James Bond, we all know the name, Ian Fleming’s well-loved character has entertained us in many forms for more than half a century and now, in coordination with the 50th anniversary of the first film, comes Skyfall. After a failed mission to retrieve a hardrive containing the identity of all spys embedded in terrorist organisations across the globe results in the presumed death of Bond, M is faced with the consequences of the loss of the harddrive. An attack on MI6 brings rise to a terror no one seems able to stop and it is up to Bond to try and destroy it, even if his loyalty to M will be tested along the way. Daniel Craig and Judi Dench returned to their roles and were joined by Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomi Harris and Berenice Marlowe to name a few.
What I liked most about the film was the focus on M as well as Bond’s past. This character development was interesting to see in comparison to previous Bonds, which normally just focused on Bond’s mission to stop the bad guy, because it gave the story an edge and made it more emotional. What also struck me was the brilliance of the assembled cast. Judi Dench’s performance as M was magnificent and Daniel Craig also acted well as a broken but determined Bond. Whilst Javier Bardem’s take on Silva, the villain of the film, was captivating to say the least, Maggie even went so far as to say he overpowered the rest of the cast. Another new character I was especially excited to see was Q, played by one of my favourite actors: Ben Whishaw. Whishaw proved himself in the role, bringing charm and wit to the character as well as intelligence. Ralp Fiennes take on Mallory and Rory Kinnear’s as MI6 agent … also worked very well in supporting the rest of the cast. Where I saw a slight deviation was with the Bond Girls: Naomi Harris and Berenice Marlowe. Although these two were good in their roles I felt that Marlowe’s character was merely there for sex appeal and a brief introduction to Silva whilst Harris’s character did not feel fully developed. However, as she is an integral character in the books, I hope to see more of her in the next two films.
Another thing I felt enhanced the film’s plot was the fact that Bardem’s character had some reason to his madness and I could sympathise with him when he revealed his back story. This, in itself, is thanks to the script which was co-written by John Logan (writer of Gladiator and The Last Samurai), Robert Wade (Casino Royale, Johnny English) and Neal Purvis (Casino Royale, Johnny English). The script was filled with wit and comedy, more so than in other Bond’s I have seen, and the use of a damaged Bond really helped to give the film an edge as it made Bond seem more human. I also really enjoyed seeing the throwbacks to old Bonds from the classic Aston Martin to quotes. This leads onto director Sam Mendes who brought the story to life and whose visuals and direction of Skyfall were entertaining, provocative and touching.
Finally, I feel that the soundtrack of the film deserves recognition. The score, composed by Thomas Newman (Wall-E, The Shawshank Redemption), eloquently supported the cast and plot. It was beautifully executed and moved me unexpectedly. Finally, of course, we should discuss the Bond theme chosen for Skyfall. The song, sung by Adele, gave the film a classic Bond feel to it and radically improved my expectations after the theme from Quantum of Solace. All in all I found this was a well thought-out film, filled with great humour and action as well as a more emotional take on Bond and M. The Direction and Score were evocative and ensured that the 50th Anniversary of Bond could be celebrated in style.
Skyfall is showing in cinemas nationwide.
Written by Roxy Simons.