At the end of Casino Royale, I was like a little kid with a big grin on my face. Goosebumps. The film was a massive success. As the credits rolled for Quantum of Solace, it left me in a state of shock. Disappointed. What did I just watch? Before the screening of Skyfall, a friend asked me to recall the plot of Quantum, and, I had difficulty. It just didn’t work. After Casino being such a perfect Bond film, following on from the disastrous Die Another Day, you really couldn’t believe that they could crash down again.
Skyfall is the calibre of Bond film that should have followed Casino.
Pre-titles gives you an action packed motorbike chase through Turkey, with Bond after a hard drive containing all Nato agents that are in the field. Bond gets shot and the disk is then out of MI6’s hands. Into those of Silva, a person from M’s past, when she was stationed in Hong Kong during the transition.
Silva is out for nothing but revenge against M and MI6.
Javier Bardem is fantastic as Silva. He’ll go down as one of the great Bond villains. There’s quite a bit of theatre on the outside with the character, but he’s been damaged quite badly on the inside, and has a very dark side, hell bent on revenge against the woman he blames.
Q makes a return to the series, the first since Die Another Day, this time portrayed by Ben Whishaw. The Quartermaster is now a geeky, technology nerd, with brains. However, not boring. There’s always a good amount of humour around when Q is with Bond, and Skyfall isn’t lacking.
Adele doing the title song is a stroke of genius. It’s oozing Bond, and it has been the first title song in a while that has been close to grabbing the number 1 spot in the UK charts. Her ‘Skyfall’ will be remembered along with ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and all of Dame Shirley Bassey’s performances, instead of being forgotten like… what were they called? [Another Way To Die]
Daniel Kleinman’s return for the title sequence, unfortunately, wasn’t quite as memorable as others. It reminded me of MK12’s effort in Quantum. Which is a shame, because of the fantastic, unique and creative sequence he produced for Casino.
I was worried with Thomas Newman taking the place of David Arnold for the score. I do love Newman’s work, and often listen to his scores for his unique sound, and audible signature you hear on each. I was concerned when samples were released online that it sounded very much like a Newman score, and not a Bond score. However, along with the film, it seemed to work well. I’d like to hear it again, in full by itself, and then again with the film to be sure. There always seemed to be a lot going on screen, that the soundtrack faded into the background – sometimes a good sign of a good score.
Piggy backing on the success of this year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and the London 2012 games—which included the short film ‘Happy & Glorious’ featuring Her Majesty and Daniel Craig—having London so heavily featured in Skyfall grounds Bond as a British icon, with this year marking 50 years of James Bond, Skyfall is a great film to commemorate it.
There are nods and winks to the series past, but done in a much subtler way than that of Die Another Day, where they were shot at you, unmercifully, one after the other.
We get some of Bond’s backstory from his childhood. The DB5 makes an explosive return.
By the end of the film you’ll feel good in your seat, knowing that the Bond series is back in a comfortable position that can continue on for the next 50 years.