Review: Skyfall

Daniel Craig’s James Bond and Sean Connery’s Aston Martin in Skyfall.

Bond without the Bond Girl, Cool Gadgets and Some Other Essentials

Rating: ***

Skyfall is an action film infused with dark elements that we’ve tirelessly seen in Christopher Nolan’s creations. Skyfall is also an homage to Sean Connery’s Bond films. I wrote in my review of Casino Royale that Daniel Craig physically resembles Connery. Both are lean fighting machines. However, Craig is more hardcore and in Skyfall, he has a sculpted torso, which none of the earlier Bonds possessed.

Knowing Sam Mendes, I expected Skyfall to be a dialogue-oriented film, and it plays along with dialogues coming from every end. The sad part is that Skyfall goes nowhere close to a Bond film. Countless Bond elements go missing and if you plan on seeing them later, you’ll be in for a wee bit of disappointment. This includes:

– The infamous Bond Girl

– Bond’s double entendre

– The cool gadgets from Q branch

– Q’s sense of humor – Ben Whishaw is nowhere close to the legendary Desmond Llewellyn or John Cleese

– The cool new car – Of course you get to see a cool old car

– The gun barrel sequence which is absent at the beginning of every Daniel Craig film

– The soon-to-die seductress who in this film fails to seduce (bad job Berenice Marlohe)

– “Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred” – What’s an homage without this line!

I was among the hundreds to cheer when the classic Sean Connery Aston Martin made its presence. That scene defined Bond’s love for his cars. There’s however a certain weakness in the screenplay, especially in the film’s third act. The film moves from one place to another, showing characters reveal their new identities with a lack of vigor. Sadly, there’s no better way to show the transition that Skyfall sets to its successors.

Javier Bardem’s antagonist is a mixture of Bane and Joker. The actor does his job, but you’ll be reminded of Batman’s two torturous antagonists now and then. And why are we portraying a hint of bisexuality in a James Bond film? Bond is a legendary chick magnet. Don’t ruin him for today’s youngsters. A similar thing happened in the comic book world and now, Green Lantern is gay (bad news Ryan Reynolds).

Naomie Harris portrays a field agent who we initially think will be the Bond Girl, but, the epilogue shows us who she really is. Ralph Fiennes plays Gareth Mallory, a man high up in the Intelligence and Security Committee, who along with Harris will fill in for another infamous  character in the Bond universe.

If you thought Bond was young and suave, you’ll be shocked to see him greying. Skyfall pretends to be the last Bond film much like every other film, where he has to overcome the antagonist’s large army. But, Bond has become an invincible Charles Bronson character and he never fails to deliver. For Craig, Casino Royale was his defining film. Quantum of Solace was a power-packed action film, but failed to meet the expectations of a Bond film. Skyfall lies somewhere between these two films.

Skyfall creates a new platform for Bond 24, which I hope should release in 2014-15. I can’t wait 4 more years for the next Bond film.

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