Unruh is a senior sociology and radio double major and can be reached at email@example.com
Fifty years, 23 films, roughly $5 billion gross, six Bonds, nearly 100 Bond girls, hundreds of enemies killed and countless times saving the world from utter destruction. — James Bond has become much more than a character, but a worldwide icon of action, sexuality and the British nation. “Skyfall” is quite possibly the best Bond film in the series yet. Opening Oct. 26 in the United Kingdom, Judi Dench, Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and the Bond girls strutted down the red carpet towards Royal Albert Hall among a lightning storm of camera flashes towards the most anticipated Bond release yet.
“Skyfall” starts like every dream: dark, no context and constant disorienting of the situation. Before you can contemplate too much, Director Sam Mendes duct tapes a lit stick of dynamite to your head and after 5-10 minutes of Bond chasing bad guys across Turkish market rooftops on a motorbike and an extended barreling train fight, you’ll be scooping your brains off the wall and those around you. This Bond film, surprisingly enough, continues to up the cinematography and tempo, constantly renewing the Bond series for a new generation.
Craig, reprising his role as the “beat-him-up-yourself” vulnerable human terminator Bond, Agent 007, commands the screen in stone-faced glory. Everything he does is smooth, whether it’s fight scenes or his seemingly high-kneed running style.
Dench, reprising her role as ‘M,’ is actually the main source of the story (taking a page out of Spock’s book) in her remorseless and logically motivated task delegating has created a Bardem monster (What an idiot, didn’t she see “No Country for Old Men”?) who is bent on image-shattering revenge for M. Bardem just completely steals the show, and the laughs, whenever he is on screen. He’s in the running for a Top 3 Bond villain of all-time spot. Not to mention Ralph Fiennes (of Voldemort fame) and an excellent modern update of gadget-building ‘Q’ by Ben Whishaw, of the classic Desmond Llewelyn Q of many years past.
The film’s only drawback is that it feels a bit borrowed or reminiscent of the Christopher Nolan Batman films. The only reason this is bad is the feeling of originality. The Batman movies are unbelievably good, so it isn’t truly an insult. Bond needed a slightly insane and eccentric character to fight as a villain. Bardem offers this up perfectly in the scene he is introduced, but it is unfortunate we don’t see his eccentric rambling much more in the movie as it gets lost in the action.
Where the film overwhelmingly exceeds and leaves a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of longtime Bond fans is that it is written like a love letter. Little references here and there to different previous Bond movies, reoccurrence of Bond gadgets and other vehicles, and a look into Bond’s origins are all weaved within the narrative. It’s like Sam Mendes, with each reference, is saying thank you to each and every Bond fan for sticking around the first 50 years, and welcoming them to the next 50. It is a film that lovingly represents the past, and is a changing of the guard to the future. We all love you Bond, from the corny early days, to the sleek punch-drunk Bond of the future. I think I can safely say we will all keep going to the cinemas in droves.