“Skyfall” (2012) is the 23rd James Bond film, appearing 50 years after the first one. It stars Daniel Craig as Bond, Judi Dench as M, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and, as the Bond girl, Bérénice Marlohe. Adele sings the opening song. Sam Mendes directs.
Premise: MI6 is bombed by terrorists and a list of their spies has fallen into enemy hands. The evil villain is a former British spy who knows all their tricks and is a hacker besides. Bond is getting old and washed up – he cannot even shoot straight. M is threatened with forced retirement. A dig, no doubt, at this being the 50th anniversary of the Bond films.
- Cool car: None except towards the end when Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from “Goldfinger” (1964) is brought out of retirement.
- Foreign settings: Istanbul, Scotland, Shanghai, Macau. The last two are beautifully photographed at night. Scotland looks godforsaken, like it is at the far end of the world.
- Evil villain: Standard sicko evil genius.
- Best special effects: A train going off its tracks, a helicopter crashing.
- Smoking: only bad guys smoke in this one.
- Drinking: Bond drinks too much, but only when he hits bottom.
- Sex scenes: Two, very brief, very PG-13.
- You get to see: where Bond grew up in Scotland.
It was good because all Bond films are good, but as Bond films go this one was too predictable. Like I knew how the evil villain would be killed before he was killed.
We have seen it before:
- a fight scene on top of a moving train going through tunnels and across high bridges;
- Fruit stands knocked over during a chase scene;
- Bond hanging off the end of a moving lift;
- Motorcycles going up stairs inside of buildings during a chase scene.
Bond is seemingly killed right at the beginning – but we all know he is alive. Because Bond never dies.
There are two surprise twists in the plot and no shocker ending. Little suspense. The film rests on its action scenes, special effects and the relationship between Bond and M.
Naomie Harris, best known in America for being in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, plays a fellow spy. She only appears here and there. I wish they showed more of her. At least she did not die in the first 20 minutes.
When I first heard she was going to be in it, I thought she was going to be the Bond girl. I should have known better. There was no sexual tension between her and Bond except for one scene and it was probably one-sided on her part.
Like “Doctor Who”:
- Bad things always seem to take place in London.
- The evil villain is a technological threat.
Bond is not a tech whiz like Doctor Who. That part is played by Q.
Judi Dench’s M comes off as ice cold, even more than in past films. My sister assures me I am being sexist: if a man played the very same character I would not notice.