After being absent from the movie screens for four years, Daniel Craig returns as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in 2012's Skyfall, the 23rd official installment of the long running (FIFTY YEARS!) series. (Click here to reserve one of our copies.)
The exciting pre-credits sequence finds Bond and a fellow agent (Naomi Harris) in Istanbul making an ultimately abortive attempt to retrieve a stolen hard drive that contains a list of undercover NATO agents in terrorist organizations. It doesn't end well for Bond.
Subsequently, it's discovered that a former MI6 agent turned cyberterrorist, Silva (Javier Bardem), who has the list, is conducting a campaign of terror against his old boss M (Judi Dench) for reasons of his own. Bond, badly wasted and still wounded from his Istanbul assignment, is assigned to stop Silva and get the list back.
Now that's pretty much what I can tell you about the film's plot without giving away a lot of fun (and some sad) surprises. There's a running subplot of M getting heat from the British government about her ability to run MI6, with Security Committee man Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) seemingly leading the attack.
There's also Bond and M both feeling they have to prove their relevence in the changing 21st century. And did I mention that weapons master Q (now played by Ben Whishaw) is back, depicted as a cybergeek at least ten years younger than Bond? Or that Bond's fellow agent in Istanbul played by Naomi Harris turns out to be.... Nope, not gonna spill the beans!
Skyfall has lots of exciting action sequences, such as the cycle chase and train fight in the aforementioned pre-credits scenes. Plus the subway sequence in London that's both funny and suspenseful, as well as the various attacks by Silva and his henchmen during a Security Committee hearing in London and, later, during the climax, at the place (I'm not telling where or why its important to the plot) Bond and M decide to make their last (?) stand.
Solid acting by Craig, Dench (who's practically this film's closest thing to a "Bond girl"), Bardem, Fiennes, Harris, Whishaw, newcomer Berenice Marlohe (as Silva's mistress, who's not in the film too long) and Albert Finney (as a figure from Bond's past) is complemented by equally strong direction by Sam Mendes, which overcomes some gaping holes in the Neal Purvis-Robert Wade-John Logan screenplay.
Thomas Newman's musical score is just okay. I liked the Morricone-sounding sequence (some cool bass work) around the 2:06 mark, but I really missed composer David Arnold's touch. (Arnold's take of "The James Bond Theme" is played a few times during the film.) And Roger Deakins' cinematography makes Skyfall probably the best-looking Bond film yet.
Overall, Skyfall proves there's still life in the world of 007. Check it out!
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