Well, the wait is finally over, Skyfall has arrived, marking the 23rd film in the Bond franchise, starting with Dr. No. I have seen it and let me tell you, it is phenomenal. While I was visiting the theatre (attending a showing of Wreck-it Ralph, a fantastic film in it's own right) a friend who was accompanying me found there was a midnight showing of Skyfall, (a full day before we even thought it was released), so we decided to stay and watch. I loved Skyfall so much, and found it to be such an impressive return to what made me love James Bond in the first place all those years ago when I first watched them with my father. Recently the Bond series seems to have been "rebooted", with the release of Casino Royale back in 2006 (a film that blew me away, especially in the wake of the travesty that was Die Another Day) and then in the follow-up film (that was, sadly, nowhere near the caliber of greatness presented in Casino Royale), Quantum of Solace. But where Casino Royale brought a freshness, as well as, a seriousness back to Bond (when it was plunging back into the depths of 'camp' and ridiculousness, not entirely unlike the end of Roger Moore's stint as the beloved hero), Quantum of Solace brought a mopey, revenge-driven Bond that behaved more like a Jason Bourne than a James Bond. Now, don't get me wrong, Quantum of Solace has some incredible moments in it and displays a talented filmmaker, but it had no business being called a James Bond film, it did the opposite of what Casino Royale did, which is why I was skeptical when I first heard that this new "Bond 23" was being made. Little did I know, they had everything under control.
Skyfall is directed by Sam Mendes (a director I am fond of and a good one at that, my first reassurance) and photographed by Roger Deakins (cinematographer for such films as: No Country for Old Men, Revolutionary Road, also directed by Mendes, and The Shawshank Redemption, my second reassurance). The film opens differently than many of the past Bond films, saving the down-the-barrel-shot for the end of the film, but much like the Bond of late, instead throws us into the action. It's good action and well crafted, and leads perfectly into the theme song (a Bond staple), a fantastic theme that harkens back to the older Bond films, performed by the ever wonderful Adele. This feeling of familiarity that I got with the tone of the theme would not be a one-time thing. All throughout this film is a return to the way things were, a return to the past, but all at the same time, a leap forward. This film takes Bond into the present and makes him, and the idea of what he does, relevant for today. Much of this film is about the old, or even antiquated, being entirely necessary and incredibly relevant, both in plot and in actuality. The characters make a return to the old, but so does the film. It returns to almost the same form and function the past films followed, and as a (near) lifelong Bond fan, I can honestly say, I was blown away. When the film ended I wanted to get up and yell "Now THAT'S a Bond film!" Because that's what it was, a pure Bond film that joined the ideas and (albeit formulaic) structure of the old films with the new ideas, pacing and style of the recent films. We have a Bond that is charming without being smarmy, dangerous without being driven purely by revenge, and funny but not ridiculous, and he is joined by a whole new cast of fresh faces that feel right at home in the roles played by many others throughout the years. This is the beginning of a new era of Bond, one that will hopefully follow the example set by Skyfall. I have heard they are already working towards another Bond film and if they have one shred of intelligence or common sense in their collective brains, they will pay close attention to this film and take notes diligently, because THIS film is a success, a wonderful success.
I don't say this lightly, but Skyfall may be the very best James Bond film I've ever seen, if not, it's definitely in contention for the top. If you're a fan (and even if you're not) do yourself a favor and see this film, in IMAX if you have the budget for it, because it is stellar.
Here's the trailer:
and if you're like me and couldn't wait to hear the theme, here it is: