Since the release of “Casino Royale” in 2006, the 007 film series has been walking a cautious line. The modern Bond films have had to step it up with regards to the action to compete with other modern action films, but at the same time keep the basis of what makes old Bond great–be it the gadgets, cheesy one liners, or whatever you love most. So how does “Skyfall,” the third piece of Daniel Craig’s saga, fare in comparison to the other movies? In a word: Perfectly.
“Skyfall” opens with Bond and female MI6 agent Eve tracking down a mercenary in Turkey to recover a hard drive full of vital information from NATO. Bond manages to confront the merc on top of a train, but Eve is forced to snipe the man from afar to save the hard drive. Bond, caught in the crossfire, takes a shot to the shoulder and falls hundreds of feet to his ‘death’ into a river. But like any good action hero, a bullet won’t keep Bond down.
One of the main problems that “Quantum of Solace” ran across was that many critics felt the film was too unwieldy with a confusing plot. “Skyfall” does a much better job at clearly establishing what’s going on without being repetitive. The plot moves along at a manageable pace, and the overarching goal of Bond is much easier to understand this time around.
Sam Mendes takes the wheel as director of the film and does the best job of all three Bond trilogy directors. One of the most impressive elements of the film is its brilliant use of color; every scene has beautiful imagery, from the intense, reflective blues of a Chinese hotel to the awe-inspiring fireworks as Bond rides a gondola. The cinematography is impressive and engages the audience in the story, as do the actors. The film keeps cast veterans like Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, as Bond and M respectively, as well as new members Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw, as Mallory and Q. All of the actors do a great job, and Craig, in particular, perfects his role in showing Bond’s vulnerabilities while keeping him a strong agent.
“Skyfall,” like any action movie, is not without its faults. The third act of the film slows the pace dramatically, as well as the scale of the movie. Bond goes from fighting off dozens of enemies across the world to fighting a few of the main villain’s men in one place. Other than that, “Skyfall” manages to not only live up to the Bond franchise name, but is a fun and smart action film, as well.