Skyfall – Old Dog…New Tricks


Bond…James Bond…the ubiquitous catch phrase has resonated across generations…50 years to be precise. The books and movies revolutionized our views our perceptions our interpretation of style, class and action. The Gadgets, the girls, the cars, the bikes, the stunts are all cult-worthy. For that matter, even the name is Cult!

The Bond filmography gave birth to legions of inspired piece of cinema. The countless pseudo spy thrillers churned out across the world have drawn inspiration from this cult. Our very own Agent Vinod was an unabashed copy of a number of Bond movies. Even the background score had a similar ring to it!

Sam Mendes Skyfall is in a way an ode to this cult – A tribute to the classic Bond. Now let’s be honest with ourselves, the gadgets we used to see in the old Bond movies just cannot fit in the current generation or the generations to come. The plot lines and set pieces of the past are copied and recreated to death countless number of times. Just how then would one make a Bond movie in the current scheme of things!? How would you re-create a genre!? That’s what Sam Mendes I feel attempts with Skyfall. He goes against the tone of Bond movies. Sam’s Bond is brash and weak. He is getting old; he still does have a few tricks up his sleeves though. His gadgets are taken away from him and well in a way this bond is without powers, without charm, without….well his mojo…But this Bond is un-tiring, has conviction and has the smarts to make a living! He is an Old dog with new tricks!

This time around, the signature credits chase sequence atop a moving train ends with Bond in the crosshairs of a fellow agent played by Naomie Harris. She shoots and misses; the bad guy she’d aimed to kill escapes, carrying a digital drive with the names of dozens of undercover NATO agents, while Bond falls off a bridge and goes missing. In London, M works on Bond’s obituary while the spy himself takes advantage of his presumed death to cash in some R&R on a tropical island, catching up on his drinking and anonymous woman–fucking. Then MI6 headquarters is bombed, a simultaneous cyber-attack reveals that the stolen drive has fallen into the worst hands possible, and Bond reports for duty, toting a piece of shrapnel/evidence in his chest, which gives MI6 a head start on smoking out the enemy.

Flying from Shanghai to Macau, Bond gets up to the usual daring escapes, but the movie’s peak is his confrontation with Silva (Javier Bardem). A catty dandy, Silva taunts Bond about the “unresolved childhood trauma” that turned him into 007 material. In Skyfall, even the Bond villain is obsessively determinist. Sam Mendes pits this Bond against a smart and un-defeatable villain. He takes away his pride, his strength and provides him with ample amounts of weaknesses and then just makes him play. It’s like a rat in a caged maze with a time bomb up his ass! Much like the Joker of Dark Knight! By the way, I like this current trend of matching the villain with the hero. It brings out many fun confrontations. I just hope it’s not overdone.

Plus the villain’s side of the story is also explored as much as Bond’s. That’s the strength of Sam Mendes to explore and analyze relations, the emotions attached to it and why people become what they are.

Five decades after the first cinematic incarnation of 007, novelist Ian Fleming‘s agent, the spy-craft in the new film is sharper, the intrigue deeper, the beauties have more brains and bare less.

Much as Skyfall is a tribute to the Old Bond, it is also a tribute to London. Much of the action happens in and around London and not only the rural but also the suburbs the scenic out of towns. The locations are beautifully shot by cinematographer Roger Deakins. The Scotland marsh lands, the shanghai sky scraper set pieces are all serene and have a tone of emotions attached to it. The color tone resonates the emotions and of the characters on screen.

Daniel Craig portrays Bond brilliantly. He isn’t a charmer, but has the right amout of Brawn and cheekiness to make James Bond his very own. He proves once again, that he isn’t Brosnan, he isn’t Sean Connery, still he makes Bond feel ultra-cool. Judi Dench probably shares more screen time this time round, and it’s definitely good news for the audience. The jovial banter between her and Bond is electric. Javier Bardem is positively sinister, menacing to say the least. Even with his outlandish hair style and the hilarious use of the word “pop” he manages to drive home his wrath.

For many Skyfall may not be the best Bond movie, but for me it is, it’s a fitting tribute to an icon. Its triumph is in the fact that in the end, Bond still rules the spy thrillers. Even after 50 years! It’s a classic piece of cinema, brilliantly executed by Sam Mendes. Watch it just to experience the true James Bond….”POP”

Rating:

Direction  :  5

Cinematography :  5

Acting  :  4

Music  :  4

Action  :  4

CGI  :  3

Total  :  4.1

IMDB Link : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1074638/

Trailer :

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2 thoughts on “Skyfall – Old Dog…New Tricks

  1. Pingback: Skyfall – Old Dog…New Tricks « Life in Technicolor | Site Title

  2. Good review. Quantum of Solace was a huge step-down for the franchise, but thankfully, this one takes it back up to where it was with Casino Royale and hopefully it stays there because it’s just so much damn fun.

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