Nothing Like a Good Villain
Believe it or not, the James Bond franchise has endured 50 years, continually giving fans what they enjoy about this franchise -- a heroic character who pulls off the impossible as well as intriguing plots, ideal locations, mesmerizing gadgets, sexiness, evil villains, and fantastic action with car chases and stunts often unmatched in other films.
Although Skyfall, the latest Bond film, is getting good buzz for most of the reasons mentioned above, many viewers are also commenting about certain elements that fail to make this 007 outing exceptional. For example, the opening scene with Bond (Daniel Craig) racing a motorcycle across rooftops and through Istanbul’s traffic congestion seems like something we’ve seen before.
Different this time, however, is that Bond doesn’t come out of this dangerous situation unscathed. In fact, he suffers physical injures that not only set him back but also raise the question “is he too old to have the assignment of keeping the world safe?”
In addition to Bond’s setback, some of MI6’s agents have been exposed, the agency is attacked, and even M sustains slight injury. She receives a lashing from Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, that forces her to prove she’s not seen better days as well. As she and Bond talk over their situations, M comments that maybe she and Bond should “think on our sins.”
While M’s statement is certainly open for interpretation, it’s also much of this film’s focus. And really, how many Bond fans want to watch a movie questioning if their main franchise characters can still do their jobs? Even the scenes with sexy women, a staple in Bond films, comes off rather dull by comparison. It’s almost as if we can hear Bond saying, “You want me to be sexy and super-hero at the same time?”
What director Sam Mendes did right here involves casting Javier Bardem as the villain Silva. He’s a former agent with a score to settle with M, but of course that means Bond will automatically be involved. Bardem -- who should see an Oscar nomination for this role -- described his character as “An angel of death -- a very clean-shaven person who happens to be rotten on the inside. He has a very personal objective -- he’s not trying to destroy the world. He’s on a straight line to that objective: he is a man seeking revenge. It’s about being focused on the one person he wants to eliminate.”
In addition to all the great chases (involving trains, cars and cycles) amazingly shot by the film and camera crew, this is where the film picks up and moves back into that Bond territory we all love. Bond fans new and old will find their payoff in the second half of Skyfall. Silva’s hideout looks very intriguing, and the ultimate end of the film will keep most viewers on the edge of their seats.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated “PG-13” for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.)
Review also posted at www.reviewexpress.com.