At The Movies

Skyfall - A triumphant celebration

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I have been watching Bond films for most of my life and I bet many of you have too. “Skyfall” is the triumphant celebration of 50 years of Bond — James Bond — movies and is surely one of the best. The harder edged, more human and more flawed Daniel Craig version of Bond dispenses with most of the camp, tongue in cheek “aren’t we cute” clever bits from some of the older Bond films and fills the gap with raw action. “Skyfall” is the third of the Craig Bond films and is every bit as good as “Casino Royale” and arguably a little better. At the level of four and a half saw blades, who quibbles?

Bond is played as a physically and mentally damaged agent by Daniel Craig, easily the most commanding presence on screen of all the Bonds even if he is not as beloved as Sean Connery, who starred in the original Bond film, “Dr. No,” back in 1962. Judi Dench is back as M, the boss of the spy agency in London that Bond works for. She is the central character in this film. We have a new Q, the man who gives Bond his gadgets. Ben Whishaw is about 30 and gives a new take to the recurring character. Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney also appear. The beautiful Bernice Marlohe is the major Bond girl, and doomed. Naomie Harris plays Eve, a fellow agent who also catches Bond’s roving eye. Fans will remember Harris from “28 Days Later.”

But all this acting talent isn’t enough for us, oh no. We also have Javier Bardem as the bleached blond bad guy. Bardem is believable enough to be a better than average super villain, a crazy man with a grudge that we can take seriously.

Director Sam Mendes keeps things moving along. There is plenty of roughhouse, explosions and a satisfyingly high body count. Mendes also directed “Jarhead” and “Road to Perdition.” Three writers are in the credits, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis co-wrote both of the recent Daniel Craig Bond films as well as “Die Another Day” and “The World is not Enough.” They know what they are about. They shared the task with John Logan who scribed “The Last Samurai.”

Producer Barbara Broccoli worked on her first Bond film in 1982 as an assistant director for “Octopussy.” She is the inheritor of the Broccoli production company that owns the rights to the original Bond novels. This Bond film will set her producer’s greedy heart on fire. She spent a whopping $200 million on the film and it has brought in a worldwide total of $518 million already. This will be a hugely profitable film and one that the viewing public will enjoy immensely.

This PG-13 (violence) movie runs a generous two hours and 23 minutes. Bond people will love this movie.

Next week we get a rare chance to see Daniel Day Lewis. He leads a stunning cast in “Lincoln.” Oscar nominations are already being touted across the board. I can’t wait.

A great addition to the Bond movies

Katie Schouten - Teen reviewer

“The name is Bond ... James Bond.” These famous words have been uttered on the silver screen for half a century, and yet they have not lost the original meaning they had.

And yes, this latest James Bond movie (23rd to be exact) has been released 50 years after the original Bond movie, “Dr. No” (1962).

Yet, “Skyfall” possesses something completely new. Neither title nor storyline are written by Ian Fleming. And while this is not the first time that the screenwriter has chosen a non-Fleming storyline, this is the first Bond movie where the title is completely original.

The basic premise behind “Skyfall” is that James Bond has been sent to retrieve a hard drive with the identities of MI6 agents before it falls into the wrong hands. Unfortunately for the British Secret Service and agent M, Bond is hit by friendly fire aimed at the thief.

And there, the story begins. James Bond does return, but only after the destruction and infiltration of the MI6 headquarters. It is not a re-creation of Bond’s death as in “You Only Live Twice,” but more of an excuse to give Bond a physical weakness. And by physical weakness, I mean recovery from several gunshot wounds.

The injuries are not Bond’s only weakness. It is revealed that 007 has some sort of a traumatic memory related to his past and the word “skyfall.” But not being the only one with a blurry past, M has found that whoever is responsible for the theft and the bombing is somehow related to her.

This is Daniel Craig’s third James Bond movie, following “Casino Royale” (2006), and “Quantum of Solace” (2008). His performance does not disappoint, and it makes me excited for his two rumored 007 movies.

Once again, M is played by Judi Dench. This is her seventh Bond movie, so she knows the part well, and it shows.

The villain, a character named Silva, is played by Javier Bardem. He had a very strange role, which almost reminded me of the Joker from the Batman movies. The character is very terrifying and devious, and Bardem played it well.

Joining was Naomie Harris as Eve, the latest Bond girl. Ben Whishaw playing Q was equally convincing, as he armed Bond with the latest model of his traditional Walther. Overall, I was impressed with the acting.

Even without the original storyline and title, “Skyfall” is still a good Bond movie. While certain action scenes were not the traditional James Bond, the Aston Martin and the James Bond theme song brought back the feeling of a 007 movie.

On the whole, “Skyfall” is a great addition to the Bond movies. I still prefer “Casino Royale” as my favorite Daniel Craig James Bond movie, but I found myself thoroughly enjoying “Skyfall.”

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