REVIEW: Skyfall

"Not the best, but a still a damn good time."

In a failed attempt to recover a hard drive containing the names of fellow agents, Bond is shot and presumed dead.  In his absence, M and the entire MI6 are targeted as M's past comes back to haunt her.  A burned out Bond must overcome self doubt and demons from his own past if he hopes to make things right.
There's no question that Daniel Craig has reinvigorated the Bond franchise and I'd even go a step further by adding that he's raised the bar far beyond where I thought this series could go.  Obviously it's not all him, he's had some great writers, directors and fellow cast members to help this process along, but all in all he's one hell of a Bond.  Some are praising this installment as the best yet and thought I'll agree it's a great film, the best of the franchise?  Probably not.  The best Craig Bond film?  No dice there either.  I'm still very partial to CASINO ROYALE, but make no mistake SKYFALL still delivers the goods.

I find it interesting that no one's picked up on the fact that this storyline is (in some ways) similar to DIE ANOTHER DAY.  Now before you take my head off, I did say in some ways.  DIE ANOTHER DAY was campy as hell, but it had a dark edge with Bond being presumably killed off in the beginning, just like he is in SKYFALL.  The resurrection, if you will, may not come across in the same fashion, but similarities are there.  Eve/Jinx are both hot African American chicks who help him along the way, and the two villains even have their similarities.  That said, there's no ice castle in this one (it was pretty badass despite being literally impossible) and SKYFALL is the better film, but as far as originality goes I can't give it all out praise, even though it was a good story.

My only real complaint is that Javier Bardem's Silva wasn't in the film all that long.  He was a fantastic villain, played to perfection by an amazing actor, yet we barely see him and then he's gone--I also would have loved a better hand to hand combat fight in the closing moments of their final battle.  What we see of Silva is spectacular (that pistol/scotch scene was awesome and who else in history can say they threw a train at someone), I just can't help but feel he got cheated with limited screen time.  We did see more Judi Dench this time around which is always a good thing--she does come off rather cold and maniacal--  and I enjoyed the new Q as well as Ralph Fiennes being added to the team.  The cast was magnificent and Sam Mendes did a terrific job behind the lens.

SKYFALL is bond at his worst by way of feeling old, defeated and obsolete at times (I loved how he failed his field test and they put him through anyway), but his character is still as rich as ever and what we get is essentially him giving his all in his most desperate hour.  Make no mistake this is entertainment at its best for the Bond franchise so there's no complaints there.  I'm anxious as hell for the next installment, but for God sake, make a better theme song next time before the one in this movie was atrocious.  The writing was excellent, the scenery jumping impressive and I liked the clever use of the title--long time Bond fans might have picked up on what Skyfall was, but I guess I'm not hardcore enough because I had no idea.  It's a drag hearing Craig in interviews with a "ho hum" impression of the Bond character, but here's hoping there's more greatness to come from him and this franchise.  

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