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Skyfall review

I just saw the new James Bond, Skyfall last night, thought it was a great movie. So much so, that two days later on Friday I went to see it again; very much worth going to the theatre for on both occasions. I would like to share some of my thoughts and opinions regarding the much anticipated movie that celebrates 50 years of Bond, and I do not want to spoil it for anyone, so I will try not to give away any of the scenes and as little information as possible.

Unlike the other Bond flicks of late, this one was a little reminiscent of the 60s and 70s; a little “older” school. First, of all Daniel Craig was impeccably tailored. I would say that the last Bond to look so suave, move with unwrinkled finesse, and fight that well, in a suit, was Sean Connery. I have to admit that Tom Ford did an awesome job outfitting and fitting Mr. Bond. At first I was somewhat disappointed when I heard they were using Ford again, given Bond’s homeland proximity to savile row, best known for bespoke tailoring. But after seeing the movie, one realizes that the tailors at savile row have nothing on Ford. The clothes were a triad blend of elegant style, impeccable fit and fashionable functionality. After some of the fight scenes pulled off by Daniel Craig, most of us mortals would not look that good in spandex tracksuit, let alone pulling it off wearing a tuxedo or a fine suit. Believe me when I tell you, very few people wear a tuxedo with such precision and ease as Craig does; maybe members of the Rat Pack, but that is about it.

As traditional shavers we can all agree that the scene with Naomie Harris was amazing, and this on several levels, for several reasons. The fact that Naomie was doing the shaving was in itself a handsome spectacle; anyone so attractive could be mowing the lawn in oversized sweats with a baseball cap and still stop traffic. Her beauty coupled with her perfectly manicured elegant fingers holding the cutthroat straight razor, just makes her the ideal person to provide an intimate service, like a shave, amongst others. Finally, as she saves Bond in the movie, you hear the scraggly hissing symphony that comes together as the blade glides over the skin and instantly slices each individual hair. As traditional wet shavers you can understand the pleasure derived from hearing that sound as the blade passes over your skin and does it’s thing. The only disappointing element of the scene was that the makers of the movie never divulged the brand of shaving cream, brush and straight razor that were used? For a movie franchise so centered on the hip, cool promotion of luxury and brand name products, like Rolex, Aston Martin, Seiko, Omega, Dom Perignon, Smirnoff, etc., I believe they should have shown us the products that Bond used. Anyways, the fact that they showed this scene at all was a pleasant throwback to a time where things where better and simpler; to quote Naomie Harris, “Sometimes the old ways are the best”. For us purist shavers, I believe it could have been improved and ameliorated had they shown the brands used, after all is Bond not all about the finer things in life? Well then why not show the world? So much so that they should come out with a commemorative straight razor set bearing the Bond name and 007 logo.

Like the usual assortment of Bond flicks, the exotic locations were not lacking. I did note however, that unlike past Bond films, the majority of this one was centered in London and around various parts of England, without wanting to divulge too much. I found this to be odd given that in previous films Bond was the eternal jet-setter, crossing continents and countries, like most of us do streets. In this one, there were not that many exotic locations, but the exotic locations that there were, were more than exotic. Even though the movie was filmed in fewer places (as I believe) than others, the locations used were very exotic and downright sublime. The Grand Bazar, in Istanbul and the skyline of Macau, mysterious places of grandeur and wonderment. Analogously, exotic places cultivate exotic animals. Furthermore, as a little teaser and prelude of nastiness to come: unlike the reptilians of past films, the snakes and alligators, this film used Komodo Dragons and Scorpions. Again, this Bond had to contend not just with reptiles of a nasty nature, but the ones with the nastiest, slimiest and deadliest natures.

Let us discuss the Bond character. Although any Bond is a good Bond; I am a big fan of the franchise and I believe that all actors having played the role deserved it and did so valiantly. However, not since the Sean Connery days has an actor delved so deep into the Bond character psyche and embraced its development, to the extent of Daniel Craig. The integrity, intensity and rawness of the character where exemplary, especially the scene in the bar where he is drinking his Scotch as the Scorpion ominously looks on; you will understand after you see the film. Although Bond is an international spy and the world’s guardian angel, Daniel Craig brings him down to the most common human denominator. In other words, this immortal could be any one of us mortals, as we face life’s challenges. Craig has dismantled the Bond persona to its lowest common denominator and rebuilds him back up to immortality, one agonizing scene at a time, throughout the movie. Unlike Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan, who played the role in an effortlessly comical manner, Craig’s agonizing intensity is unparalleled, and it can be seen in all of his movements and sensed in all of his thoughts, as he struggles to become the man he has to be, in order to accomplish what he must. I believe this to be the Bond that Ian Fleming had in mind when creating the character and totally embodied by this latest installment. After all Bond is not a superhero, but rather a man that is supposed to act like he is one, and in this regard I believe Daniel Craig has been successful in capturing the essence of Bond; and a Bond who is closely connected with the reality on hand. My opinion is that along with Sean Connery, Daniel Craig has personified the Bond myth.

The villain, I suppose we could call him that for lack of a better word, because the name villain does definitely not do this one justice. Not since the Connery and Moore days have we seen such a diabolically epic villain. Amongst my favorites was Auric Goldfinger whose plans involved attacking Fort Knox or Karl Stromberg, with the webbed hands, who wanted to create a superior race of underwater dwellers. Along comes Javier Bardem in the villainous role of Raoul Silva, a former disgruntled agent who has it in for the British Secret Service. Bardem was such a superb villain, whom was prejudiced by not having been given adequate screen time to further develop the character; his presence in the film was most entertaining and second only to Craig’s. Keep in mind that the quintessential Bond Villain must be Bond’s equal, but just happens to play for the other side. Bond and his nemesis are like two sides of the same coin, an objective wonderfully achieved by Bardem.

Finally, the other amazing aspect of the movie was the car. Yes the car! This is not a spoiler here; it has been shown in the trailer and mentioned in the pre-opening hoopla; so it should come as no surprise that the 1964 Aston Martin, DB5, seen in “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball” was back in action. Well the moment that beast came out of the garage, everyone’s heart skipped a beat in that they had been transformed a lifetime away in a single scene. Especially the generation Xers who enjoyed the Sean Connery “Bond” of the 60s era. The car was fantastic and without divulging too much, it showed that after 50 years the muscle and gusto of the machine were still there, making it a force to be reckoned with.

Spoiler warning: However, the car unfortunately was destroyed by Silva; so devastating could have been the consequences of this action, that to quote Bardem: “I might never be allowed into London again because I am the guy who blew up James Bond’s Aston Martin”.

Well I think I have said enough and provided you with my insight and review of the movie. Overall, it is one of the better Bonds and I believe Daniel Craig will get better in the role. As the ending shows, Craig has developed into the Bond that people expect, and that the country needs, expect to see a newly refined and improved Bond in his next performance. He will only improve, as he settles into the character and develops his own identifying traits; and that is precisely where this Bond left us off, in anticipation of his next performance towards a much “Bondlier” standard.
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Great review. I'm going to see it this weekend. There were good ones and not so good ones (think Roger Moore, he just can't take a punch IMHO), but I'll never pass up a Bond film. Thanks for the review. Well written.
Im going to see this tonight...I wanted to read your review but I like to form my own opinions about a movie/dont want any spoilers before I see it. Ill be sure to read it later tonight. Looking forward to the movie.
Great movie. No stupid names, no plot to take over the world, no over-abbundance of gadgets... just a kick a** Bond film. 4 stars.
I liked the movie, but did anyone else find the whole ending kind of "home alone"-ish? Also the Bond is old and broken down thing was kinda odd considering they've done that storyline before and this is only the third movie since the reboot...
I liked the movie, but did anyone else find the whole ending kind of "home alone"-ish? Also the Bond is old and broken down thing was kinda odd considering they've done that storyline before and this is only the third movie since the reboot...

I was thinking "home alone" too and I am with ya with the cheesy old, broken down Bond.

@notary, great review.

Watched a week ago with with SWMBO. I am probably the only one who didn't like the movie. I found it predictable, and extremely boring. It did have great sound effects so that kept me awake. :a49:
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Excellent movie, and excellent review! I love the character exploration that Daniel Craig goes through with Bond. It was only possible because of the revamp, but I'm glad they did it. Pierce Brosnan turned the character into a comic strip. Craig brings a lot of the darkness to the character that was portrayed in the books and by Connery. They were touching on this with Timothy Dalton during his films, but I think it was diluted by the graphic violence in the film coupled by the forgettable plots. Overall, excellent movie. 3 great ones in a row, so I think it is safe to say that Bond is officially back!
I liked the movie. Still liked Casino Royale a little better but the cinematography and lighting in this movie was excellent.
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