Skyfall (12A rating)
Director : Sam Mendes
This 50th anniversary Bond movie is a long, loving glance backwards. Set mainly in the UK, its plot revolves around M (Judi Dench) as her past catches up with her. I hope I am not going too far into spoiler territory by saying that this movie does not involve some of the mad, bad, globally mobile underworld villains that Bond has had to deal with in the past, more a sad madman (Javier Bardem with a bad hair day) hellbent on revenge.
There are great chases and stunts, stunning scenery and cinematography, long loving, lingering camera shots of London, Glencoe and Bond's car and lots and lots of bullets. Bullet wounds, single shots, missed shots, small guns, big guns, bullets spraying all over the place, in fact... we get the message, this is a very man's man Bond movie.
There is the gorgeous Bond girl (Berenice Marlohe), her role as diaphanous as her lacy gown. She's the victim of the sex trade and human trafficking and, for a moment I thought here is a very modern plot for Bond but no, she is dispatched with quickly; for all Bond's recent gritty realism, it seems gritty, real issues are not a cinema seat filler.
There are quite extraordinary complex action sequences and beautifully crafted images that linger on the screen making the movie long and with half an hour of Bond merchandise adverts beforehand to sit through, choose a cinema with comfy seats! There are the odd throw away one liners but not enough to alleviate the leaden bullet fire and for the first time in ages in a Bond movie, I was nostalgic for THAT eyebrow to lift the mood.
The Bond franchise has to work doubly hard to grab the imagination of an audience grown up with Bourne, 3D non-stop action movies and console games and in this movie they have succeeded, my teen kids gave the new Bond movie four out of five stars, praise indeed.
Great cinematography, fab opening credits and song (Adele) and lots of Bond memorabilia make this a good, solid movie. For me, the baddie was too mad and not nearly bad enough and a big belly laugh to match the big bangs wouldn't have gone amiss but Daniel Craig is carving out a thoroughly modern Bond for the internet generation and I look forward to the next two movies. Four out of five stars.