Film: Skyfall

THREE and a half years in the making, a bust film company and a song leaked onto the net.  The new Bond film finally arrived.

Trying hard to avoid clips on TV, reviews on the radio and people trying to tell me plot twists, I made my way to Commodore to watch Skyfall. Just hoping the latest iteration of the legendary series would please me more than the previous two.

Since Daniel Craig was reincarnated as James Bond he has pleased most people, ushering in a new era of hard-core espionage not so dissimilar to that of the Bourne films.  But in trying to rival the brutal and clever nature of Bourne, it lost a lot of the grandeur and gadgetry that made past Bonds so special.

I had imagined Skyfall was going to mark a return to films of old, especially in its style. I really needn’t have worried, from the off, Bond is in suit, the location, Istanbul, and I thought, gone are the days when our agent is chucking his friends’ bodies in bins- well almost. M, (played excellently by Judi Dench once again) gives James the order to chase, and Bond leaves behind a dying fellow agent he was trying to save.

Post-opening scene, we return to London where the loss of a disc, containing the names of most of the operational MI6 agents has fallen into enemy hands and is causing turmoil between MI6 and politicians, who question its very existence. It’s down to Mr. Bond once again, to save the world from disaster and keep his job.

Except this time it’s not, Silva’s (played nicely by Javier Bardem) agenda isn’t to start a war, take over a country or steal the moon.  His only intention is to ruin MI6 through the power of the Internet. And this is where I started to miss Bonds of old, or rather the good bad guys of old. Where henchmen and rockets where used rather than viruses and computers, if ever Die Hard had taught us a lesson it’s that geeks don’t make good bad guys. Excuse me for being nostalgic, but the bad guy in a Bond film should never at any point do any dirty work. He should sit in a secret lair plotting his next plan. Before sending out his under-trained minions to complete the task, which is ironic really because Silva could have very easily done just that. He had a good reason for revenge, a few evil henchmen (though not enough), a badly mutated face and even at one point a secret lair. However for some reason, no grand master plans, no objectives, just one aim, to kill an old woman.

So Skyfall missed a chance, but if you take into account that halfway through the recording of the Skyfall the film company running it went bust, it all starts to make sense again. This no longer becomes a film which missed the mark, but a great budget film, carried primarily by the actors and crew themselves rather than the story line. Not only have they created a rather iconic and unique addition to the Bond franchise, but in the end they returned it to its original style in preparation for the next film.

The cast seem less of a mix match of agents and administrators and more of a team ready to face the worst enemies of Britain and the world. In essence Skyfall reminds me of the early Bond films like Dr. No and You Only Live Twice – if you ask questions, you don’t really get answers. It’s just a good film with an okay story and some great acting.