Skyfall You have to trust me on this, I am a huge Bond fan. I have seen each and every Bond film several times over and have been to the cinema to see each film since the release of 'A View to a Kill' in 1985. Even taking into account my love of the Toy Story, Star Wars, Bourne and Harry Potter films, Bond is my movie franchise of choice. So, I was very excited to hear all the honking praise for the release of Bond 23, in his 50th year as a screen legend. Bring on the Bond. It begins with a bang. A hard drive has gone missing and security is compromised. We are straight in to a furious chase over rooftops, fist fights on moving trains, amazing stunts and explosions. The traditional, big opening ends on a great cliffhanger and the famous Bond theme kicks in, raising the hairs on the back of my neck. And then Adele starts singing. Her song is a mish-mash of the expected, ticking the boxes, nodding in all the right directions but ultimately, a little flat and unexciting. For me, the same applied to the remainder of Skyfall as a film. Daniel Craig can undoubtedly be a great Bond and he has done a good job so far but I don't think he has had a decent film script to really get his teeth in to. It feels as if someone, somewhere is uncomfortable with the things the franchise can offer since it's reboot in 2006. Do they stick with the tried and tested Bond formula or strike out in a new direction, continuing to rebuild a spy thriller for a new audience. The balances don't feel right. It feels like a film being pulled in too many directions at once. The cars, the girls, the one-liners, the action is all still there but it feels airbrushed, sanitised, apologetic and desperate to not offend. Somehow grittier but cleaner. The gadgets have gone and so has the tongue-in-cheek joy of the earlier incarnations. Javier Bardem plays a super-camp cyber-terrorist seeking to get revenge on 'M' for something in his past but the character lacks any real menace and comes across more like a deranged school bully with abandonment issues. Sam Mendes brings a touch of class to the look of the film and keeps the action trotting along nicely but the final stand-off was a disappointment. There is a host of new characters to signal the change of direction and it depends what you want from your 007, but for me, a weak, vulnerable Bond with a backstory is just too touchy-feely and too many factors felt like box-ticking. In trying to take influences from films like Bourne and TDKR, Bond doesn't look entirely happy in his own skin. I could write and rant for ages but I won't. Skyfall is a good film. Is it the best Bond film ever? No.
7.5 out of 10.
12A ( uk )