Bond lets the Skyfall

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Poster for Skyfall

By Ethan Walshe

James Bond returned this weekend with the 23rd installment of the storied franchise, Skyfall. This film is truly a Bond flick for the 21st century, where cyber-warfare and revenge have replaced world domination as the aims of the Bond villain.

In Skyfall, Bond is shot on a mission in Turkey, goes missing and is presumed dead. However, then there is an attack on MI6 headquarters, he comes out of his secluded hiding to help save M, the head of the secret agency, from an ex-agent who is hellbent on revenge and murder.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as the dashing British secret agent, following 2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace. Dame Judi Dench also returns as M, the head of MI6 since 1995’s GoldenEye, starring Pierce Brosnan as Bond.

Both actors are spectacular in their own regard. Dench has been a brilliant actress in all of her work and has given the character M a new dimension in this film. She is Bond’s protector, a guide for him.

Craig has also brought new flavor the character of James Bond. Skyfall wraps up what can be viewed as the “prequels” to the traditional Bond storyline, so Craig has offered the background to the seedier, darker side of the Bond character throughout the past three films and this one is no exception.

Spanish actor Javier Barden appears as Silva, an ex-agent under M who felt betrayed by her and has come back to kill her. Barden is decidedly creepy, with hair that appears unnatural and adds to his air of madness. As I said before, he is hellbent on revenge and chaos, rather than world domination, which was the goal of Bond villains in the 20th century. He adds to the propulsion of Bond into the 21st century.

Without giving away too many details, Skyfall helps the viewer to further understand the past of the character that is James Bond, as the past two films strove to do as well. Bond’s past is dark and this film aims to show the viewer that.

Skyfall is unlike the Bond movies of yesteryear. Gone are the misogynist one-liners, ridiculous gadgets, and double-entendres that were rampant throughout both the films themselves and the names of Bond Girls. Bond has taken a move serious turn towards the standard action flick.

Speaking of Bond Girls, it’s almost as though there isn’t one in Skyfall. While it is true that Naomie Harris plays Eve, another MI6 agent, she is not present throughout the majority of the film, as Bond Girls traditionally are. In fact, it could almost be argued that M is Skyfall‘s Bond Girl, but in a very different way than the viewer is used to.

This is indicative of the new direction Bond is taking. Daniel Craig has taken the role and made it darker, more serious and decisively more action oriented.

For a Bond purist such as myself – I’ve seen every movie since 1962 – this is the problem. I loved the old movies for how ridiculous they were and the more serious tone that Skyfall took was slightly off-putting for me. I miss the old ways, where Bond kicked ass, took names, got the girl and the bad guy lost. Without spoiling the ending, this is not the case for Skyfall.

In short, Skyfall was different for a Bond film. It will be enjoyed by both new and old fans of the series, though I suspect more by newer fans. Old fans will appreciate the references to old movies, Bond attitude and the revival of the 1960’s Aston Martin. The most traditionally “Bond” thing about Skyfall was Adele’s rendition of the self-titled opening song, which was reminiscent of Bond songs of old.

Overall 3.5/5 stars.