Daniel Craig as Bond

Daniel Craig as Bond

In case you hadn’t noticed the James Bond series is 50 years old this year so naturally, the films producers have had quite a bit of pressure on them to deliver the goods.

Not only was Bond’s latest outing the rather woefully received Quantum of Solace, the last time we had a Bond anniversary film we all had to put up with invisible cars, forgettable villains and Madonna. If Quantum of Solace was bad, then Die Another Day was balls in your face insulting.

Throwing everything but the kitchen sink is not always a good thing and if there is one thing Skyfall proves, it’s that producers Barbarra Brocolli and Michael G. Wilson have not only learned that rushing a film out like Quantum of Solace is a bad move, but it’s also wise to invest in some well respected, proven talent when it comes to an event movie like this and to not pander to the fans like the Bond crew did in Dire Another Day (invisible cars? Please).

With a solid script from Bond regulars Robert Wade, Neal Purvis and newcomer to the series, the award winning John Logan, Skyfall is possibly the most personal film about 007 yet.

Picking up some years after Quantum of Solace and leaving behind the ongoing arc of those films, Skyfall starts with Bond chasing after a mercenary in Turkey who has stolen an MI6 harddrive featuring details on almost all the undercover NATO agents in terrorist organisations. Bond is shot and the failure of the mission has repercussions that set the rest of the film in place.

Jarvier Bardem as Raoul Silva

Jarvier Bardem as Raoul Silva

Focusing very much on the relationship between Bond, M and the main villain of the piece, Raoul Silva (played superbly by Jarvier Bardem). A character that provides a darker reflection of what 007 could become, whom not only is the probably the most memorable Bond villain for a generation but also has certain hints of Scaramanga and Alec Trevelyan.

The rest of the supporting cast are also deserve top marks. Ralph Fiennes makes his James Bond debut as the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Gareth Mallory. Naomie Harris plays the likeable MI6 field agent Eve.

Bérénice Lim Marlohe plays the glamorous and enigmatic Sévérine and Albert Finney turns up as a character that plays an important part to Bond’s life (I’m seriously of the opinion that any film out there can be improved 100% with an appearance from Albert Finney)

And after a hiatus, Q finally makes a reappearance to the series, played rather excellently by Ben Whishaw. In fact his take on the character is in complete contrast to the established version played by Desmond Llewelyn and then John Cleese. Instead of an old man lecturing Bond, we now have a young science geek that outwits Bond by claiming to be able to do more damage with a laptop while still dressed in his pyjamas. It’s a change for the better really.

Bérénice Marlohe as Severine

Bérénice Marlohe as Severine

And this is the reason why Bond has endured for 50 years, change.  Every time the Bond template has begun to get a bit stale, the format is given a slight rejig.

Visually, Bond has not looked this good since the 1960’s and cinematographer Roger Deakin really is to be commended for what is an outstandingly, beautiful looking film.

This is no doubt helped by the locations we get to see – the greys of London, the neon lights of Shanghai, a derelict ghost island and the moors of Scotland. It’s a real variety of settings that keeps the proceedings fresh.

Another thing that deserves a mention is Thomas Newman’s score. While David Arnold’s presence is missed, Newman’s take on Skyfall brings a new atmosphere that we’ve not heard in a Bond film before and his somewhat unconventional work here will in the future set the music of Skyfall apart in the same way the likes of The Spy Who Loved Me and Goldeneye stand out.

All the elements come into place nicely here and it’s all under the watchful eye of Sam Mendes’ direction – the man really is to be commended.

Skyfall is not only good, it is really, really good and superbly played by all those involved. If there is any justice in the world, the next Bond film will continue with this regained momentum.

More of the same please, much more.

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.