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Skyfall Review

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Now on it’s 23rd movie and 50 years later, James Bond is hitting the big screens once more. Daniel Craig has been at the forefront of 007 for the last two movies, namely Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Many have seen the character and the franchise evolve into something far more gritty, realistic and modern. That is…until now.

This time round, Bond’s loyalty is tested to M (Judi Dench) as her past comes back to haunt her, which sees 007 tracking down another bad guy (Javier Bardem) no matter what the cost. The opening of Skyfall is absolutely spectacular. A jaw dropping amount of set pieces unfold on screen one after the other, climaxing with a JCB and a train. And all in the opening 15 minutes. It’s possibly one of the best Bond openings ever. At this point, audiences do feel like they’re in for a treat.

Daniel Craig, is as always, quite fantastic. As far as this reviewer is concerned, he simply is the best James Bond in history. And while his intensity level is toned down a bit, he is still a delight to watch. The same can be said for Judi Dench, who pulls of her greatest performance as M to date and gives us a different side to the hard nosed bitch we’re quite accustomed to. Javier Bardem, as the world knows can play the ultimate bad guy. And while his blonde locks give a certain insane look to him, he is sadly under developed, and while he shines brilliantly in places, you can’t help but feel he would have benefited from more screen time.

Visually, Skyfall is stunning and is a huge testament to the talent that is Roger Deakins. The cinematography at times is really quite jaw dropping and will certainly warrant a second viewing. The set pieces are again spectacular, in particular the scene with the JCB. Granted, another one or two big action pieces wouldn’t have gone a miss. That said, what is there is brilliant.

It’s around the second quarter of Skyfall that things start to unravel. It starts to meander and slow right down to a snails pace and while it’s good to see some Bond and M backstory, it comes across as boring and drawn out. The problems don’t stop there. As the 143 minute running time trundles along, Sam Mendes does a bit of a backward step. Out goes the gritty Bond we’ve come to love over the last few years and its director reverts back to a style that hasn’t been seen since Connery and Moore were brandishing their licence to kill. While the old school Bond fans will cherish and idolise whats on screen, everybody else will do the exact opposite. Since Craig has taken over as the worlds favourite secret agent, why change what audiences have grown to love?  While Sam Medes may be paying homage to whats gone before him, it’s certainly over done and is tragically the movies downfall.

Fortunately, the last quarter of the movie picks up, and while still having a bit of an old school vibe, delivers some great dollops of intensity, action and real edge of your seat stuff. Skyfall is by no means a bad movie, but it’s slow and meandering middle coupled with its more classic old school Bond, means this is a movie that will split audiences right down the middle. There is a constant dialogue and theme of “Sometimes the old ways are best” running throughout Skyfall, and while that may well be true in some cases, for this 007 outing, the old ways are certainly not best. More stirred than shaken!

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The Movie Bit: Skyfall Review
Skyfall Review
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