I think Sam Mendes‘ Skyfall is one of three or four best James Bond films ever made, and easily the best one starring Daniel Craig. (Yes, better than Casino Royale.) It rids itself of some of the tired 007 cheese and starts afresh and has an actual theme (the old giving way to the new) and goes a little bit darker, especially in the final act. Actually a lot. I think it’s as good as From Russia With Love or Dr. No, and that means something coming from me.
And Javier Bardem is definitely the funniest and most flamboyant Bond villain since…I don’t know who. Chris Walken? And he doesn’t even show up until the film has been running for 65 minutes or so. And it has the best opening credits sequence since…I don’t know, Goldfinger? Thunderball?
But I have to leave for an early screening and haven’t time to get into it. Tomorrow. This has been one of those lazy, frazzled days in which I can’t seem to dig into anything or push out sentences that amount to anything at all. Here, at least, is my favorite review so far, written by Indiewire critic and 007 aficionado Bill Desowitz
“James Bond films have always been about looking forward and back at the same time, but never more so than in Skyfall, which is both a homecoming and a breakthrough for the 50th anniversary,” he begins. “In fact, it’s all about exploring the old and the new. That’s the central metaphor; it’s embedded in every ambiguous moment. It was worth the extra year taken to craft the script, do the prep, and hone every delicious detail into an organic whole.
“Of course, it helps to have Javier Bardem as a flamboyant baddie with a personal grudge that’s right up there with Dr. No and Goldfinger, or cinematographer Roger Deakins providing such visual elegance. It’s not just a matter of making Bond more relevant. [Director] Sam Mendes has deconstructed Bond so well with screenwriter John Logan in order to elevate him dramatically.
“You have to know the rules before you can break them. Or in this case, transcend them. As a result, Mendes has not only made a great Bond movie but also a great movie. Period. Forget Bourne. Bond is now as thematically rich as The Dark Knight.”