‘If you don’t evolve, you die.’ Barbara Broccoli
Perhaps the most anticipated film of the year for avid cinema goers and Bond fans alike, Skyfall has really gone out of its way to not let audiences down. After a fantastic re-launch of one of the UK’s most iconic franchises in 2006 with the release of Casino Royale, fans were introduced to a new kind of Bond, a more realistic and gritty hero, both exceptional and flawed. Bringing in Daniel Craig as the infamous spy whose modus operandi is seducing women and drinking martinis, we knew that the MI6 agent would never be the same again. There were still the one-liners and Bond girls, but they had significant levels of grey matter as well as supermodel good looks. Gone were the far-fetched plots and hideouts in volcanoes. Craig brought realism, sex appeal, violence and that good old-fashioned British charm.
Celebrating 50 years of Bond onscreen, this 23rd instalment of the longest-running film franchise in history sees our protagonist’s faith and loyalty to M (Dame Judi Dench) and MI6 tested. In her seventh Bond film, M is under pressure as a latest mission goes awry and MI6 is under attack, forcing her to move the entire organisation underground. Fighting both government bureaucracy and a mysterious villain (played by Javier Bardem donning the most talked about hair piece of the year), she sends Bond into the shadows to hunt down the attacker, while a secret from her past comes back to haunt her.
Skyfall essentially sees Bond fall apart and gradually put himself back together again, partly focusing on the relationship between the protagonist and his boss, M, who is perhaps the most significant other in his life. It also brings in one of the best villains the franchise has seen-with Bardem being flamboyant and slightly theatrical, just as director Sam Mendes intended. One of my favourite characters is that of the new Quartermaster, played by Ben Whishaw. Notably much younger and physically different to Craig’s character, he represents one of the central conflicts of the film; the old versus the new. Also playing a lead role is London itself, home to the Queen and MI6. Between setting a majority of the film above and below ground in the capital city and the Scottish highlands, you really get the sense that Bond has been brought back home.
Like any good Bond film, Skyfall starts off with an action-packed opening sequence. At twelve minutes long, it took three months of rehearsals and two months of filming to produce. But it’s this meticulous attention to detail, planning and genuine love of Bond that shows throughout the entire film. Under pressure to deliver everything that had made Bond what it is today and to mark such an important anniversary, it had to stand the test of time. The end result is a fantastic plot-driven action film encompassing all the best bits of the previous Bond films; the action, the great villains, the sexual chemistry, the cars and the quips. This film has it all; it’s fun, sexy, thrilling, stunning and believable. This really is Bond at its best. And the cherry on the very tasty cake? There are another two films on the way.
Skyfall is in cinemas nationwide October 26th