Score = B-
(Action/Adventure / PG-13)
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline: The secret service is not so secret anymore.
007 films always bring a certain excitement factor to a movie going experience. Most of us simply love to be whisked away to foreign locations because, well, let’s face it, it’s probably the only way half of us will get to see the majority of them. Skyfall kicks things off in great fashion by dropping us smack in the middle of a mission in progress. A secret list of MI6’s agents has been stolen and Bond is in pursuit of the thief. This is an exciting preview of what’s in store for the next couple of hours, before being treated to a lovely introduction involving Bond styled silhouette images and the impressive vocals of Adele. The plot takes us to scenic parts of the United Kingdom as our protagonist hunts down the bastards responsible for not only having the nerve to attack MI6 and its operatives, but to do it in not-so-subtle fashion, which ultimately puts M’s job on the line.
There’s something to be said about a story that includes a well written villain. There’s even more to be said about an actor that makes that villain jump right off of the page, or screen in this case. Silva (Javier Bardem) added the much-needed flavor to the latest helping of the 007 series. He’s conniving, clever, cunning, and even a tad promiscuous; all of which are acceptable traits to have in his position. Our proverbial bad-guy maneuvers through the film with a slightly theatrical presence while weaving his web of tricks to achieve his goals. Judi Dench (as M) also gets ample screen time in this adventure and delivers her lines with just the right amount of “punch,” as only she can. Daniel Craig (as James Bond) executes his role with style as always and has great on-screen chemistry with our new Bond girl, Naomi Harris (as Eve Moneypenny). While Naomi is a lovely addition to a 007 movie, (hopefully she’ll stick around for a spell) and thus considered a Bond girl, the “official” Bond girl is a French actress–making her international debut–by the name of Bérénice Marlohe (as the seductive Sévérine).
A great, and at the same time disappointing piece of this James Bond film, is the return of the Quartermaster, or Q for short. Truthfully, one of my favorite characters in these movies is the presence of Q, which happened to be missing from the previous two movies. Q makes his return here, but as a younger chap, (acted by Ben Whishaw) and I must admit, did not impress. The part is apparently written to be a younger, know-it-all nuisance to Bond, but instead, ends up being a nuisance to watch. There is no emotion or even the slightest facial expression in Mr. Whishaw’s performance of Q, which unfortunately kills the effect of humor in his role and simply makes it words on screen. Two of my favorite Q’s were John Cleese and Desmond Llewelyn. These two knew how to deliver dry sarcasm and make it enjoyable to watch, usually even make you laugh about it. If the 007 movies are going for a “fresh” spin on things, which I predict this series is about due to get, the powers-that-be would do well to remember to update the new perspective in “all” aspects. The dialogue and delivery of a thirty year old Q should be a tad different from that of a much older Q.
While the plot of Skyfall is nothing we haven’t seen these days in the world of espionage, there is still plenty of entertainment throughout this film. The action is crispy, the majority of the actors are a joy to watch, and there’s wit to be found at just the right moments without turning the film into a full-on comedy. Skyfall gets a B- for being an entertaining way to spend a few hours, but misses the “all-inclusive” mark with a non-inspired plot.