Evil Movie Reviews: Skyfall
Hello again Evil Geeks! After a few stops and starts due to MGM’s financial woes, everyone’s favorite 00 agent is finally returning to theaters with Skyfall just in time for the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No. This is 007’s first outing since 2008’s Quantum of Solace, which, lets face it, wasn’t the best Bond film.
Skyfall starts out in signature Bond style with an incredible action set piece which begins with 007 chasing an assassin named Patrice through the streets of a Turkish city and ends quite abruptly during a fight on top of a moving train. Bond is chasing Patrice with the help of a rookie agent named Eve, because Patrice is in possession of a list of undercover MI6 agents. If the list falls into the wrong hands, then all of MI6’s agents in the field would have their lives jeopardized. Bond fails to obtain the list, which kicks off the events of Skyfall. Several months after the opening scene, M receives a mysterious message advising her to remember her past sins, just as MI6 Headquarters is attacked, resulting in the loss of lives. Because of the attack, the powers that be in the British Government begin to lose faith in M’s ability to protect England and her leadership of MI6 is challenged. It’s up to a rusty, boozy, and out of shape Bond to figure out who is behind the attacks, prevent the release of the identities of the MI6 agents, then ultimately stop the mastermind behind the attack on MI6 from carrying out any more nefarious schemes. We’re also finally introduced to Q in this installment of the series, which is a welcome addition for any Bond fan. The new Q quickly demonstrates that he has no plans on being a long-suffering sidekick to Bond, sort of like Desmond Llewelyn was in the older Bond films. He lets James know that for all the damage Bond can do with a gun, he can top that 10 times over with a single computer at his disposal. In fact, he seems a little hostile towards Bond and flat-out tells him that the only reason Q needs him around is “because sometimes someone needs to pull a trigger.”
The villain of the film, who has a preference for using computers to commit his crimes and goes by the name Mr. Silver, is played to maximum creepiness by Javier Bardem. I don’t mean creepy in a scary intimidating way, I mean creepy in the guy hanging out in the locker room watching everyone get dressed for just a little bit too long kind of way. Oddly enough though, Bardem’s portrayal works as he manages to prove himself to be quite a serious threat. Silver is someone who was burned figuratively and most horrifyingly, literally, by M a long time ago and has now come back seeking revenge. He’s been meticulously plotting his revenge for years, so at all times he is several steps ahead of MI6 in their response to his attacks. His first meeting with a handcuffed James Bond is really disturbing because for a significant portion of the conversation Silver is probing Bond with his hands and kind of hitting on him in a very coy manner. Overall though, Bardem does a great job of being the big bad of this story. I think in the hands of another actor the portrayal would have probably come off as campy, but Bardem makes Silver a formidable opponent for 007.
What did I think of it? I’d been waiting in anticipation for this film for a long while. I’m a huge James Bond fan (this Evil Geek would probably put Goldfinger in his top 5 favorite movies of all time), so I’d say this would probably be the third most anticipated film of the year for me behind The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, therefore I had relatively high expectations. I am very happy to report that I was not let down in any way by Skyfall. It really is the perfect film for the franchises’ 50th anniversary because it pays so many tributes to the old school Bond movies. The classic Aston Martin from Goldfinger gets significant screen time and in general the movie plays like an older Bond movie. Action scenes aren’t overused and the villain of the film has an outlandish, big personality, but his ultimate goal isn’t some overly complicated scheme for world domination, he just wants revenge. An overall theme of the movie is the old ways versus the new ways (that theme isn’t subtly slipped into the plot either, several characters throughout the film say the phrase “sometimes the old ways are the best.”). The government is questioning whether there is still any use for M and her “outdated” Cold War era methods, there is the conflict between Bond and Q with 007 representing the old ways and Q representing the new way of doing business for MI6. Even the contrast between Bond and Silver is all about the old and the new. Silver represents M’s past and in this instance Bond is the one representing the present and the future. M’s history plays heavily into the plot of Skyfall, but in the end, it is Bond who must first reconnect with his past, then sacrifice what is left of it in order to ensure that he, M, and MI6 have a future. For a Bond fan of my caliber, the very ending of the movie is the perfect way to close out the story (and probably Daniel Craig’s residence as 007). I don’t want to spoil it, so all I will say is that it is the absolute perfect blend of the old and the new.
Skyfall definitely earns the Evil Geeks “Walrus of Approval” because a Seal isn’t large enough to represent how much I liked this movie. I didn’t get the opportunity to see it in IMAX, but I’m sure the exotic locales (like the London Sewers) and the lavish scenery would have looked amazing on the big screen. If you’re a lover of all things Bond, then head to the theaters to check out this love letter to the fans or if your just in the mood for some action ans suspense, then I’d recommend the same. Check back soon for more Evil Movie Reviews!