The combination of Die Another Day and Daniel Craig’s ears pulled me away from the Bond series I loved so much as a kid. But after enjoying Daniel Craig and his ears in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the horrid memories of Die Another Day now faded out, I felt it was time to go back to Bond. And I’ve jumped in at what seems to be a turning point for the series.
M (Judi Dench) is starting to make mistakes in her old age as she issues an order which goes awry. Intel on MI6 agents undercover has been stolen and as Bond (Craig) attempts to get it back in an overblown opening featuring bikes on train, he ends up shot and out of action thanks to M demanding agent Eve (Naomie Harris) to make a shot. Bad shot. With Bond absent from duty, M just doesn’t know what to do when a mad hacker blows up the MI6. Thankfully Bond is strong enough to survive bullets and so ends up on the case to track down this mad man, though he is a little rustier than usual.
The story starts with plenty of world travel and spy work, though once the big bad Silva (Javier Bardem) enters the story takes a turn for the personal. It’s a deeper tale than what’s usually offered in a Bond film, and it manages to mix the gritty angle with the charm and explosive set pieces one comes to expect from the franchise. Though how long we’ll be expecting this is hard to say, as Skyfall seems adamant that these old traits are on their way out. It pays homage to past films with nods to exploding pens, classic cars and the like, some being slightly tenuous, most working as crowd pleasers. Then burns them all away. It’s slightly worrying for the future as these homages make up some of the best moments, though for now Skyfall keeps a perfect mix of old and new.
Though while the mix is perfect, the components aren’t. Bond is meant to be wrecked, unable to fire a clear shot and spending most of his time on the drink, but aside from a couple of scenes he makes it through every situation fighting fit. He’ll be duking it out in an amazing silhouette scene with floating jellyfish in the background, then they’ll remember he’s meant to be a bit more rubbish than usual so they’ll have him suddenly screw up. It’s inconsistent, much like the super Joker like Silva who has everything perfectly planned out, then descends into a blubbering mad man. The pieces don’t always fit together, though they only interfere if you stop and think. Otherwise, it’s a constant barrage of style, action and homage.