The below review is nearly Spoiler Free as the few comments to the film are found in some trailers.
When one thinks of James Bond the bulk of people asked will mention an actor or movie. Few of those will mention the authors behind the books that gave birth to this movie franchise. The person I think of most when it comes to James Bond is Ian Fleming the man who wrote the original stories. Fleming used his experience in World War 2 to help frame the character and create a literary character that has lasted as long as the films, if not even longer in book form.
When Fleming spoke of his creation he mentioned how he wanted a character that had the dullest name he had ever heard, and thus James Bond was born. He also wanted to create a man who was just a dull instrument that fulfilled a need in the intelligence community. I am paraphrasing a bit with that last comment but Fleming did state that is what he wanted the character to be.
This takes me to the recent Bond film Skyfall which shows the audience a type of Bond I envisioned Fleming wanted to see. James Bond is again played by Daniel Craig and we find him again in danger at the beginning of the movie. Bond is found chasing a killer who has stolen a very important hard drive and M (Judi Dench) will do anything to get it back. This “anything” may even be allowing her agents to be killed and will bring the reality of the job to James Bond.
As the movie progresses we get an idea into the relationship of Bond and M. The two of them have a complex relationship of trust and possible betrayal. Bond will also hear from the new head of Q Branch (Ben Whishaw) about his role in the world as he is told that the reason for agents like Bond is that someone needs to pull a trigger.
Its comments and innuendos spread out throughout the film that helps to bring the viewer deeper into Bond’s world. The fact he and M are found at the end of the film doing battle together that we get an idea of how important M has been to Bond over the years since her start in the Pierce Brosnan films to the Daniel Craig films. After all, it was M who told Bond, “I have the balls to send you to your death” in a previous film.
The other unique story in this film has to be in the villain, Raoul Silva, played masterfully by Javier Bardem. Silva is the type of character that will have viewers questioning his motives, and his sanity. There is even a scene in the film that will leave some uncomfortable as Silva gets very “hands on” with Bond.
Skyfall is a film that has a plot that main point seems to be that your decisions in life may come back to haunt you. I say this as there is things Bond does in this film that will create some minor problems for him later in the film. M seems to be the biggest benefactor of this plot point as she gets cryptic messages from the villain that she must pay for her sins. This will give you the idea that M maybe the person Silva is really after.
The greatest aspect to his film for this Bond fan was the subtle winks to older Bond films. The director, Sam Mendes, made sure to give nods to the older films including some jokes and older Bond devices. One of my favorite jokes is a reference to an exploding pen that comes up when Bond first meets Q.
Skyfall is a Bond film that reminds its fans why the franchise has lasted 50 years and has seen 23 movies. The movie gives the viewer a taste of the darker side of Bond that can be found in the Fleming novels, and a man who is a blunt instrument. A man who will do all he can to protect the country he loves, and those that employ him. It’s a film that Albert “Cubby” Broccoli would be proud to see come out of his Eon Productions that he started with Harry Saltzman. Cubby’s daughter Barbara has carried on a great tradition of Bond films and this is just another great film.
Now here is my personal list of James Bond Actors and a brief reason on why the rank where they do.
- Sean Connery… The original Movie Bond, who started it all with Dr. No. The man played a Bond I felt came out of Ian Fleming’s books and had an edge to him.
- Daniel Craig… Continues Connery’s work playing a bond that uses his brains and body to get the job done. A hard edge to the secret agent blessed with great scripts and directors.
- George Lazenby… Only played Bond one time, his decision, but had a unique Bond moment as he got married in the film. The movie was rough due to the time it was made but having done more he would have been a great Bond.
- Pierce Brosnan… Brought Bond into the 1990’s and rode the line between the gadget heavy eras of Moore to the rougher Connery. Some rough scripts but a Bond that shared the screen with some beauties of his time. The villains were just a bit to over the top.
- Roger Moore… A good Bond but had too much of the “pretty boy” look and features. A lot of his films used a comedic departure from Connery’s films to separate the two Bonds. Moore was also the one to use gadgets to the “Nth” degree and just over did the comedic side and not serious enough for me.
- Timothy Dalton… An attempt to take Bond back to the darker side of his psyche that came from the Fleming books. He just didn’t care the mantel of Bond well enough to catch on. Also he suffered from having Moore’s comedic Bond in front of his turn as Bond.
- David Niven/Woody Allen/Peter Sellers… These three actors were some of the huge cast in the satire movie Casino Royale. The film had MI6 direct its network of 6 spies all be called James Bond to stop the villains in the film. Although a satire the movie is a classic and some in the film easily could have played Bond in the other film