bond film. It wasn't remarkable; there are a few things in the plot that are weak and the characterisation of Bond takes another weird twist or two. In the books he is a cold killing machine; in this one he expresses more emotion than makes any sense.
However, it is competently made, well acted, the baddie is adequate, if not outstanding, so all in all, it is fine. Just absolutely not the best Bond film ever, and I think shows that there is a much room for improvement in engaging the film goer in something a bit more intelligent.
Somebody (British Intelligence) has left a list of every single secret agent in the Western world on a laptop in a block of flats in Istanbul. Somebody else breaks in and pinches the hard disc. Could happen to anybody.
Enter 007 who assesses the situation and bursts into action. Now here’s a thought – if you or I drove through Oxford at 19 mph nibbling on a Mars Bar, we’d be pulled over by a policeman on a bike. James Bond can do 120 mph through the back streets of Istanbul firing an automatic pistol with half the Turkish constabulary in hot pursuit and he doesn’t get so much as a verbal warning.
The car chase gives way to a spectacular motorbike chase over the roof of the Grand Bazaar, which gives way to a chase along the roof of a moving train which is carrying diggers – really big diggers. And then there’s a fist fight and then our hero gets shot and takes a spectacular dive to the bottom of a deep lake and …then the opening titles roll.
Skyfall is fast moving, glossy, glamorous, vaguely reminiscent of every action film you’ve ever seen and packed to the gunnels with cars, guns, girls, helicopters and other blokish stuff. The photography’s astounding, Daniel and Judi act their socks off and the whole thing is the most amazing fun. This is what cinema was invented for.
Helen Ward (DI Reviewer), 24/11/12
I think it’s fair to say there were some high expectations for this film, particularly as Casino Royale had shown us how good the new-era Bond could be, whilst Quantum of Solace cruelly reminded us that it can also be fairly mediocre. This, the 23rd Bond film, has been a long time coming, mostly due to MGM’s financial problems, but was given centre stage as the film which marked Bond’s golden anniversary on the big screen.
All the usual Bond elements are present and correct: two girls, action, global locations and shiny cars. The pre-title sequence didn’t fail to impress, proving that Mendes is an able pair of hands. The action was exciting, without being confusing (as is so often the case with those unused to handling high-octane set pieces); the stunts suitably impressive. By the time Adele’s brilliant theme song had faded out, I was confident that Skyfall was on the right track.The film is very much plot-led. Javiar Bardem’s Silva is the first real villain that Craig’s Bond has had to contend with, but one whose motivations are clear – this is not the cat-stroking master of evil of old (though he does still have a slight physical deformity!). Craig reminds us again why he’s such an excellent Bond; showing a believable fatigue and battle scars (possibly for the first time, he digs shrapnel out of his skin). In this film, Bond is given much more back story, which only adds to his credibility as a character. Similarly, M, who for the past seven films has probably been the only female character of any real substance and not just a pretty package, is given emotional depth, ably portrayed by Dench.
There are comic touches too, acknowledging the film’s place alongside its 22 predecessors. Ben Whishaw, for example, an excellent choice as the new Q, gives a disappointed Bond his goodie-bag, quipping “What did you expect, an exploding pen?” The latest quartermaster, complete with Scrabble mug, succeeds in reminding us that the war on terror may very well be won by geeks and laptops, not guns – although, as Q points out, “we’ll always need someone to pull the trigger”.Skyfall is on a par with Casino Royale (if not better) and a truly fine return to form. If resurrection is Bond’s hobby, as he claims, then Daniel Craig and co have certainly breathed new life into the franchise.
Felicity van Steenbergen (DI Reviewer), 31/10/12
Within the first two seconds of Skyfall audiences are treated to a familiar and satisfying injection of some iconic music. It serves to perfectly encapsulate the shift back towards a traditional 007 whilst also continuing the spirit of Daniel Craig's more modern, brutal incarnation. With Quantum of Solace leaving fans of the franchise deflated after the surging revamp of Casino Royale, this is exactly the shot in the arm that the series requires.
After an expertly executed opening sequence that puts Bond (Daniel Craig) out of action, MI6 find themselves under attack from deranged cyber-terrorist, Silva (Javier Bardem), who's out for the head of M (Judi Dench). With England in need, Bond returns to serve Queen and country. Although Skyfall skimps not on the action, it is Sam Mendes‘ handling of the relationships between these three key players that elevates the film above many other 007 outings.
The cast is probably the best the series has seen and Bardem makes a fantastic villain imbuing Silva with all the flamboyance and grotesqueness that the best Bond baddies need. He creates a wounded, terrifying character and to say that he steals every scene he‘s in would be an understatement. The leading pair of Craig and Dench are also both on top form - Craig has really made Bond his own and has, in the eyes of many, eclipsed Connery as the best incarnation of the character.
Add to that the most stunning visuals the series has had as well as a return to the knowing humour for which it‘s famous and you couldn't really ask for much more from a new Bond movie. If you're a fan, you‘ll love it; if you're not a fan, it might still be worth checking out as Skyfall just could be the best he's ever been.
Ben Nicholson (DI Reviewer), 30/10/12
It's almost as if Quantum of Solace never happened. This much-hyped instalment of Bond continues the rolling reboot begun in Casino Royale, delving into Bond's background, setting up the tropes we all hold dear (a new Q, an old car) and pitting Bond against a madman bent on destruction just like the good old days.
From the first car chase it's clear that Sam Mendes has got the right touch for this film, making something new out of such an old familiar brand. The corners of Daniel Craig's mouth twitch a fair bit. He might be acting, or he might just be letting you know that Bond is like an old dressing gown - a comfortable part that's a pleasure to wear. It probably goes without saying he's also a pleasure to watch!Of course it's also loopy - one minute Bond is an old man, who probably ought to be retiring from active service. The next he's just starting out. The plot is rather crazy and the jeopardy more personal, less universal than in some films. But then, have you tried rewatching Moonraker? The latest is no sillier than the classics.
The best thing about this film, I think, is that it undoes years of tarnish and gets back to the core. It does away with the Brosnan-era sloppy excesses, and the endless gadgets. Here we see a stripped-down, Heineken-drinking Bond, right for the recession. It's more about the people, the internal resources, and the film is all the better for it.I hope this film does what it has to to keep the studio alive. We're all grown up enought to forgive him the beer, and to know that it's crammed full of product placements to keep the accountants happy, but they've slipped in the advertising without ruining everything. It reminds me a bit of the Olympic Ceremony - homegrown, cheerfully eccentric, with the plot twists a series of remarkably well kept secrets. If you've been in two minds whether this franchise still has what it takes, you don't need to worry - Bond is back on track.
Jen Pawsey (DI Staff), 30/10/12