Skyfall Review

FILM | by Sam Robinson | in Reviews | 3rd June 2013 - 11:00
The 23rd Bond film, commemorating the series' 50th anniversary, definitely had the weight of cinema history on its shoulders in the form of its 22 predecessors. It also had quite a difficult job to do, needing to retain some Bond tradition with respectful nods to the past while also managing to captivate the modern audience. So, if this was the centrepiece of Bond's 50th birthday, was it a spectacular display or something of a damp squib? First of all, the plot. Overall, there's a nice balance of action and humour. At the start and end of the film, we get some cracking action sequences, but action is generally well-paced and interspersed with some small details (like M's desktop bulldog) that'll make you chuckle. These are even woven into some of the action, giving a predominantly serious, hard-edged action thriller with a refreshing undercurrent of humour, like any Bond film should be. Speaking about little details, there are also a couple of nice anniversary touches thrown in. For example, the whiskey Bond drinks with the villain, Raoul Silva, happens to be the same whiskey he drunk with Dr. No in 1962. These are some really subtle nostalgic nods to the past which fans will appreciate. Further plot-wise, the real focus of the film is M, which also makes a nice change from the usual "WMD" setup and shakes things up a bit.

Onto characters, who are mostly very strong. M, the centrepiece of the film, is played well by Judi Dench, who keeps her wry, quintessentially British interpretation of the character and provides most of the humour and the emotion to complement Bond's thrilling action scenes. Speaking of Bond, Craig also gives a strong performance, ranging from a world-weary, downtrodden Bond at the start to a defiant and resourceful Bond by the end, all the while still throwing out those dry one-liners. However, it has to be said that Bond isn't really given enough toys to play with- the gadgetry in the film could be better, as all Bond's limited arsenal includes is a fancy gun, a radio and ejector seats in the DB5 (another nod to the past) which he doesn't use. Silva is similarly well played by Javier Bardem. He's a lot less than conventional than some of the more recent Bond villains, but that does wonders for the film. First off, the fact that he is crackers (he's probably the closest Bond has come to Ledger's Joker) makes him somewhat less predictable than usual, almost psychotic- he has plenty of tricks up his sleeve and is always one up on Bond- and leads to some humorous and incredibly awkward encounters with Bond. He is also essentially a cyberterrorist, and uses fiendishly clever hacking to open doors for himself (sometimes literally). This cyberterrorism aspect brings a new dimension to Bond which I for one very much appreciated, and which is very applicable in the modern world. It's something which hasn't really been done before in Bond, again making the film a step away from most other Bonds before it and innovating.

Having said that, some of the other characters such as as Mallory (Fiennes) and Moneypenny were less convincing, but I blame this mainly on the fact that they aren't given much time- both only have a few lines, which is perhaps why they are less memorable as characters.


In general, Skyfall might have maintained a respectful tone to Bond films of old with some Bond relics thrown into the mix, but the actual film was definitely not afraid to break new ground, and was actually considerably different from most other Bond films. M played a much more pronounced part than usual, because of Silva's unusual motives and mentality. Silva himself was not the usual kind of Bond villain, as firstly he was a little more eccentric than the last few have been and because of his use of cyberterrorism, which is a first (plus a little more interesting than the usual techniques Bond villains use). So, overall, Skyfall pulls it off- it's a Bond film that manages to be both traditional but also different and modern in comparison to other Bond films. It might not follow the typical Bond formula, but it is a very worthy addition to the series, and is arguably one of the best.


About the author: Sam Robinson

The Senior Content Editor for, Sam is a student with a passion for Film and Video Games.

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