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Skyfall Review: What exactly is so great about it?
No, really, what's so great about it?
While I'd like to think of myself as somewhat of a movie buff or enthusiast, I honestly can't say that I'm well-versed on the James Bond films. I've only watched four of the Bond films counting this one, three of them being films that have Daniel Craig in the role of 007. So no, I'm not exactly a Bond expert or anything. Despite this, Casino Royale is one of my favorite films, and after watching the disappointing Quantum of Solace, I sincerely hoped that Skyfall would go back to something similar to Daniel Craig's debut in the role of James Bond.
Perhaps it's because of that, the fact that I haven't watched many of the older Bond movies, that makes me so underwhelmed and disappointed by Skyfall. While I got some of the more obvious nods to the older films, the film itself somehow felt really sluggish, oddly paced and filled with scenes that didn't seem to need to exist. The performances for the most part weren't the problem; Daniel Craig still plays a great James Bond as far as I can tell, and the other roles are played pretty well and fit their roles perfectly. But I think a major quip I have with Skyfall is that the development of these characters seem a bit lacking. The film seems to focus solely on Bond and M more than anyone else. The rest are just peripheral characters that barely have a relationship with Bond at all. It introduces these characters as people who seem to play a large part in the plot but instead they either get disposed of rather quickly or don't affect the plot significantly until the near-end of the film. Compared to Casino Royale, the character development seemed completely non-existent at times. In that film you had Vesper and Mathis and the villain, Le Chiffre, is pretty memorable. All of these characters along with M are very fleshed out and had very strong ties with Bond, but in Skyfall the relationships he has with the "Bond girls" of the film or most people save for M are paper-thin, and while Javier Bardem's performance of Silva was noteworthy, he isn't exactly what I'd call iconic or memorable.
Maybe I shouldn't be comparing Skyfall with Casino Royale, but it really does seem quite overshadowed by the latter for me to enjoy this film. I expected it to be as good or perhaps better than Casino Royale, instead it fell short. I simply don't understand the critics' infatuation with this film; I get that perhaps I'm naive because I haven't watched the older films so I wouldn't understand the nostalgia that surrounds Skyfall, but isn't that all this film is? A nostalgia trip down Memory Lane, a fond reminiscence of the "good old days" of James Bond films. And that's something that I did enjoy about the film. Skyfall is whimsical and humorous as well as packed with great action sequences full of suspense; there's so many little nods and references to its predecessors that I can't help but smile at many points of the film. I also liked the more subdued scenes in Skyfall with some nice exchanges between mostly Bond and M. Regardless, this doesn't mean that the rest of the characters have to be paper-thin and not contribute anything to the plot.
Skyfall is what I'd call an enjoyable film, but not something that deserves all the hype and praise that it's been getting from the press. Its humor is infectious and charming, but the pacing is flawed that sometimes it feels like a burden to watch, and while the characters are played well, they're flat and rather one-dimensional for the most part, with few exceptions. It's true that I haven't watched many Bond films; perhaps that makes me a naive critic that doesn't know what he's talking about. But when the nostalgia fades, you'll find Skyfall to be rather static and sluggish; an inadequately developed yet well-produced film that fails to impress, succeeding only in entertaining audiences (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) and bringing back fond memories for Bond fanatics. Perhaps in a couple of years, after watching the rest of the Bond films, I'll return to Skyfall and find the reason why all the critics are raving over it.