Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bond...a better Bond?

    Bond is back. Bankruptcy threats left the franchise in limbo since the last outing a few years back, but the latest adventure of Ian Fleming's Super Spy comes back strong.  In the past I have been very critical of the direction of the franchise. I was a fan of Casino Royale, but I didn't feel that Daniel Craig was capturing the essence of the character. I was irritated at the blatant product placement. Bond drinking a Heineken. Bond driving a Ford! I just didn't think Craig was smooth enough in his first two outings. I was ready to see the Bond we all loved.

   Skyfall opens with an older Bond on the job. He and a female agent are tracking a list of the identities of undercover agents that had fallen into the wrong hands. Sounds very Mission Impossible, but I let it slide. Great visuals and an exciting train chase lead to MI-6 failing to complete the mission and an injured Bond going off the grid. Bond returns to find the British Government under attack from the inside. M, played again by Judi Dench is being threatened and the list is still in the open.
 Bond is introduced to a new younger Q and we are off. The adventure stretches from Shanghai to Scotland. We meet new girls, face down a new villain, and learn about Bond's past. Can Bond save the world again? Will some of our favorite characters survive? What is Skyfall?

  The best thing about Bond has always been charismatic villains. Skyfall more than delivers with Javier Bardem as Silva. The rogue MI-6 agent hell bent on revenge. The hair is strange, the mannerisms are quirky, and is brilliant whenever he's on screen. He borders between, playful, like able, and pure psychotic.

  It wouldn't be Bond without the Bond girls. There will always be a lot to live up to. I am still partial to Eva Green and Halle Berry, but Naome Harris and Berenice Marlohe hold their own. The latter being incredibly seductive. Naome turns out to be a beloved Bond character, but I will let you see for yourself who it ends up being.  Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney have great minor rolls and Judi Dench is still the perfect M.

 One of the great things about Bond is the gadgets. Bringing back the classic Aston Martin is so much fun and awesome to see on screen again. This time out the gadgets are simple, but still fun. I think why I liked Skyfall so much was Bond. We get a peek into his past and we see Daniel Craig finally start to be Bond. The martini is there and we finally see him becoming smooth. I think the best quality of Bond was the way he defines smooth. It took three films, but we finally see it.

  Skyfall is a bit long, but the fun more than makes up for it. A good story. A great villain. This movie feels like an origin story in some places, but it definitely leaves you wanting more. It might be the best Bond in quite some time. Skyfall leaves Fleming's British Super Spy staring down a few more years of a very successful franchise.


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