This time it’s personal.
After 22 previous Bond feature films, how much more can be said about the Double O agent? The man has saved the world countless times from super villains, slept with numerous women and probably has drunk enough martinis to intoxicate a Blue Whale several times over. So, what is left to tell? With the release of Skyfall we find that James Bond is still a complex character after 50 years of storytelling.
The first half of Skyfall (directed by Sam Mendes American Beauty, Road to Perdition) begins like any other Bond film that you might have seen before. James (played by Daniel Craig) is in Turkey chasing after a bad guy who has just killed several other agents and has stolen a hard drive. This hard drive contains information on several MI6 operatives who are currently infiltrating terrorist cells around the world. It is imperative that Bond receives this data. There is a car chase that leads into a motorcycle chase that leads into a train chase, all within the first few minutes. While fighting the bad guy atop a moving train, Bond’s back up agent, Eve (played by Naomie Harris) is forced to take a long range sniper shot. The orders are given directly by the MI6 Director – M (played by Judi Dench). The agent misses and after Bond falls to his supposed death, we are given the traditional Bond opening credits.
Three months later M is in danger of being forced into retirement due to the loss of the hard drive. All along everyone thinks Bond is dead, while he is drinking himself into oblivion in a coastal village. On her way back to the office there is an attack on MI6 where six agents die. Bond sees this on the news. He comes back to save the day, but it is not so easy. In his three month hiatus, he lost his aim and strength. The agency reluctantly reinstates him to follow the trail of the hard drive. He is introduced to a new Q (played by Ben Whishaw) for new high tech goodies. But being 2012 the exploding pen is no longer needed; he receives a high tech hand gun and a radio transmitter. How is he supposed to save the world with that?
Bond makes his way to Macau (I had Google Map it too) where he gets closer to his final target through a beautiful woman (typical Bond right?). Of course, only after a few hours of the two meeting, Bond is in a steamy shower on a yacht with his new found female companion. She leads him right to the villain, soft spoken Silva (played by a blonde Javier Bardem). Bond knows of Silva; he used to be a MI6 agent who turned into a bad guy.
So that’s it for me telling you how this is a typical Bond film, now it gets dark.
During the interrogation we discover that Bond’s nemesis might or might not be gay. We also discover that Bond might have had or not had a homosexual encounter in his past. That’s new. We also see Bond capture his arch nemesis half way through the movie. So, all is good, right? Bond got the girl and the bad guy, what is left? Quite a bit.
It turns out that this was all an elaborate plan for Silva to get caught and be brought face to face with M. We start questioning the stern M and her motives for MI6. Can she be trusted, is she really for Queen and Country? From this point forward, this is Silva’s personal vendetta for M. She sold him out years ago and now it is time for revenge.
In the escape, Bond goes old school with us. He pulls his famed Aston Martin from the days of old and we go low tech. Fans of the older films will catch onto the subtle jokes. Ending up at Bond’s childhood farmstead there is a last fight for Bond and M. There are no fancy gadgets to help him this time, not even a high power arsenal. He has no choice but to rely on a hunting shotgun and whatever he can scrounge together around the farm. Silva on the other hand has a small army. Bond is beaten down to his last hope to save himself and M.
Should you see this movie? Yes, it has given a new story to a 50 year old character. You don’t have to watch all 22 movies to enjoy this one. It will keep most audiences engaged as he globe trots to find his enemy. With Silva though we don’t see a villain who wants to take over the world or make millions of dollars. All he wants is his final revenge on the person who betrayed him.