Student Review: ‘Skyfall’

Secret agent 007 is back. With the release of “Skyfall,” James Bond returns to theatres for the 23rd time and, judging from its warm reception in the box office, not a moment too soon.

Although many have looked at Daniel Craig’s portrayal of the world’s favorite MI6 agent as lacking the typical “look,” none can argue that this Bond is undoubtedly the heaviest hitter. It will come as little surprise to fans of the series that “Skyfall” is quite possibly the darkest Bond movie to date.

Bond’s main concern throughout the film is stopping an enemy who has infiltrated MI6 through its computer database, destroying the entire organization from the inside out. The story follows a haggard 007 from the urban rooftops of Turkey to the desolate fields of rural Scotland as he fights to protect his comrades and his life.

“Skyfall” continues a familiar theme in this new era of Bond films, showing the agent confronting his own devil-may-care tendencies, almost more than he’s trying to stop the bad guy. Similarly, the film focuses on a James Bond who refuses to retire, even if he should.

Popular characters in the 007 universe who have yet to appear in the Craig era of Bond movies also emerge. “Skyfall” sees the return of the beloved gadgets specialist Q, played by Ben Whishaw. Also featured is a woman named Eve (Naomie Harris) whose significance is revealed later, though it is obvious to fans of the Bond series.

Also, no Bond film is complete without a good villain. If director Sam Mendes did anything right with this movie, it was casting Javier Bardem as the textbook narcissistic sociopath Silva (who really needs a pressurized-air-canister-gun-thing like Bardem’s bounty hunter character in “No Country for Old Men”).

The film’s plot is an intensely dark game of cat and mouse, never dwelling too long in a dull or peaceful moment. For example, Bond might get shot and fall a few hundred feet from a moving train in the movie’s opening scene, followed by a mesmerizing opening credit sequence only to immediately revert back to chaotic bomb threats and car chases.

Although this new edge of doom and gloom fits snugly at the center of the plot, it’s also my main concern for the film. “Skyfall” is Mendes’ first shot at directing a Bond movie, but it seems like he tries too hard to blend action and chaos — basically, Mendes tries to be Christopher Nolan.

With that said, we’ve all seen “The Dark Knight” a million times by now, so we already know we love the kind of story “Skyfall” tells. It’s a great film with great action and a great storyline—probably one of the best Bonds to date. You don’t want to miss it.