Skyfall - Bond 23 shows that this old dog still has plenty of new tricks in him

When Daniel Craig was selected as the new James Bond, there were grumbles. Many felt that the 5'10" blond Craig didn't fit the tall, dark and handsome image they felt crucial to the part. Even though actors such as Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery and Roger Moore publicly supported his casting, British publication The Daily Mirror, for instance, ran a front page article on Craig, titled "The Name's Bland - James Bland".

But Casino Royale came out and most of those grumblings were silenced. That is until Quantum of Solace came out. I enjoyed it well enough, but in general, some viewed it as proof that maybe Casino Royale was a fluke.

But Skyfall should easily silence those grumblers.

But first, the story

Our story starts with MI6 super-agent Bond (Daniel Craig) on the trail of someone who stole something. At this point in the movie, that's all that really matters. The chase ends up with a train-top fight that goes pear-shaped.

(I don't want to say more than that for fear of ruining surprises.)

Anyway, MI6 ends up the target of a major attack. And at the heart of the attack, it would appear that the attacker would seem to have a personal beef with Bond's boss, M (Judi Dench).

But even worse, someone seems to have gotten their hands on MI6's NOC list, listing out secret and true identities of their agents posted around the world. And he's begun to post agents' identities on the web, exposing them to MI6's enemies.

An investigation is sent out to find who has the list and who is out to get M.

That is, aside from the new Intelligence and Security Committee Chairmen Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) who seems to be pushing for M's voluntary retirement and replacement.

Dot dot dot

As I said, I enjoyed Quantum of Solace well enough, but I recognize that it had its drawbacks. Skyfall has a couple drawbacks too, but it's absolutely up there with the best of them.

The only real drawback that I would point out would be how long it is. I loved Casino Royale, but in a number of scenes you really start to feel the length of the movie. Skyfall is only one minute shorter, but in the final climactic battle, you start to feel how long the movie is once again. It's still well done, and the battle sequence is still compelling, but you really begin to feel the length.

Other than that, I really don't have many bad things to say.

It was nice to see them finally bring in Q, Bond's gadget-maker. And if you're familiar with the way Q and his gadgets get used, it's pretty much the same thing. Each one gets used exactly once, even if they should technically be the multi-use variety.

And the introduction of Q also works to the theme of the movie. Skyfall very strongly addresses an idea that can be seen as a drawback to the Bond franchise. In this modernizing and increasingly computerized world, is there still room and a need for Bond's more classic style of human intelligence work? The old and the new. Is there a good balance between them?

But what do you think?

4.5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Skyfall

Personally, I think I'd give this one a weak 9 / 10. It would be stronger, but as I said, you start to really feel the length of the movie toward the end.

Skyfall is rated PG-13 for action violence, some sexuality, language (including one F from M) and one kind of disturbing shot of Javier Bardem. (Seriously, were they trying to make him look like the classic villain Jaws? Because they succeeded.)

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