Columbia/Tri-Star // PG-13 // November 9, 2012
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted November 8, 2012
Highly Recommended
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James Bond may be one of the longest-running film franchises in the world, but it's also one of the best. While some entries are much better than others, they're some of the greatest action movies ever created. In 2006, Columbia Pictures decided to modernize the franchise with Casino Royale. Numerous actors have been in the leading role, but Daniel Craig has proven to be an excellent choice for this generation. After the film's success, a sequel of lesser quality was released in 2008 called Quantum of Solace. Fast forward to 2012, Craig's third feature is being released under the title Skyfall. This action film hits nearly every mark and will surely be loved and appreciated by audiences around the world.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and the entire department are put to the test when a serious menace (Javier Bardem) begins to commit acts of terrorism against MI6. However, this case becomes far too personal, as this villain is from M's (Judi Dench) dark past. Once these secrets begin to rise to the surface, James begins to question the loyalty he's had for his longtime boss, but he must set his personal issues aside if he wishes to complete his mission and survive.

Bond is known to be a classy, intelligent, and strong spy who rarely ever strays from the image that filmmakers have conveyed. Sam Mendes' film humanizes the character's abilities a little bit more. While he's still a badass who provides some great action sequences, the mission begins after Bond has been missing for quite some time. Since he hasn't been on the field in a while and his injuries still affect him, he has become a little bit rusty. Audiences will be able to see more of his inner-turmoil through his frustration with his aim, speed, and strength. Action junkies have nothing to worry about, as Skyfall has its share of over-the-top explosions and shoot-outs. The film incorporates its action into the story instead of the plot holding the fighting scenes together. All three of the modern films actually deliver these two elements in different ways. Casino Royale is the most story-driven out of the three, while Quantum of Solace focused more upon the action. Skyfall creates a balance between the two. The plot isn't as inventive as the first entry of this modernized 007 series, but it will keep you entertained from start to finish.

Writers Purvis, Wade, and Logan have crafted the witty and well-written dialogue that moviegoers love from this franchise. Fans of the original features will become giddy when they witness the numerous references in the dialogue and situations. Skyfall embraces its roots, but still provides plenty of fresh material. This movie is an absolute blast to watch on the big screen, but the ending is a little bit of a disappointment. While the new villain will surely be known as one of the best antagonists in the entire series, the final showdown is so brief that it comes across as being a bit anti-climatic. With a build-up as incredible as this, more time should have been dedicated to delivering an ultimate fight between the two characters. This screenplay has its issues, but it still manages to be bring the wit and excitement that continues to attract moviegoers worldwide.

Daniel Craig has reprised his role as James Bond. He has one again delivered even the smallest of characteristics that makes this character so iconic. Craig looks the part and is equally believable through action sequences and dialogue-driven moments. I look forward to seeing him continue to carry out this character. Judi Dench isn't a new addition to the franchise in the role of M, but she continues to do a great job with her credible performance. Javier Bardem was an excellent choice to play the villain. He's absolutely phenomenal, as he has clearly added his own personal signature to this character. With the combination of great dialogue and fantastic acting, this is a brilliant antagonist that won't easily be forgotten. Ralph Fiennes stars in a supporting role as Gareth Mallory. Even though he doesn't receive a lot of screen time, he does well with the amount of material he's been given. Skyfall provides an incredibly talented cast.

The action begins extremely early in the running time, which serves as an excellent hook for what viewers are about to experience. While the opening fight sequence looks great, the opening credits will truly catch your attention. The old-fashioned visuals are mixed with a modern atmosphere, which results in a beautiful display of images and illusions. Adele's song "Skyfall" plays over the opening, and no other artist could have delivered the same tone. Adele has created a classy song that fits this universe to perfection. As the film continues, the cinematography is absolutely stunning. There are far too many action flicks out there that have so many close-ups and quick cuts that we can't even see what's going on. Fortunately, Skyfall never falls into that category. The stunt work is always seen from a distance, which greatly works to the film's advantage. Director Sam Mendes and his crew have created a beautiful piece of cinema.

After all of the anticipation, the twenty-third Bond film is finally being released. I'm glad to report that Skyfall has improved upon its previous entry. While it doesn't quite reach the greatness that is Casino Royale, it gets close. Even though this is a strong film, it isn't perfect. Our antagonist is exceptional, but audiences never get to experience a true showdown between James and the villain. The ending feels rushed when this fight should have been much more intense. With the exception of this gripe, this is an exceptionally exciting motion picture that can be enjoyed by both Bond fanatics and casual moviegoers. Skyfall fits with the previous films perfectly and proves that even one of the longest-running franchises can deliver the goods with new entries. Highly recommended.

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