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James Bond Movie Review - Skyfall
The Opening Scene
We join our hero as he enters a room cautiously. There is no need, however, as the occupants have all been shot and the target has left the scene. Bond ignores the demands of M, and takes time to help a wounded fellow agent first.
Bond leaves to chase his target, racing down to the street to find a jeep and lovely young female driver waiting for him. As their target flees, Bond leaves the vehicle to pursue him on motorcycle, and the chase continues across the rooftops of the plaza.
Bond and the target end up on top of a train, while M orders the woman to follow them in the jeep. After an amazing scene involving a backhoe where Bond is shot, he engages the thief in a melee style battle, still atop the train.
M orders the young lady in the jeep to take a shot at the target before he and Bond disappear into a tunnel. The female agent notes that she cannot get a clean shot, and M orders her to shoot anyway. She does, and hits Bond, who falls unconscious into a river far below and is carried over a waterfall, seemingly to his death.
All of this happens before the opening credits - which are an amazing visual graphic display in and of themselves.
The Object of M
The man Bond was chasing in the first scene has stolen a hard drive, which 007 was hoping to retrieve before being shot. The hard drive has encrypted information on NATO operatives, and M wants it back before it is decrypted and her operatives are exposed.
The failure to retrieve the hard drive, along with other factors, has lead M to a place where she is being asked to retire. Gareth Mallory is sent to help facilitate her retirement, but M refuses, saying she doesn't care about dignity but does care about getting the job finished.
Soon after they realize someone is decoding the hard drive, and it looks as if they are doing it from M's office. They race to her office, but are stopped by police before they can get there. Just as M is protesting the delay, the building erupts in a violent explosion.
The story switches to Bond, who managed to survive the shooting ordeal and is anonymously residing in a beautiful tropical place. He sees a news report on the embassy bombing, and returns from the dead to visit M.
Bond has suffered physical damage, and it is clear while he is going through reinstatement testing that he is no longer as capable as he once was. After a failed shooting test, Bond digs some shell fragments from his chest (received from the shots he took on the backhoe) to have analyzed.
Mallory expresses his doubts about Bond's ability to function as an agent. M lies, and tells Mallory that Bond has passed his reinstatement tests even though he has not. M staunchly defends her choice to reinstate Bond and sends him back into the field.
Bond travels to Shanghai looking for the hard drive and thief. He quickly finds his man and is easily able to follow him through a building due to the body trail the man leaves behind.
After an unusual elevator ride, Bond watches as the man assassinates someone and then sets his targets on a lovely young woman. Bond intervenes, and the two grapple until the thief falls over the edge of the building. Bond attempts to hold on to him, but his physical condition is still not up to par, and he loses his grip on the man without learning anything further. As he recovers on the ledge, he notices the young woman looking at him.
He searches the assassin's case, and find a chip from a casino in Macau. He relays this to M, who is watching as the names of five of the operatives listed on the hard drive are released along with their photos. It is followed with a promise to expose five more operatives each week.
Later, a news report shows one of the exposed operatives being killed.
Memories from Macau
M sends Bond to Macau with the casino chip; the female agent who accidentally shot in the opening scene him joins him there. Bond immediately notices the woman from the assassination, and spends a little time getting to know her.
The woman is putting on a brave front, but Bond sees right through it. He observes a tattoo on her wrist that indicates she is being used as property, and he offers to help her if she will take him to her "owner," who is the real target of Bond's current affections.
He joins her on a boat, where they enjoy a little private time before disembarking. They are escorted by armed men through a deserted town, where they are separated, and Bond is taken to a room that lends new meaning to the term networked.
Bond finally meets the mastermind behind the theft of the hard drive, who kindly invites Bond to join him in his luxurious insanity. After a wicked game of "shoot the shot glass on the girl's head," Bond makes it clear he has no desire to hook up with Mr. Insane, and with a little help from the new Quartermaster's toys manages to take him into custody.
Back at the Ranch...
Mr. Insane is taken back to the embassy, where M is horrified to discover he was a former operative known as Silva. M comes to speak with him, but refuses to acknowledge him due to his crimes.
Silva is better connected than they realize, and manages to escape custody, leading Bond on a merry chase. Q guides Bond through the subways after Silva, but even this is not enough. Silva manages to escape by throwing a subway train at Bond, races to the street and is picked up by someone in a car.
At this point, Bond and M decide to stop chasing Silva, and instead engineer a plan to lure Silva to them using M as the bait. Bond takes M to a place called Skyfall, which has great personal attachments for 007. There they encounter the caretaker, who has known Bond since James was a small child.
A kindly old soul, the caretaker agrees to help Bond capture Silva and protect M. So as not to spoil the movie entirely, this review ends here, with the three preparing for the final showdown...
James Bond is played by Daniel Craig.
M is played by Judi Dench.
Gareth Mallory is played by Ralph Fiennes.
Eve (the female agent) is played by Naomie Harris.
Silva is played by Javier Bardem.
Bond fans should be delighted with this movie, as it builds upon the ongoing plot that spans several 007 movies. It is a true to form 007 movie, with plenty of excitement, chases, explosions, and other high action events.
In addition to the well-developed plot and characters, the viewer may enjoy the dry British humor that is blended into the dialogue. There are quite a few surprises which were purposefully left out of this review.
Character development, as well as the actor's portrayal of such, is well defined. Particularly well defined is Silva's character and story, which is rife with emotion. Javier Bardem does a more than adequate job of filling the role.