Skyfall

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Skyfall

‘Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that anymore.’ That’s Ben Whishaw’s Q to Daniel Craig’s James Bond in ‘Skyfall’ – a Bond movie that boldly struts forward while looking back over its shoulder to the past. That’s what the 007 films are all about – an evolving mix of tradition and progress – and here we have director Sam Mendes (‘American Beauty’, ‘Revolutionary Road’) bringing to the franchise a stately look, sombre mood and ample room to breathe. Saying that, the fiftieth anniversary of the 007 movie project demands the odd knowing wink, to the likes of the classic Aston Martin DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’ and even the crocodiles that Roger Moore hops across in ‘Live and Let Die’.

The Bond films are savvy magpies, smartly pinching the shiniest, newest jewels of moviemaking for themselves. 2008’s ‘Quantum of Solace’ came a cropper by putting its hand too obviously in the till of the ‘Bourne’ films. But ‘Skyfall’ much more subtly takes its cues not only from the current, moodier breed of superhero movies, but also from the world around us. There are nods to terrorism, data theft, hacking and even attention-grabbing government inquiries – but nothing is specific or exact enough to mean anything significant. This is a Bond movie: atmosphere is all. The appearance of contemporary relevance is enough.

The story sees Bond in an emotional crisis after a failed mission to Istanbul leaves the names of secret agents in the hands of an unknown villain. Trips to Shanghai and Macau follow as 007 pulls himself together and tries to find the culprit for Judi Dench’s M and Ralph Fiennes’s Mallory, her Whitehall superior. There’s trouble at home, too, as a bomb explodes in the MI6 building in London and it becomes clear that M is under threat.

Meanwhile, a delicious foe emerges in Silva (Javier Bardem), a camp, creepy and smooth character who dares to challenge Bond’s masculinity in an arresting scene in which his hands run up 007’s legs. But the film’s many commercial sponsors can rest easy: Craig’s harried, stern Bond is as inscrutable and wordless as ever. He has plenty of welcome one-liners (‘I’m just changing carriages,’ he quips, leaping from the roof of one train car to the next), but delivers them like someone cracking gags at a funeral.

‘Skyfall’ is a highly distinctive Bond movie. It has some stunning visual touches: motorbikes racing along the roof of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar; the neon playing off the precipitous glass of a skyscraper in Shanghai; the Scottish landscapes of its bleak finale. Also, it mostly manages to convince us that there’s something at stake by giving a hint of Bond’s emotional life beyond this story: rooting his crisis in his relationship (or lack of) with his parents, without coming on too heavy-handed or pleading with the psychology.

Mendes knows there’s a risk of coming over po-faced by omitting the traditional pleasures of a Bond movie, and his approach seems calculated to stick to the formula while moving things forward. Still, the role of the Bond girls, played by Naomie Harris as a MI6 colleague and Bérénice Marlohe as a femme fatale, feel token and underwhelming. The tourism element of ‘Skyfall’ – especially the Macau section – is awkward too.

It’s only in the second half of the film, which takes place entirely in the UK, that you get the feeling that Mendes has played the compulsory 007 cards that any Bond director has to. Now he’s properly able to get stuck into a more punchy, more unified mix of action, emotion and story that climaxes in a fittingly isolated and lonely final showdown between Bond and his latest nemesis. 

By: Dave Calhoun

Posted:

Release details

Release date: Friday October 26 2012
Duration: 0 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sam Mendes
Screenwriter: John Logan
Cast: Daniel Craig
Judi Dench
Naomie Harris
Albert Finney
Ralph Fiennes
Javier Bardem

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:27
  • 4 star:17
  • 3 star:11
  • 2 star:14
  • 1 star:17
LiveReviews|86
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BRILLIANT! Well this film re-invents the bond era, the past couple of bond films have been boring and un-inspiring . not this one, my eyes were fixed on the screen from start to finish. of course some of the scenes were un-realistic and Bond for the majority of the time seems in-vincible but thats classic bond. the plot was excellent and the script was witty and perfectly exucuted. Best bond film for a long time!


i really enjoyed the latest installment of the bond film, it has plenty of action for all the family - but i wouldnt bring my grandmother as she has heart problems at the moment. highly recommend going to see this at the Imax if you can get tickets!


I really enjoy this film, the plot was well written - great cast, shows the highlights of london and plenty of explosions.. top marks!!


awesome movie. really loved it. I finally started liking Daniel Craig.


awesome movie. really loved it. I finally started liking Daniel Craig.


It was entertaining and had good action. I would definitely recommend this one.


I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!!!!! I have never been a bond fan until I went to go see this movie...IN IMAX!!!!!!! I heard Adele's "Skyfall" and fell in love. GO SEE THIS MOVIE...when iti comes out on DVD...I'M GETTING IT!!!!!


Wow we LOVED this - went to see it 3 times - want to own the DVD - wonderful action - fast-paced - emotionally engaging - funny - slick and sophisticated - visually stunning - the villain was believable - made my skin crawl - Craig was eatable. The best Bond ever !!!


I went to this film in Reading last night and most of the audience were grumbling on leaving the cinema. I really did think it was a waste of money and not entertaining. I have seen positive reviews and respect those who make the and are genuine customers. But looking at the dissatisfied cinema customers on this site and others, who felt that Skyfall was not a very good movie, I wonder at either the weighting or the sources of comments which have bumped this film up. The plot, if there could be said to be one, was flimsy and almost incomprehensible. The Bond themes, action, women, cars were all missing. Even the Bond character was missing. This was a dull dull film.


Sorry folks, but found this a cliched, badly written mess from the start - no wonder they’ve thrown so much money at marketing it. For starters there are terrible holes in the plot - for a film that’s supposed to be celebrating 50 years of Bond, I’m certain Ian Fleming would be turning in his grave over this muddle. Though Bardem can be a great actor, in this he’s terrible - then again he’s working with a script worse than the last Dan Craig/Bond - Quantum of Solace - which was widely paned. The whole house at Skyfall thing for the last 45 mins is terrible - more holes than a colander. As the head of MI5 would ‘M’ really be walking away from trouble/Bardem-and-the-baddies in the dead of night with a torch in her hand (to clearly indicate where he should head to bump her off)? Painful to watch. A ten-year old could come up with a less holey/lace-like story than this. As someone else here says, possibly worth turning on on Boxing Day in a few years (but only if you’ve had a few to drink and are prepared to snooze through those last 45 mins).


well sorry folks but i loved every minute of it !! Absolutley! So much so that when it finished I went back downstairs for another ticket to view it again! It's action packed, the settings are brilliant, plotline was good - Bardem is a fantastic baddie and a good match for Bond. The house Skyfall was a good way to take it all back to Bonds' beginnings as a boy. As were the references to past Bond movies - little ocmments about exploding pens /use of the old car. Also liked the opening credits and song by Adele - it's a very worthy Bond theme! Yes I thoroughly enjoyed it - one point tho - the rooftop chase thru Istanbul on the bikes was the same rooftop featured in the Taken 2 film! Hmmm.


well sorry folks but i loved every minute of it !! Absolutley! So much so that when it finished I went back downstairs for another ticket to view it again! It's action packed, the settings are brilliant, plotline was good - Bardem is a fantastic baddie and a good match for Bond. The house Skyfall was a good way to take it all back to Bonds' beginnings as a boy. As were the references to past Bond movies - little ocmments about exploding pens /use of the old car. Also liked the opening credits and song by Adele - it's a very worthy Bond theme! Yes I thoroughly enjoyed it - one point tho - the rooftop chase thru Istanbul on the bikes was the same rooftop featured in the Taken 2 film! Hmmm.


Yes, rather disappointing after the hype. Brilliant set pieces, but everyone phoned in their lines, even Judi Dench, apart from the excellent villain and one or two others. The script was, frankly, crap.


TheVery disappointing.There were too many unanswered questions in the plot.How did Bond survive the shooting and apparent drowning? What was the villains grudge against Judy Dench? How did they blow-up the MI6 HQ? By computer hacking?? How did the villain escape captivity ? Why did Bond accept a lift on the villain's boat ? Surely it would have made more sense to follow it secretly to the island? Also near the end after Bond escapes from the frozen lake he appears to be completely dry a few mins later! comment you type in this box will appear on the site


I have to admit now I know how Morrissey felt slating the Wills & Kate show, the Jubilee and the Olympics. The critics just had to give this film a great review, and who wants to be a non-believer? But why should I cherish a churlish sociopath - Craig's Bond? Very broadly written, lots of different locales, to be fair this one will be good on Boxing Day in a few years' time, but none of it stands up to scrutiny yet it doesn't have the feelgood charm of earlier films to ensure you don't mind. Insults the intelligence.


Worst thing about this film same as all recent bonds - Robert wade and neil purvis. Terrible fanboy screenwriters who have never risen above rushed derivative hack screenplays that a good Hollywood writer like John Logan has to come in and try to fix. Why can't Eon get someone good to write the scripts? Everything else here good apart from Berenice Marlowe who can't act and some terrible assistant directing in the crowd scenes, but it's wasted. Scrip script script!


Have to say I agree with the naysayers, although we're in the minority it appears. The film as with previous bonds and previous mendes films is highly derivative thematically of the dark knight films. The villain is clearly based on the joker and the middle escape sequence complete with similar score is so similar it even has anarchic spirit of chaos silva disguised as a cop as the joker did. Multiple other smaller elements are pilfered from other stuff such as the gun (see judge dredd's lawgiver). The bonds had become consistently more ridiculous till it got to the point of them being unwatchable with the pierce brosnan films replete with one star reviews -this is slightly better than those but still feels like an uncool English version of a big hollywood action movie. I guess it's good that it gets people into cinemas, but I can't believe the good reviews its getting. Mendes is no action director and the big three action set pieces are deeply perfunctory. Best thing about it is roger deakins camera work. No idea why he agree to do it, it's a bit like Nestor Almendross agreeing to shoot hollyoaks. Glad irritating judi dench M died, although she (and bardem) were allowed unduly long death scenes worthy of Shakespeare. Perhaps theatre luvvy Mendes thought he was directing the Scottish play given it all ends up at a castle in Scotland!


It's a great Bond film.....there is just no pleasing everyone. After the last film which I was dissapointed in, Skyfall gets us back on track after the immense Casino Royale. The fact that the film concentrated on the characters and has set the franchise up for the next few years I thought was very clever. Judi Dench was supurb and it was a fitting finale. It brought emotion and hints at what made Bond....Bond. I would gladly watch again and will get the blu ray. Wish people would just accept it for what it is....a bit of popcorn fluff movie.....and an extremly enjoyable one at that


Not a scratch on Casino Royale, and worse than Quantum of Solace (ain't that saying something?). The dialog's extremely leaden - using lines from Casino Royale. As the plot's already been spoiled amongst the reviews below, I can only say it's a relief Judi Dench's "M" got killed off - how that woman won an Oscar I don't know - as her acting in this is extremely cheesey - thankfully we won't be 'blessed' with more. I couldn't help thinking Daniel Craig looked embarrassed from start to finish - he must have known this one was a stinker in the making.


An excellent film - one of the best Bond films. Great performances from Craig, Dench and Bardem. A real treat with some nice touches past and forward.


I am trying to make a valued assessment of the new BOND film Skyfall. Well, James Bond has always been famous for the car, gadgets, locations, and girls. The car is pretty much absent, apart from an old James BOND car, in the last 30 mins; the gadgets amount to a pistol that can only be fired by palm recognition of BOND, and a radio transmitter which identifies the GPS position of BOND; locations amount pretty much to a short time in Shangai, Macau, and somewhere else; and the girls, which most people love, I think are in it for no more than about 20 minutes. This is a film that stands out as having serious budget cuts, and possibly poor editing. Judi DENCH was excellent, as was the theme tune, and Adele's singing. Still can't visualise Daniel CRAIG in this roll. He is too wooden, and doesn't possess much charisma like ALL the other BONDS. I do like Daniel CRAIG, but not in this role. Hopefully, future BONDS will be better. I will now be prepared to get slagged off for my thoughts, but I believe it is genuinely fair criticism.


TBrilliant such fun; couldn't have enjoyed it more, despite the grumps and spoilsports here......phooooey to you all.


Overlong at 2 & half hrs, last 20mins dragged. Disappointing after the brilliant Casino Royale ,with a weak script. Acting as good as ever, Daniel Craig is such an accomplished actor, Javier Bardem also excellent, Judi Dench far too tired for the role of M. Worth seeing but overall a disappointment


If you decide that the story is the story and you're not trying to rewrite it because you dont like it for some reason this is a brilliant Bond movie. Everything is engrossing and spectacular to watch. In many ways its better to have baddies that are a bit unrealistic in Bonds because you do not need to judge the politics of the issues, something they got too wrapped up in in QOS. I prefer my films to be adult and this verged occasionally into the teenage but mostly didnt. Ideally I would have liked fitter birds with more sex though.


Too much M too little of dark haired girl Too little chemistry between JB ad the new M!! And where is the humour and one-liners.Craig is a good Bond but the script needs some input ref wit and sarcasm and Sam Mendes should watch Skys Bond channel to acquire a sense of the genre and history of JB.He is quite out of his depth in this type of much loved and well remembered type of film.But DC is the best Bond since SC and a fabulous actor


Some nice cinematography, thin plot, sluggish, boring, Piccadilly line train disguised as the district line and a station I've never seen before. What a poor film. Such a shame that after the brilliant CR came two piles of poo.


Settle down boys - don't get so uppity with each other - it's a movie review site, right. James Bond who works for the British government as a spy ends up on the unwanted list in Turkey - and decides he needs a break from a backstabbing MI6. That's until his wrinkly old boss M is personally threatened by an operative with a mighty chip on his shoulder. I think I blinked at this point because our man Bond is suddenly in China messing about on tall buildings then he's in a Macau gambling den with deadly animals in a pit - sounds familiar Bond territory. Moving on, to a scene where he's bound to a chair - but doesn't get his knackers whipped this time - it is a family show after all. So he escapes - gets transported to the island of the dead - escapes and ends up in Blightly. The movie seems to end somewhere thereabouts and I wanted to leave the cinema but my BF dragged me back for another 90 minutes of close in shots of the old wrinkly again and again, until it was all over and I found out why the film was titled Skyfall. And not a single joke in the whole movie apart from the movie itself. The filmgoers in my cinema where passive all the way through this film - a film of parts vaguely held together between two set piece action sequences.


Nick, you spoilsport, you idiot......why give away the entire plot.....especially about M being killed.....it hasn't been mentioned by any of the cast members during interviews.......you like to ruin things for people.....spoil their anticipation.......so stupid......don't do it.


TOh dear, Alfredo's depressed & lonely.....using this site for a personal therapy session.......and being incredibly BORING IN CAPITALS about it..... I'm off to see the film this arvo....means a 74 mile round trip for me.........country driving.......so looking forward to it.......it has such approving reviews from so many, that I think Alfredo needs a humour transfusion....or just to get up and out more........can't wait....4 years too long.....Daniel Craig....yum! 5 stars without even seeing it.


TOh dear, Alfredo's depressed & lonely.....using this site for a personal therapy session.......and being incredibly BORING IN CAPITALS about it..... I'm off to see the film this arvo....means a 74 mile round trip for me.........country driving.......so looking forward to it.......it has such approving reviews from so many, that I think Alfredo needs a humour transfusion....or just to get up and out more........can't wait....4 years too long.....Daniel Craig....yum! 5 stars without even seeing it.


Overrated. Action poor. Characters unlikable, which makes the story boring because you don't care. Too much advertising, omega watches, beer ect, makes bond feel vulgar and cheap. The girl playing moneypenny a terrible actress. Best lighting ever, almost good enough to make me recommend it.


Bond is 50? Well, you’d have thought for such an auspicious occasion they’d pull out all the stops and have a good story written, but sadly not so. Don’t get me wrong, some of it’s not bad, but given Casino Royale set the standard, Skyfall falls well below it. Some of dialog’s cheesey, the chases aren’t a fraction of exciting as some of the other Bonds, and Javier Barden makes for a terrible Bond baddie. As is occasionally the way, when a film is heavily publicised, and pushed with a well-cut trailer, you find out all the best bits were in the trailer. I often suggest 15 minutes of almost any film could fall to the cutting room floor - in the case of Skyfall it’s a shame 30 minutes didn’t go in the bin. Protracted. Not one I’d recommend, nor see again, nor buy on DVD. Two (generous) stars.


They've finally gone back to what makes James Bond good! A little bit of cheesiness, killing blows barely leaving a scratch and an awesome villain. Welcome back 007! I missed you!


They've finally gone back to what makes James Bond good! A little bit of cheesiness, killing blows barely leaving a scratch and an awesome villain. Welcome back 007! I missed you!


I really enjoyed this. Better than Quantum of Solace, not as good as Casino Royale. It did feel as if it was ticking genre boxes as it went along (which is what you're going to a Bond film to see anyway: exotic locations, beautiful women, action set pieces, fights, crazy blond villains) until about halfway through, when it does actually start to surprise you, pleasantly. Loved the cast: Ralph Feinnes, Naomie Harris, Finney - brilliant. Ben Whishaw is a gorgeous Q. It has all the Bond elements, and a bit more besides, so I'd recommend it - but if anyone is daft enough to expect realism from a Bond film, then there's nothing I can do about that!


Yes, it does what it says on the tin; 007, Aston Martin, guns, fights, girls and the London Underground. Javier Bardem continues to sport spooky hairstyles and play the baddies whilst Craig forgets to shave and hits the bottle - who could ask for more. A good night out and the cinemas around here are packed which is great to see, If Quvenzhané Wallis gets a future rôle in Bond then all will be perfect


I forgot to mention one part of the film that puzzled me most.We see Bond blown off a train by a high velocity bullet yet we see no wound or scar only the one from the killer using depleted uranium rounds.The high velocity round would blow a hole the size of a coconut out of his back but hey who cares about that!


Disappointing. Such near-universal critcal praise for what unfortunately is an emotionally non-engaging, beautifully shot but ultimately credibilty-busting (plotwise) luvvie-fest. Compared to Casino Royale and Quantoum of Solace this is the weakest by far. What have the critics been smoking?


In weeks to come when all the hype has died down people will see that this is all like a modern day Emperor has new clothes! This is not the " best Bond ever" by a long mark.It is not Bond at all!. Can we really be expected to believe that the head of MI6 and Bond would plan to entice the super villain to a remote house but forget to take any weapons ?.It was even dull in parts.


Overlong and standard Bourne style action Witty references to previous movies i found tiresome And the panto villain risible But ok for a undemanding watch


ACTION WAS A SUBSTANTIAL PART IN ALL JAMES BONS FILMS' STORY, IN THIS BOND FILM ACTION IS THE STORY. THERE'S NO ROOM LEFT FOR ANYTHING ELSE. VISUALLY IS A BEAUTIFUL FILM BUT IS NOT AN INTERESTING ONE. IT'S JUST A GOOD ACTION VIDEO GAME.


An excellent film with the best baddie for a very long time. Deserves to be up there in the top half dozen Bonds and the best of the Craig films. Agree that there is no need for the F word and maybe Wishaw will grow into the Q role. A couple of nice twists / discoveries in the last few minutes top it off. Go see because it is really good though if I was to have any issues it would be that it is probably ten to fifteen minites too long and the girls, other than M, have too little to do. 8 out of ten a solid 4 star film.


Very enjoyable movie, albeit not without some faults, but well worth viewing. Would watch it and enjoy it again no problem. 9 / 10


Correct on LIVE & LET DIE. Minor (Skyfall) gripe, finale 5 min too long plus do we really need "fuck" (abet very muffled) in a 007, but this easily joins the top 1/3 Bonds. The Shanghai & London scenes are top notch and this wizz's by like bullet. As good as promised. 8/10

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