Skyfall Blu-ray Review

Getting shot in the back seems like it’d hurt, a lot.

But the pain of knowing someone you trusted pulled the trigger sounds far worse.

It’s been a few years since everyone’s favourite secret agent was jumping around from one exotic location to another exotic girl’s bed on the big screen, and it looks as though time has been less than kind to 007.

Chasing down some heavily armed ne’er-do-well over land and then on a train top courtesy of a JCB digger thing, other brands are available, it looks as though Bond, yes that James Bond, is about to get his man when he feels that familiar pinch of steel piercing flesh.

Downed by some less than friendly fire and abandoned by MI5, our international man of mystery decides this secret agent lark may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

So Bond does one to some far flung location where the sun is shining, the oceans’ run blue and he can get drunk or laid to his heart’s content.

Usually both.

But when Mother England calls, which I believe is what the “M” stands for, Bond decides it’s time to dust off those trusty speedos of his and put himself in the line of fire for queen and country once more.

Unless you’ve been living under a big rocky thing for the last year or so, you may have been aware of a little UK production called Skyfall that was released last, ah, fall.

And fittingly, for a film that almost never made it at all after some bean counters at MGM had problems counting out the right number of beans, the theme of this 23rd Bond flick is resurrection.

Directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall sees Daniel Craig reunited with his Walther PPK, some even jazzier suits but to the disappointment of doubtless many a bonny lass, there’s speedos scene this time around.

Hailed as the best Bond ever on its release, how does Bond 23 stand up on repeat viewings now that all the hype has died down?

Pretty well to be honest.

Mixing the past with the future, Skyfall sees Craig’s secret agent man take on a lot more of the clichéd Bondism’s we’ve yet to associate with his modern incarnation.

The obligatory action-packed opening sequence feels a little stale, especially the Brosnan-esque flick of a cufflink after another feat of daring do, but will doubtless please a lot of old school fans.

And at least you can tell what the bally hell’s going on, which really wasn’t the case with the break neck speed editing during Quantum Of Solace’s, ah, break neck opening sequence.

The next hour or so is mostly an exercise in ticking off requisite components of a James Bond film.

Going on adventures in exotic locations?

Check.

Seducing beautiful women from said foreign lands?

Check.

Lethally dispensing of an obligatory clan of ethnic henchmen without leaving a hair out of coif?

Check, and might I add mate.

Apart from some rather tasty scenes when 007 is put through his secret agent school paces on his return, Skyfall is probably the most predictable Daniel Craig shaped Bond film of his tenure; depending on what you like in your Bond films, this is either good or bad news.

Then Javier Bardem enters, looking like the bastard offspring of a mountain gorilla mating with Christopher Walken, and immediately demands your attention.

With his bleached blonde features, taste for cream suits and penchant for removing his upper jaw, Bardem is outrageously magnetic as Bond’s Skyfall nemesis Silva.

Of course, I’ve still no idea why he plays gay chicken with Craig at one point, even after watching the director’s commentary, other than it being enormous fun for the alpha male pair to see who could push each other’s metrosexual buttons the most.

Despite the presence of hot young Bond things Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris as Severine and Eve, it’s still Judi Dench as M who takes the lead as being the only girl that really matters in 007’s life.

The peerless Ben Whishaw makes for the most credible Q of the franchise and, while I felt Bond’s espionage spiel has taken an unwelcome turn back towards Roger Moore style parody, Craig is effortlessly more believable as a secret agent than any other Bond who’s come before him.

So Skyfall may not be the best Bond film, Casino Royale is still the series artistic high point for me, but as far as resurrecting the Bond franchise is concerned, Mendes’ effort definitely hits the mark.

Jonathan Campbell

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