Skyfall – Review (Spoiler Free)

So the rumours really are true; James Bond is back on superb form. Skyfall really comes across like a Bond film of old; it has a classic feel to it that’s really endearing, and yet it still feels strikingly fresh and original. The cast is excellent; with Daniel Craig being at his best yet, Javier Bardem is as good a villain as I had hoped as he alternates between being camp and menacing with ease, and then Judi Dench, who is always fantastic in the series, now gives us her absolute best performance as M. As for the supporting cast; Naomi Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, and Ralph Fiennes are all very good in their respective roles, and Ben Whishaw does a great job of taking over the legendary role ‘Q’, it will however take a couple more films for me to really adjust to the changed dynamic between him and Bond. Something that I hadn’t really picked up from the trailers was just how beautifully shot this film is; there were multiple moments that were extremely noteworthy, and Skyfall is consistently presented with both great style and a richness in colour that I wasn’t expecting from a Bond film. There are however a couple of lines of dialogue which jar a little, with it occasionally seeming as if they were setting their sights on the theatrical, without considering a sense of realism – but then again it’s a James Bond film, I can forgive it for that.

The whole film is underscored by a great sense of humour, with the fun having been brought back from the original series, so much so that until now I hadn’t realised just quite how serious the previous two have been, particularly Quantum of Solace. But don’t worry, Skyfall never feels cartoonish or as if it’s played just for laughs, but instead strikes a great balance between its humorous and then more serious moments. It also manages to inject a sense of jeopardy into the mix which is very welcome, and the action scenes naturally benefit from this addition. Also the merciless quick-fire editing that plagued Quantum of Solace’s action scenes is gone, and instead we are back in a position where we can actually appreciate what’s happening and enjoy it.

Skyfall pays homage to the series infinitely better than Die Another Day did, and even though there are a couple of slightly weakly executed references, they’re always fun and generally very well handled. It also achieves that difficult task of providing lots for a Bond fan to notice and enjoy, without sacrificing neither overall quality, nor the comprehension of more casual Bond fans. More generally speaking there are the occasional scenes which feel somewhat disconnected to the rest of the film, but they are few and far between and don’t really harm Skyfall. There are several little niggling criticisms that I have with the film, and yet in the wider picture they don’t amount to all that much.

In case it’s not already clear; I absolutely recommend that you go and see this one, in fact the sooner the better. If you were unsure about going after having seen Quantum – take it from me, this one is in a completely different league. It probably helped that I saw this in a small packed theatre on the first available showing, but there’s a real sense of occasion to Skyfall. It really captures the celebratory feeling that it aimed for, and consequently the very appreciative crowd that I sat with cheered, clapped, and then was silent in all the right places, making this one of the more unforgettable cinematic experience that I’ve had. I’m not saying it’s a perfect Bond film, but it certainly up there with the best of them.

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19 comments

  1. I can’t wait to see Skyfall. It doesn’t come out here in the US until November 9th, but I’ve heard some great early buzz on the film. Nice review.

    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it when you get to see it. Do you reckon that you’ll be writing a post on Skyfall?

      1. Probably on the 10th or 11th. I’ve heard some great things about it and I’m really excited.

    2. Cool, I’ll look forward to reading it then!

  2. Fantastic post, I can’t to see Skyfall now.

    1. Ignore comment above, I meant to say I can’t wait to see Skyfall. keep up the great reviews man.

      1. Thanks Vinnieh, I hope you love it as much as I did!

  3. Great review. This one’s opening around here on Friday :) Excited!

    1. Cheers, Ah I’m almost jealous that you still have yet to see it for the first time. I was ridiculously excited as the lights went down in the theater!

      1. As I’m sure I’ll be in a couple days as well! haha Hope it doesn’t disappoint.

  4. Amazing review, you actually made me want to watch this one :O
    Never seen a bond before, good job! :)

    I’m trying to make a review blog my self atm :)

    1. Awesome! Well if you ever do get around to seeing it I hope that you like it :D

      I’ve just been checking out your blog, and it looks pretty great! Just followed you :)
      Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Yeah i noticed! :) Thanks very much :)

        Hope to get more followers so I can begin to do more fun stuff about movies than just reviews :P

  5. My audience was also very verbal in their reactions. Whenever something (like a car for example) made an appearance there were lots of gasps and sounds of recognition. It was a really enjoyable time at the movies. Best James Bond adventure with Daniel Craig so far.

    It was absolute torture waiting for this film to open here. I saw it immediately, then posted a review – all within hours. I just couldn’t wait.

    1. Ah I had such a good time watching Skyfall! I still rate Casino Royale above it though, but the two are very close. Glad that you enjoyed it.
      I just wonder how on earth they are going to follow this one up?
      Thanks for commenting.

  6. Nice review. Sorry its taken me so long to get back around to it…. release calendar differences, you know?

    “Something that I hadn’t really picked up from the trailers was just how beautifully shot this film is; there were multiple moments that were extremely noteworthy” I couldnt agree more with that, I had to draw attention to them too. The orange framing around Bardem in the finale, the sinking frame when Dench surveys the coffins… many more too.

    I would disagree (not on the calibre of the film, its great) that they brought a lot of the fun back to it. I think they put one scene in to try that (The Casino with the Kimodo dragons) but aside from that I found it still pretty dark.

    That aside, this is a great flick. Crazy, crazy good. Action films dont get much better than this.

    1. No it’s cool, sorry I’ve taken several days to actually respond to you.

      Glad that you agree about the film’s direction and visual flair, it was really quite beautiful at times – so much so that it was almost troubling to see a Bond film looking so pretty!

      Really? I mean I agree that it gets very dark at times, and that it consistently has a dark streak running through it, but I thought that generally speaking the film was also very funny. The quips during the underground sequence for example, or the humor mixed into Bardem’s performance. Also Bond ‘s interactions with both M and Q…

      But yes you’re right, this is a fantastic Bond film – one that’s right up there with the best of them.

  7. moviewriting · · Reply

    Great review! I only just got around to seeing this so have avoided many reviews. I needn’t have worried about avoiding yours though, nice to see another spoiler free fan :) I really enjoyed Skyfall and completely agree with you, it’s so much better at paying homage than Die Another Day was!

    1. Thanks I really had to work hard to ensure that this was spoiler free, and that I hadn’t accidentally given anything away!
      Oh yeah it was so much better than DAD was!

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