By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes
SKYFALL marks the Golden Anniversary of the Bond series, and it’s raking in the serious gold—for good reason. In this 23rd Bond film, M and MI-6 are under attack, and it’s up to 007 to track down and destroy the threat. He does it in style, proving once more that Bond truly is the master of resurrection.
Sam Mendes makes a brilliant directing debut with the series, showing he actually earned all of his Oscars and Tonys for other films over the years. Daniel Craig returns for the third time as Bond, along with Judi Dench playing M, and introducing Ben Whishaw and Naomi Harris as Q and Moneypenny, respectively.
From a thriller standpoint, SKYFALL has it all. Fast pace, nail-biting tension, creative chases, and explosions that will warm the heart of twenty-something pyrotechnics lovers. There’s even a tiny snafu that might have you wondering, “Which side was that?” But I suspect that will only end up making the movie more loved for being a bit flawed like the rest of us.
While cutting edge with a modern feel and new, young characters, SKYFALL still honors the classic qualities of Bond. It not only takes us for one more spin in 007’s iconic Aston Martin DB5, it treats us to colorful locales, mysterious people, and even exotic animals. Though I feel compelled to note those komodo dragons must be on a diet of digitally enhanced Twinkies and MLB steroids to get that big.
This 50th Anniversary installment continues to develop the three-dimensional character brought to the fore with the Craig incarnation of the series, and we find out more details of Bond’s early life and home. Only one Bond behavior strikes me as being particularly out of character. He allows his MI-6 co-worker to shave him with an old-fashioned straight razor. A certain spook I know *glances down the page* can barely sit still for his wife of decades to cut his hair. He would rather suck broken glass through a straw up his nose than allow anyone near his throat with a sharp object.
It’s not easy to take an old, worn out basic story line like the “stolen master list” and make a watchable movie out of it after so many have tried and failed, but SKYFALL does it. The entire production is excellent, and this is a great addition to the Bond series.
As to the normal “spy flick” questions, here we go . . .
No, it’s not terribly realistic, but that’s fortunate. Who really wants to watch a bunch of guys in filthy, third world hovels passing long hours trying to get something done? SKYFALL is definitely unrealistic, and that’s why it’s superbly entertaining.
Can you use light sockets to make nail bombs? Yes. But not with the method employed in the movie. So all you middle school boys reading this can leave those light fixtures alone. You’ll only succeed in infuriating your parents without getting any real explosions.
The palm ID feature of Bond’s new Walther will thrill gun control nuts the world over. And yes. Tracking radios that size and smaller do work in the real world. The smallest model would be useless in an action flick because they would need a macro lens shot to show it.
There is a theme throughout SKYFALL of a rift between the old HUMINT (human intelligence) hands and the rest of the intelligence community. In the real world, there are plenty of old spooks. The problem with operatives getting good at the job is that organizations generally don’t want them to leave, and they don’t know how to leave, anyway. The idea that younger spooks see the older spooks and their methods as irrelevant is 99% false. Only politicians and whiny media types do that. I suspect this is just as true in MI-6 as it is in American intelligence organizations.
Now for the negatives. The script is a bit weak in a couple of places, but that’s about the only complaint I have.
The positives are many. The acting ranges from fair to excellent. The camera work and editing are great. I hope the editing crew and directors from BOURNE LEGACY see this movie so they can get an idea of how one might make a movie if one combines intention with talent.
The opening chase scene includes a “drive through the market chase” and a novel “top of the train” scene. I won’t ruin them for you. I’ll just say they are very well done, evidencing a good deal of time and effort.
The fighting and shooting scenes are articulate and reasonable. There were no magic weapons with infinite shots, and there were a couple of original touches I think viewers will enjoy.
In a return to earlier Bond style, SKYFALL delivers craftily woven levity. However, the sex was a notch lower than more traditional Bonds. Sorry guys. The producers skimped on their usual “legions of young woman in small bikinis” device, but there is still plenty of movie here.
The four years we waited for a new Bond film were well used by the entire production cast to create a movie that entertains without the viewer having to try too hard. They ALL got it right.
We highly recommend SKYFALL to anyone who enjoys action films. Few movies will ever achieve this level of production quality. Bravo to the Bond team!
We give SKYFALL a .357 magnum +P rating. This is our second highest rating, and it means we would actually pay prime time theater prices if we could stand the crowd. It only fails to achieve our highest rating, the .44 magnum, because we reserve that for films that might enlighten or inspire some of the viewers. You may not be enlightened or inspired by SKYFALL, but you will almost certainly be entertained.
Excellent review, I can’t wait to see this.
Glad you enjoyed it, Vinnie. Please let us know what you think of the movie when you’ve seen it. 🙂
Courtney saw the premiere at midnight! She loved it!
I’ve actually seen it three times now. I’m not obsessed with it. I just went back with family once and friends another time. It was great all three times, and I will probably be one of the first to get the DVD. It’s not just a great Bond, it’s a great example of thriller storytelling that I can use as an example for my work with Holmes.
Great review, guys! I always appreciate your insight. I’m hoping to go see it this weekend – in an IMAX theater. The explosions will be bigger! Have a great weekend!
I think I need to go see it in an IMAX, too. That’s a great idea. 🙂
I saw it in IMAX, which I totally recommend if you want a great cinematic experience. But… yeah, I didn’t like Skyfall. Well, I liked the beginning of the film and thought, this movie is going to be good! Then as the story progressed in, for me, a less than interesting fashion with a meh climax, I found myself wondering where we were heading for dinner afterward and when the film would be over.
Which infuriates me to some level because I really, really, really wanted this to be the best Bond movie I’d ever seen. I was so jazzed about it. Anyway, I don’t want to go into too much detail of why it was disappointing—spoilers and all. But let’s just say I thought the “love interest” was lacking, as I said a meh climax, a squandered opportunity with a good villain (he was the best part of the movie) and a lot of stuff that didn’t make any sense. Plus Daniel Craig just seemed tired and bored to me in his performance.
Hi Jae. Sorry that you did not enjoy it.
I may have to splurge and go see this in the theaters. My dad said it’s the best–but he says that about every Bond film. And, Ellie Ann raved about it. I think Daniel Craig is a great Bond, and I wasn’t so sure about the casting at first. AND, I’ve hard Mr. Javier is fantastic. I’m convinced that I need to see it before it’s at Redbox.
Hi Tiifany. I think that if you can get to an early show tou might enjoy it more without a mob there.
Great review! I’d been looking forward to SKYFALL anyway, but now I’m definitely putting it at the top of the must-see list. Also, it’s great to see you guys doing more reviews – I love the joint posts!
Thank you Susan.
I can’t wait to see this one. My husband actually asked about it! (He doesn’t talk about seeing movies very often.) Thanks to both of you for the review.
You might both enjoy it. See if you can catch a non-prime-time showing.
Excellent review! Saw it yesterday and going again next week with other friends. Totally gobsmacked re scene in chapel … IYKWIM. Didn’t see that coming.
Hi Patricia. Thank you. Have fun!
We totally IMAX’d this one. Love the story line and I’m very disappointed to find out that I can’t make the chandelier blow up for Thanksgiving – the family was really looking forward to seeing the “point” of such a device. The thing I love about the Skyfall type of story line is that everyone believes that a “Master/Noc List” is something that can be stolen – wait got one right here (knocks on air).
The antagonist, while entirely unrealistic (smart but the guy would have been toast IRL) was also amazingly entertaining. The guy is over the top, perfect. But then, it is Javier Bardem – give that man an Oscar already!
Great post Piper & Holmes!
Hi Gene. Glad you enjoyed it. The chandelier issue might be resolvable. We may be able to help you with that with an alternative method. Look for yet another Fun and Affordable Bayard and Holmes Holiday product. We will be posting it soon.
I must be the only woman on earth who doesn’t like Daniel Craig as James Bond. I’m so ready for his blond hair and his brooding look to go. This sounds like a wonderful movie, though. Unfortunately, since my family is watching the Bond movies in order and we’re only up to Tomorrow Never Dies, it may be a little bit before we see Skyfall. I think the guys in my household, however, would like to do a Bond marathon and just knock ’em all out quickly before heading to the theater. We’ll see! Thanks for the great review.
Hi Julie. I recommend against the Bond marathon review. I think you could see this one out of order without ruining any of the others at all.
Well, crap. You sound like my husband. LOL. I must prevail in this argument! They go in order! 🙂 🙂
(Yeah, yeah, he also says I’m a little anal-retentive.)
hmmmm ” I must prevail in this argument!” as soon as I sounded like your husband you needed to prevail. I need to have a talk with you two (waives grandfatherly finger at you).
I loved the movie. I’ve seen skyfall twice. I loved the others so much i’ve seen everyone 9 times minimum. I can never get enough of bond. THis last one was a masterpiece.. so amazing..
Hi Mist-Writer. Thanks for adding your perspective.
Julie I know where you are coming when you mention this bond. This bond character is not the normal debonaire bond, he is a harder than the other bonds of the past. There is less love and affection in this film. Having said that I still love this bond and the fact that adele did the music for it makes this one of the best bond songs ever. 🙂