This year I decided to take up the gargantuan task of watching all 22 James Bond films before seeing Skyfall. I don't call myself an expert on all things Bond since I haven't necessarily grown up on them. The first Bond film I ever saw in a theater was Die Another Day (2002). You can pretty much figure why James Bond would be of little interest to me. But I took Bond seriously when Casino Royale (2006) took me by surprise. I loved it so much I saw it 3 and a half times in the theater (there is always a story behind things like these).
Now having seen all of them, revisiting some of them, watching those I had never seen before, you would think I would give you an intensive analysis of Skyfall. Well, not really. I don't think one must ever analyze a Bond film. They are about a spy with a license to kill who sleeps with women while he globetrots. You want to take that seriously? Sure go ahead. I'll just stick to being entertained.
That being said, Daniel Craig's version of James Bond is indeed very serious. He has little humor. The â€œfunâ€ has been stripped off and they have become grander and more action-packed than being stylish adventures. Casino Royale gave us Bond's origin story the best way possible. Quantum of Solace wasn't a bad movie but it just wasn't a good Bond movie and seemed dull in comparison to its knockout predecessor.
Naturally, the 23rd Bond film I saw was Skyfall. Skyfall goes back to basics. By basics I don't mean just making a good Bond film again but making Bond, Bond again. The 60s Bond which is just the way I take that martini. There are several references to the old way being the best way. Apart from literally bringing back the vintage Aston Martin or the more obviously fantastic ending which would bring a smile to each Bond fan's face, I'm pleased to announce: Q, M and Moneypenny all are in attendance. (I have avoided spoilers here, visible only to those who have seen the film). Another old school ornament is Adele's exemplary theme song, which is worn over an elegant title sequence.
The credit of creating an impeccable entry into this prolific tunnel (You *have* to throw in at least one sexual innuendo when you write about a Bond film) should be given to the handsomely talented cast and crew. From Sam Mendes to Roger Deakins to Javier Bardem to Judi Dench to Ralph Fiennes who put on their best boots while Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris hold the beacon of â€œbrave new worldâ€. The result is a great movie which is exquisitely entertaining. It gives you a taste of Goldfinger by following the successful Bond film template. It gives you a great villain in Silva. Bardem who won an Oscar for his diabolical turn in No Country For Old Men never feels repetitive in his villainous garb. (In fact I could see more of Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Walken there than him aping himself). It gives you action set pieces, which are nothing short of spectacular. It even gives you solid conversations and relationships. You may think I'm describing it as being completely old-fashioned bereft of novelty but that's not the case. This is an old dog with new tricks. The questions that loom are pertinent. Is espionage still relevant? Why does the MI6 exist? Who is Bond? I've always loved those little hints at his childhood and I couldn't be happier to see this film scratching that surface a bit more. It also adds considerable weight to M and Bond's relationship.
For any balanced cinephile, this series is more than just action and entertainment. It isn't just most successful franchise ever, it birthed the concept of reboots, before we even called them that. Not to mention the amount of filmmakers it has influenced. Tarantino, Peter Jackson, mainly Christopher Nolan whose Dark Knight Trilogy/ Inception owe a lot to On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and A View to a Kill (1985). Spielberg and Lucas created their own version of the archetypal movie hero and called it Indiana Jones. In turn, Skyfall wants to be The Dark Knight of this series so badly that it even takes several elements from it. (Villain willingly gets caught)
The series has completed 50 years and it couldn't get a better commemoration. While it has many exotic locations, the film returns to Scotland and is more British than any of its recent companions. The film also ends with the â€œJames Bond will returnâ€ title card. Skyfall is more than just a Bond film. It is for those who've never seen one; it's for those who have seen many. It is basically one of the very best Bond films ever.
Side-note: My 10 favorite Bond films are (in chronological order): From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Live and Let Die (1973), The Living Daylights (1987), Licence to Kill (1989), GoldenEye (1995), Casino Royale (2006) and Skyfall (2012).view less