SKYFALL: “A New Bond for a New Era”

Daniel Craig as James Bond
Judi Dench as M
Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva
Ralph Fiennes as Garth Mallory
Ben Whishaw as Q
In theaters November 9

Chasing a mercenary who has a hard drive containing the identities of undercover MI6 agents embedded in terrorist organizations, Bond is accidentally shot by a fellow field agent. He goes missing and is presumed dead. Months later, M (Dench) is confronted by the head of the Intelligence and Security Committee (Fiennes). In light of the fact that the hard drive has been stolen, as well as a growing government concern that the MI6 division isn’t needed any more, M is quietly asked to step down. She refuses until she can resolve the issue. In the meantime some operative identities are released publicly, placing them all in jeopardy. There is also a violent attack on MI6 that leaves several employees dead. When Bond learns of the attack on MI6, he returns from the dead to find who is responsible. Enter cyberterroist/hacker Raoul Silva (Bardem). Raoul was once a former MI6 agent who was imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese because of a deal that M had made to secure the lives of several agents. Raoul holds MI6, and more to the point, he holds M responsible and has made it his mission to eliminate her and as many as he can in the process. He doesn’t want money or to rule the world, but rather, just wants revenge, plain and simple. It’s up to James to put an end to him before more lives are lost.

Bond is back! “Skyfall” marks Daniel Craig’s third turn as 007 after his introductory films “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.” Usually every decade there is a change of Bond, but in Daniel Craig’s case, the whole Bond character has been rebooted from the beginning. In “Casino” and “Quantum,” Craig is just learning the ropes and reintroducing us to the man that we have come to know as James Bond from his presumed beginnings. In “Skyfall”, Craig is well in charge and ready to work.

“Skyfall” is also a welcome return to the original feel of what we have come to know as a Bond film. The opening should always set the tone. Right from the start, “Skyfall” makes up for the missteps of the first two films in terms of title sequences and music. Splendid title sequence here, more to the flavor of a Maurice Binder classic, but sheer joy comes from hearing Adele’s rich vocals deliver the title song, “Skyfall,” which she co-wrote. Reminiscent of previous themes sung by Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, and Lulu, the song “Skyfall” is worthy to be called a Bond theme, unlike that God-awful Jack White/Alicia Keys fiasco of Quantum.

In an effort to make Bond hipper to a younger audience I’m guessing, we have introduced Q (Ben Whitshaw) as a young, geeky soft spoken technician who is as good with gadgets as he is with computers.

Ralph Finnes treads lightly as the head bureaucrat in charge, so lightly that at first you’re really not sure if he’s all diplomacy or a man of action. Judi Dench as the steadfast iron lady M never fails to deliver a stellar performance.

Javier Bardem shines as the latest Bond (blonde) baddie. He’s just psychotic and talented enough to pull off major world crises at his fingertips, but that does not matter to him – in fact, it bores him to tears. He is hell bent on making M pay for her betrayal.

This isn’t your granddaddy’s Bond! This isn’t your daddy’s Bond. This is a new Bond for a new era. That being said, if you are a Bond traditionalist, “Skyfall” will not disappoint. Since the reboot of Bond began, there have been indications that some of the Bondisims are still in place: The impeccably tailored evening suit, the martini, and with “Skyfall,” we have the introduction of some signature Bond items: the Walther PPK and the Astin Martin DB5 original model as seen in “Goldfinger,” complete with an ejector seat and twin machine guns.

If you love a good James Bond 007 adventure then you will fall for “Skyfall”. Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond brings such depth and color to the character that we have come to know as James Bond, it’s a pleasure to watch him work.  It would be a mistake to miss this film.

5 out of 5 stars.

Check out the trailer for “Skyfall” below:

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