Director Sam Mendes brings us the twenty third instalment of the longest-running film franchise in history, starring the ever-brooding Daniel Craig as James Bond and the charismatic Judi Dench as M.
With M16 compromised, M is left with only one person she can trust: Bond 007. It is now up to Bond to find the threat to the organisation and destroy it at all costs.
Although we may want this story to sound familiar, Skyfall was not intended to be a sequel to Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace and it succeeds as a standalone adventure film.
Some viewers may find the psychological aspects of the film a diversion from the action, but I enjoyed the increased depth of Bond and M’s characters and more art-house style melodrama to balance out the otherwise strung-together action sequences.
Some Bond fans will revel in the gratuitous nature of the sexual themes; others will agree that it is time to move on from Bond being a misogynist and focus more on the action. The supporting character played by Naomie Harris could have benefited from less emphasis on her sexuality and gender, with more importance on her actual skills as an agent. This isn’t a spoiler, as we have learned to expect this kind of unnecessary sexual content in Bond films.
The special effects are impeccable — my only qualm was in the first action sequence, when Craig’s face appears slightly over-pixelated and eerily similar to his video game counterpart. The rough compositing isn’t enough to remove you from the action, but you certainly feel a bit freaked out.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond on film and this latest installation to the franchise does not let us down. Skyfall succeeds in providing epic escapism with just the right balance of action, art-house aesthetics and melodrama.