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Chicken Little this Ain’t – A review of Skyfall
Summary: Bar none, the best Bond movie in years, Skyfall delivers thrills and pathos in ways no previous installment ever could. Blond hair aside, Daniel Craig IS James Bond.
A lot of fans of the Bond series have indicated to me that they can’t get past Daniel Craig’s hair color. They can accept him as an action hero, but the character is James Bond, not James Blond.
That aside, though, Craig manages to do something that no previous actor playing the role has ever managed. He plays Bond as ruthless but with an uncanny vulnerability that can only be found in the original books. In that, Craig surpasses even Sean Connery as the best Bond ever.
I can hear it now – there are people screaming “Blasphemy!”
But, I stand by the statement. This is Bond for the 21st Century. Not only do we have a realistic villain, but an even more realistic plot. And a hero that is much more real than ever with the right failings and shortcomings for a man his age.
The character himself has now graced the screen for 50 years, starting with the first Broccoli Bond movie, Dr. No, in 1962. This is the 23rd installment in the venerable series and Craig is the sixth actor to fill the shoes.
Still gone are the outrageous gadgets of the classic Bond movies, but that doesn’t mean that Q (Ben Whishaw) isn’t as protective as ever of the equipment he “lends” Bond.
And in classic form, Dame Judy Dench returns as the masterful madam of MI-6, the staunch stodgy matron of an intelligence agency modernized to combat evil throughout the globe, yet mired in philosophies ripped from the cold war age.
Ralph Fiennes also joins the cast as Mallory, a defense minister committed to putting M out to pasture. And even Ms. Moneypenny makes a well awaited appearance for this chapter.
But the real charmer of Skyfall is the leading villain, scene chomping Javier Bardem who proves once again why he so deserved the Oscar he won for No Country for Old Men. His character isn’t as chilling but every bit as sinister.
The film still manages to pay respectful homage to the previous chapters in the screen life of Bond, but the one that best had me on the edge of my seat was the return of Bond’s signature car, the Aston Martin. Like the man, the car has weathered time well – perhaps even better in the long run.
Here’s to another 50 years, old chap. I raise my vodka martini to you (shaken, not stirred, of course) and give Skyfall 5 out of 5 stars.