. . . . . SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SKYFALL. . . . .
This was Craigs best performance as Bond yet. He wasn't as brooding and was a little bit more fun. We see a range of emotions. His character has certainly matured since we last saw him building upon what we see him become at the end of Quantum. This is the Bond that everyone has been waiting for and he doesn't disappoint.
Girl: Dame Judi Dench as M - 2 tusks
It's hard to decide who is this movie's Bond girl. Is it Bérénice Marlohe as Sévérine, Naomi Harris as Eve, or even Tonia Sotiropoulou? I think that the "main" Bond girl of any Bond film is the girl who is with Bond in the final action sequence. So by that token, M is the clear winner. She is the clear motivation for Bond's actions both his return to action near the beginning of the film and his continuing determination to protect her throughout the rest of it.
And you know what? Why not declare her this film's Bond girl? She deserves it. After seven (good and bad) films, she has always been solid and enjoyable. Here, she was even more spectacular standing up to the bureaucracy with class and panache. And of course, this is her last Bond film. What a way for her to go.
Gadgets: radio and gun, the Aston Martin from Goldfinger - 2 tusks
Light on gadgets once again and that point even gets called out. I will say that while I love a movie with few gadgets, I wasn't a huge fan of the new Q. It was an interesting idea to go younger with him and with the M and Kincade characters already in this movie, Bond probably didn't need another older character to put him in his place like the Q of old would do.
Opening Theme: "Skyfall" performed by Adele - 2 tusks
I like it. It definitely sounds like a Bond song and evokes a more classic Bond feel than some of the other more recent songs. The graphics were strong once again.
Villain: Javier Bardem as Silva - 2 tusks
Bardem is getting a lot praise for this performance. It's the performance that bumps this up to two tusks because otherwise, this seems a lot like a rehash of Sean Bean's character from GoldenEye with a little of Nolan's Joker thrown into the mix. Of course, by the 23 film, any villain at this point is going to seem derivative so that's not really a fair criticism. Making the villain's goal to get to M was nice and this is really the movie that The World Is Not Enough should have been.
Pre-title Opening Sequence - 2 tusks
Pretty exciting chase scene that really got me into the movie. It sets the stage for what is to come, introduces an important character and ends by seemingly killing off Bond which was pretty surprising. I mean, I knew he wouldn't stay dead but how they would get out of it piqued my curiosity.
Finally a Bond film that lets viewers take a breath and get to explore the characters. Casino Royale did that to a certain degree, but it still felt very much like a movie that used those scenes just to transition to the next action sequence. One of the big themes in this movie is Bond's age and how that ties with the changing world. The changing world has been touched upon in movies since Brosnan became Bond, but not so well as it was here.
This is also the most we've learned, in a movie, about Bond's past. We receive confirmation that Craig's version of Bond was in the Navy when M writes his obituary. And in the final action sequence we visit Bond's childhood home, Skyfall Lodge. A few tiny insights are given about him as a child and we also learn his parent's names. This also gives confirmation that "James Bond" is indeed his real name and not an MI-6 assigned pseudonym as many have speculated before.
Finally, there were several clever callbacks to previous movies. I'm sure I didn't catch them all. With this being the 50th year of James Bond, they felt the need to pepper in some references to previous films, old and new. The biggest was the Aston Martin from Goldfinger playing a prominent role in the conclusion. These were done well and not as heavy-handed as when they did the same in Die Another Day for the 20th movie. My only concern is that this becomes something they continue to do as two movies from now will be the 25th film.
This is the first of these reviews that I have done only having watched the film once. This is a film that I am looking forward to adding to my collection and viewing once again to really digest it. It's hard for me to rank it right now, but I would put it in my top tier of Bond films though it doesn't rocket to the very top as others have stated during opening weekend.
I guess this is it until Bond 24 comes out. Although I'm sure there will be more in the way of Bond content to come from Nerd Lunch before then.