Sam Mendes’ new Bond film SKYFALL starring Daniel Craig just premiered in London and early reactions are overwhelmingly positive so far with some calling it “the best Bond film ever.” More after the jump!
When Bond’s latest assignment goes gravely wrong and agents around the world are exposed, MI6 is attacked forcing M to relocate the agency. These events cause her authority and position to be challenged by Gareth Mallory (RALPH FIENNES), the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. With MI6 now compromised from both inside and out, M is left with one ally she can trust: Bond. 007 takes to the shadows – aided only by field agent, Eve (NAOMIE HARRIS) – following a trail to the mysterious Silva (JAVIER BARDEM), whose lethal and hidden motives have yet to reveal themselves.
First reviews are in:
DailyMailUK: Skyfall opens with a bravura kick-ass pre-credits sequence that could win a best short all-action Oscar all by its beautiful self if such an award existed. Two new operatives, played by Naomie Harris and Ben Wishaw, help 007 tool up to get after the bad guys and I have to tell you that Bardem turns Silva into one helluva Mr. Bad-ass. Mendes has done a marvelous job and Craig is superb — looking super cool in a Tom Ford suit– as a Bond who’s still looking suave after 50 years giving pleasure to all. Skyfall was a fantastic combination of 007 meets Bourne meets Spooks meets Home Alone.
Digital Spy: Skyfall’s clean, direct narrative, blistering action sequences (a neon-lit Shanghai showdown deserves to be singled out) and strong performances across the board elevate it to the upper end of the Bond movie spectrum. Bardem, who created such a memorable screen villain in No Country for Old Men’s Anton Chigurh, repeats the trick with Silva. He’s camp, creepy and reptilian, and his first encounter with Bond is enough to make you laugh one moments then squirm the next.
Den of Geek: Skyfall’s so well paced, in fact, that it’s easy to miss that all the things we’d expect are still in place – there are exotic locations, glamorous women in expensive dresses, explosions and car chases, but all presented in a manner which feels surprisingly fresh. Once again, the way Skyfall is shot plays a key role in this – Roger Deakins’ cinematography is unusual and striking, adding drama and artistry to familiar action sequences. One scene in particular, a moment of suspense silhouetted against the surreal, acid colours of a neon sign, is quite breathtaking. Perhaps influenced by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Skyfall has a sweeping, Wagnerian sense of epic scale and foreboding.
The Telegraph: Sam Mendes’s frequently dazzling, utterly audacious entry in the franchise has less in common with its much-loved predecessors than Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. After its release in 2008 (when it left Quantum of Solace, the 22nd Bond film, trailing in its wake), Nolan’s pathbreaking superhero picture almost single-handedly reconfigured the modern blockbuster template. Like a wise old dog, 007 has studied it carefully, and learned some new tricks.
Evening Standard: Right from the first sequence, a chase through Istanbul that channels Bourne and The Italian Job, it’s got moments of pure joy for the buffs. The only drawbacks really, are that the girls – the very pretty Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris – get next to no good lines, not much in the way of jokes and little in the way of action, apart from fluffing up a shooting.
Guardian: How best to celebrate 50 golden years of the James Bond film franchise? Skyfall thinks it knows how: by laying out the bunting and putting on a show; by booking a delicious villain in Javier Bardem’s high-camp terrorist and arranging a glorious globe-hopping jaunt for the revellers. All of which works terrifically well up to a point. Except that Skyfall then falls prey to a common failing of many 50th birthday bashes: it allows sentimentality to cloud its judgment and loosen its tongue. In so doing, it risks blowing James Bond’s cover for good.
Independent: Mendes has gone back to basics: chases, stunts, fights. At the same time, he has subtly re-invented the franchise, throwing in far greater depth of characterization than we’re accustomed to in a series of films that are often proudly superficial. This is a risk. If you try too hard to make Bond films meaningful, you risk straining away the fun. However, even if the film does occasionally pull in opposing directions, Mendes is largely successful in combining the action schtick with the soul searching.
The Sun: British director Sam Mendes knows what has made Britain great since the first Bond film came out in 1962 and that is being cool. This film is stylish, witty and a class above the competition. It’s also irreverent about its past.
Daniel Craig again proves himself to be a great Bond. When he takes on burly henchman you really believe he has both the brains and brawn to win. And that he has the energy to get through all the explosions, chases and brutal punches which will leave audiences breathless. Joining Craig in Skyfall is the most impressive set of actors and actresses ever assembled in one Bond film. National treasure Dame Judi Dench puts in her best performance as MI6 boss M, whose past comes back to haunt her.
Yahoo UK: The tone is so different to ‘Quantum of Solace’ that it almost feels like a reboot of the franchise, one that ironically has the confidence to celebrate all that is best about the a British icon. It’s also tightly plotted, action-packed and relentless, without an ounce of narrative flab on it. We think ‘Skyfall’ is a future classic. 5/5
the Playlist: But it’s not just Bond who gets some added depth; this is the closest that a Bond film’s ever come to being an ensemble piece. Judi Dench is virtually a co-lead, while Bond’s support team of Harris, Rory Kinnear (returning as M’s number two), Ralph Fiennes (as the ambivalently priggish civil servant Mallory) and Ben Whishaw (a particular stand-out as the new Q) all get significant screen time. They’re not Kenneth Lonergan characters or anything, but all are engaging and enjoyable presences in their part, and help to make the film seem a little more substantial. Even femme-fatalish Bond girl Berenice Marlohe gets some fleshing out (no pun intended).
Flickering Myth: Set pieces all throughout Bond’s 23rd adventure are full of heart-pounding tension, drama and conflict. The only issue with Skyfall’s presentation of the baddie is there is too little of him – Bardem laps up every scene with his cattish tongue and impacts the story with great omnipotence and is sorely missed when off screen.
The Arts Desk: This could be the best Bond yet: light on sex, heavy on storytelling, hard on action. This is 100 percent pure Bond – a distillation of beauty, action, surprises and locations. Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins ASC BSC put their collective heads together and blow our minds. Because, beyond the truly amazing stunts and a running theme of “sometimes the old ways are the best”, this has to be the best-looking Bond film – and more kudos is to be heaped on Oscar-winning cinematographer Deakins for shooting this instalment in such a way that it looks like an Oscar-winner already. A Bond film that looks like an Oscar-winner? Yes.
Unleash the Fanboy: Javier Bardem will undoubtedly be the actor that grabs the headlines as he creates a theatrically weird, yet believable villain, coming across at times as a mix between The Joker and Hanibal Lectre.