By Scott Mitchell
“Skyfall,” directed by Sam Mendes, the 23rd movie of the James Bond franchise, bombarded its way into U.S. theaters Nov. 9. After setting the record for biggest opening in 2012, 007’s newest foray also set the record for the biggest James Bond film opening in the U.S., grossing more than $87 million, according to BBC News.
The success “Skyfall” has found is no surprise. The way the film effortlessly blends style, rampant action, emotional depth and impactful cinematography sets it apart from its predecessors.
Daniel Craig returns in peak form for his third outing as Bond. He maintains the cold and detached Bond he has depicted in previous films, while adding some much-needed emotional depth to the character. For the first time, viewers see how Bond reacts when faced with death, and it comes across as a genuine experience.
Javier Bardem, as the cyber-terrorist and sociopath Silva, brings much-needed depth to the maniacal foil of Craig’s Bond. The amount of discomfort Bardem brings to the screen is expertly reflected in Craig’s face. Never once does the audience doubt that this man is completely insane and very dangerous.
The advancement in character depth was a welcome addition to the franchise, but the most important part of any Bond film remains the action — and “Skyfall” delivers.
From start to finish, the action is expertly paced and placed in a way that prevents any lull in the storyline. From a breakneck train chase to a very stylish one-on-one fistfight, the action sequences never seem repetitive.
These action scenes are visually enhanced through expert cinematography. And don’t fret; the explosions are handed out in droves.
“Skyfall” truly separates itself from its predecessors as far as cohesiveness. The story may not be complicated or poignant, but it is just what the story of any Bond film needs to be: quickly paced, jam-packed full of action, and complete with witty and powerful character interaction.
Some scenes appeared to be throw-away scenes, serving no true purpose to story, although it is now known that Bond can drink a shot with a scorpion on his hand.
Mendes has refined the spy-hard genre to a formula, and it pays off. The film is enjoyable throughout. It is smart and action-intense. This is all that could be hoped for from a Bond film.