Bond is back.
It’s been a long four years since Daniel Craig last graced the screen as James Bond in 2008’s poorly received “Quantum of Solace.”
In “Skyfall,” 007 must stop a cyberterrorist with a dark past that connects him to Bond. The franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, so Bond’s latest adventure is also a celebration of his legacy. Did it live up to expectations?
Karsten Burgstahler: The answer is an absolute yes. “Skyfall” presents the question, “Is Bond still relevant in a world where we catch criminals online rather than through old fashioned espionage?” The film proves Bond is most definitely still relevant. I love all the references to the older films: Bond drives an Aston Martin from “Goldfinger,” the series’ third film, and certain famous characters from his past make appearances. But no spoilers! The movie works on three distinct levels: It’s a brand new story; it’s a celebration of what the series has brought audiences for 50 years; and it completes the trilogy that started with “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.”
Austin Flynn: The other impressive part of this movie is not only is it clearly a winner with Bond veterans such as yourself, but it’s an all-around pleasurable, emotion-rich thrill ride for viewers such as myself who have only seen four or five Bond flicks (I know, shame on me). I hadn’t even seen any of the Daniel Craig movies, and this one definitely made me want to go and check those out. There is sex, intrigue, guns and more sex. What can I say? It’s everything you want from Bond and then some.
KB: It certainly is. There’s that old saying that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. “Skyfall” devours the cake. Every actor who has played Bond brought a different flair to the character, and “Skyfall” manages to capture each actor’s unique traits through different plot elements. Viewers not only get Daniel Craig’s acting styles but also a villain reminiscent of the Sean Connery films and a few campy scenes similar to the slapstick elements found in Roger Moore’s Bond films. Plus, the plot uses the darker tones from Timothy Dalton’s Bond films. This is clearly the most personal 007 film to date as it looks into the hero’s past more than any other, and that’s perfectly fine. The performances are A+ material not only from Craig but also Javier Bardem as the film’s lead villain, Silva, who is the most terrifying Bond villain. Ever. There’s also Naomie Harris as Eve, a field agent whose true role only becomes clear as the movie reaches its end. My only problems with the film are that several plot devices used to get Bond and his boss to the building where the climax occurs are a bit contrived. To say any more would spoil the climax, but this is a minimal complaint.
AF: I actually thought leaping to the final fight really helped flesh out Bond’s past, which was something I don’t believe other 007 movies touch on very often. Bardem was incredible in “No Country for Old Men,” and he was spectacular in “Skyfall.” I think he was one of the leading factors that interested me in the film because of how well he plays the hardcore, creepy villain. It was a perfect fit for him. My favorite aspect of the film was the dialogue, though. Character interactions set each scene’s tone and added something special that made this a truly great Bond movie. It’s probably one of the reasons you saw the movie three times in its opening weekend. Right, Karsten?
KB: Yeah, that’s right, everyone. I saw the film three times within 48 hours. Take that. You’re exactly right with the interactions, though, Austin. This movie has the banter that was lacking in “Casino Royale,” which is the new standard measurement for a Bond film’s success. Goldfinger is still the best 007 film ever, but “Skyfall” manages to include smart dialogue that Daniel Craig films have lost from the Pierce Brosnan films, which were known for their over-the-top but entertaining scripts. Who could forget the giant ice palace in “Die Another Day?” The banter between Bond and Eve and between Bond and Silva helps create the classic 007 feel. Silva may suggest Bond is old fashioned, but it’s quite clear that we still need his cool head and quick reflexes. “Skyfall” sets up the franchise to begin anew, so let’s not wait so long for the next film, eh, MGM?