Skyfall (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

The challenge is set.

Your heart races and the hairs on your arm rise during the requisite action set piece preceding every Bond opening credit roll. Just admit it. In the case of Skyfall, it’s a foot race and a motorcycle chase through the streets and rooftops of Istanbul that culminate on the top of a high speed train that sweats viewers’ palms. But in this, the 23rd installment of the storied MI6 agent, Bond, James Bond isn’t the same man audiences are accustomed to seeing.

No, Mr. Bond is getting old (a greying beard proves it!). And like Dirty Harry before him, his tactics are becoming antiquated and frowned upon in this day and age. Nonetheless, they still work, and in Skyfall, they’re desperately needed.

Drama is high when Silva (Javier Bardem), a very angry (and fabulous) ex-MI6 agent, resurfaces looking to exact a bit of comeuppance to surrogate mom “M” (Judi Dench). His goal, by stealing a hard disk listing all NATO operatives embedded within terrorist organizations, is to shame her in the eyes of her peers and country (led by PM Mallory Ralph Fiennes) prior to ending her life. If you think that is a lot of trouble to go through when a well-aimed sniper shot would work infinitely better, you’d be right; it’s apparent early on, the seasoned writing of trio Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan wanted this story to be less about the villain and his grand scheme to rule the world (or lack thereof) and more about Bond, his relationship to “M” and the changing world around them.

There is meat to that bone to be chewed, no doubt. Through the years, the complex relationship between Bond and “M” has been adversarial at worst and understanding at best, but in the end they’ve always stood in each other’s corner. It took a bit of time for me to see Judi Dench as “M” (first took the reins 17 years ago in 1995’s “GoldenEye”) but through the years it became clear she was a great choice. In Skyfall, she’s given a lot of room to round out her “hard authoritarian outside with a nurturing inside but can’t show it” character. With her life on the line and having to swallow her pride (approving the shot that took Bond out and started this ball rolling wasn’t her best call) she opens up to regrets and lets viewers understand how incredibly difficult the life she’s chosen is. Likewise, Daniel Craig still chiseled (but supposedly out of shape by Bond standards), knows his time as Britain’s best defense is coming to a close. This becomes uncomfortably evident when he is meets the new “Q” (Ben Whishaw), a man 25 years his junior. Hard-hitting details to Bond’s backstory are disclosed at his childhood mansion in Scotland in which Kincade (Albert Finney), the family butler still resides.

Skyfall (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

On the hunt? Or hunted?

Don’t fret though, just enough details are exposed to show Bond is a living, breathing person, not enough, however, that his super-agent, womanizing persona is diminished (two beauties — Eve (Naomie Harris) and Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe) — land in his bed).

What director, Sam Mendes (“Revolutionary Road”) excludes from Skyfall is fast paced action and heavily choreographed fight scenes. There are a few broken bones, sure, but most of the fights end as quickly as they started and the grand confrontations pale in comparison to previous Bond flicks. What sticks out most in my memory is there is a lot of . . . running, or perhaps jogging is a better description. Running here. Jogging there. Sashaying — in the case of the oddly frightening Silva — somewhere else.

This doesn’t necessarily mean to not run out to see Skyfall. On the contrary, what it means is viewers should temper their expectations: Skyfall is a strong addition to the Bond universe — just a more emotional, less gimmicky one.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Skyfall (2012)' have 22 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 11:53 am Benny

    I saw a sneak preview of this last week and it is the best the franchise has to offer.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 12:16 pm Regulous

    And to think Skyfall almost didn’t get made! So happy to read it does the name proud.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 12:30 pm GraceBland

    Enroute this afternoon to watch.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 12:36 pm Chas

    Still collecting my thoughts on this. On the one hand it is a welcome change, the lack of gadgets or gimmicks kept the attention firmly on the characters and their actions. On the other hand, it is a relatively boring outing. There aren’t many actions for the characters to take and Silva is a weak villain.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 1:12 pm Isaac

    So when you say “Sashaying in the case of the oddly frightening Silva” you are alluding to the fact he is gay?

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 1:44 pm Tom


  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 1:58 pm ElmerFudd

    Kudos for trying to demystify the Bond mystique, I suppose.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 2:21 pm nathanial

    Other than the opening sequence (which isn’t that great), Skyfall is a bust…

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 3:44 pm Dave Dixon

    The plot is so simple it feels like they spent 10 minutes conceiving it. Bond pictures are events and as such I expect more care go into their crafting.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 4:00 pm Vicky

    I like the direction they’re going with this. ‘Bond 24’ shold be a treat.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 4:05 pm Keith

    Better than Quantum of Solace. Not as good as Casino Royale.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 5:02 pm Barb

    Skyfall is more about “M” than it is Bond. This is Judi Dench’s film all the way.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 8, 2012 @ 6:22 pm CrazyFist

    I think it is a good thing they’re switching gears. After 50+ years Bond needs to be re-invented.

    Whether they succeeded or not with Skyfall remains to be seen by me. I’m scheduled to see this tomorrow, so I’ll follow-up afterwards….

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2012 @ 5:29 pm lastnerve

    I think Skyfall is a good way to start Bond off with a fresh slate. Introduce new characters, kill of some old ones and clear Bond’s conscience.

  15. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2012 @ 11:18 pm TinaMarie

    This is an excellent movie. A must watch for any fan of James Bond!

  16. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 10, 2012 @ 11:13 am Spud

    The final act was a significant disappointment. First two weren’t quite as bad.

  17. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 10, 2012 @ 3:34 pm Calila

    Especially during the Pierce Brosnan era Bond became too attached to comical gizmos and an insane amount of luck to get his job done. Forcing Bond to do without either is the best thing that could happen to the franchise.

  18. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 11, 2012 @ 8:18 am Walter Song

    could have done without all the gay innuendos

  19. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 11, 2012 @ 5:04 pm PatrickNebraska

    The gamble Sam Mendes took paid off.

  20. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 13, 2012 @ 2:42 pm russell

    your review hits the high notes good movie just different

  21. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 16, 2012 @ 5:56 pm Eric Day

    I see what they were trying to do with Skyfall, I just didn’t like it. Still far and above better than Quantum of Solace though.

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