Let’s Get Reel: Skyfall and the Resurrection of 007
By Matt Patton
It’s been nearly four whole years since we’ve last witnessed Daniel Craig in action as the quintessential super-spy/ladies’ man known as James Bond. Four years is a damn long time. Luckily for us, however, Bond has now returned to the silver screen; but this time around it feels like a whole new beast. “Beast” is actually a pretty accurate word to describe the film, now that I think about it: Skyfall grabs hold of you for 143 odd-minutes and refuses to let go.
The film jolts open with a twelve-minute chase sequence spanning buildings, roads, rooftops, and railways. The camerawork is smooth here. So smooth, in fact, that by the time you get to Adele’s wonderful, croon-y oon-y voice at the opening credit sequence; you’re going to forget that you’re in a movie theater. From there, the plot navigates a canyon of globe-spanning twists and turns and ends up in a place you probably won’t expect.
I feel like a review of this film would be completely amiss if it didn’t mention the breathtaking cinematography by Roger Deakins. There are some scenes, especially those that take place is Shanghai, which really take it to another level (I’m sure there were moments during the film where I was just staring slack-jawed at the screen). The presentation of Skyfall in IMAX serves only to further amplify the qualities of the picture.
As with any sequel, there are some new additions this go-around. Ben Whishaw takes the screen as gadget guy, Q (formerly played by John Cleese, way back in the Pierce Brosnan days). Ralph Fiennes is introduced as a snarky and sassy (yet lovable) government official with oversight of MI6. Newcomer Naomie Harris is another MI6 field agent working with Bond. Of course, no 007 film would be complete without a menacing asshat. In this case, I really have to hand it to Javier Bardem. He may have a knack for playing these bad-guy types (see: No Country For Old Men), but his performance totally sold the villain role. Oh, and before I forget, Berenice Marlohe plays the obligatory Bond girl.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the motion picture James Bond franchise, and as such, Skyfall does include various nods (big and small) to past Bond films. Without saying too much, I can comfortably say that loyal fans of the series will be pleased. Ultimately, though, I think the most advantageous facet of this movie is how excellently it blends both the old and the new to form something completely different and unique. It takes all the best things from each era of Bond, and while it at times feels almost like an homage, it still has its own identity.
Some may say that it’s too early to call this film the “best Bond movie ever”. That’s up for debate. I do think that this is a film that defines Daniel Craig as his version of 007. I’d compare it to the likes of Goldfinger for Connery’s interpretation of the character, or Live and Let Die for Roger Moore’s. Years down the line, I’m willing to bet that Skyfall will be Daniel Craig’s Goldfinger. -Matt Patton
Rating: 9 out of 10
Let’s Get Reel is a brand new film column in our brand new WPTS blog! Tune in weekly for some movie reviews and discussion by WPTS DJ Matt Patton. If you’d rather listen to Matt instead of reading him, you can tune in to 92.1 WPTS or listen online on Saturday nights from 11pm-1am for The Night Show.