Skyfall (2012)
Skyfall (2012)

Genre: Action and Spy Running Time: 2 hrs. 23 min.

Release Date: November 9th, 2012 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Sam Mendes Actors: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw

 


 

T

o say “Skyfall” is a different direction for James Bond would be quite an understatement. The latest in 007’s adventures is so far removed from the super spy’s typical assignments that it often feels like only a hollow shell of the iconic hero. Series’ staples of exotic locales, sultry vixens, and elaborate action sequences do appear, but only in a requisite fashion. A revenge plot against MI6’s leader, a gay criminal mastermind villain, and a regressive conclusion are all new, though questionable, additions. It’s confusing as to who the writers are attempting to please – painfully obvious Bond tropes surface repeatedly while completely foreign scenarios pervade the screen. Plenty of throwbacks and not-so-subtle winks to previous installments feign familiarity, but they really only serve to remind the audience of all that is missing. And it’s a lot.

After a failed operation allows sensitive information into the hands of a cyber terrorist, MI6 head M (Judi Dench) comes under fire from her superiors and then direct attack by a mysterious antagonist. Top British agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) must track an assassin to Shanghai and Macau to uncover clues that will lead him to a pivotal revelation and a dangerous figure from M’s past. Abandoning the diplomatically governed rules of warfare, Bond embarks on a rogue mission to protect M while luring out a deadly killer hell-bent on revenge.

“Skyfall” starts with a stunt-packed, high-octane chase sequence involving cars, motorcycles, trains, and plenty of gunfire. It’s a decent introduction for a repetitive, tiresome attempt at detailing an action hero; one in which tongue-in-cheek stodginess tempted a no-nonsense reboot two films back. Craig’s initially icy demeanor is finally giving way to finespun quips, the casual bedding of multiple femme fatales, and the establishment of unconvincingly remodeled series regulars (akin to the embarrassing clarification at the close of “The Dark Knight Rises”). Adele’s theme song is unfortunately forgettable, following in the footsteps of quite a few other entries in which the title is included aimlessly and inapplicably – as if the songwriter wasn’t informed as to what Skyfall meant prior to penning the lyrics. This is accompanied by rather uninspired imagery, mimicking an amateur trying desperately to copy a James Bond opening title sequence.

While the globetrotting is appropriate, this new episode is inundated with clichés: the destruction level is as high as the implausibility of events, both without reason outside of expeditive visual stimulus; top secret lists are accessed with ease by evil geniuses far more intelligent and vastly wealthier than government agencies; and eye-rolling nods to previous Bond films appear much too frequently. There are also a noticeable amount of CG creatures and effects (gone are the days of a villain with a hook for a hand or metal teeth), as clearly out of place as M, who has entirely too much screentime, nearly posing as a partner for the secret agent known for his lack of field associates (outside of the damsel in distress, of which there are many). Despite an accomplished director, returning writers, and the inclusion of an Academy Award-winning supporting actor, the generic formula for big explosions doesn’t equal big adventure. Ideas for 007 are getting staler while budgets are getting grander. And for some unexplainable reason, the classic theme music is grossly underutilized.

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10