Skyfall (2012), 12A, Director: Sam Mendes

We're not big Bond fans at Screen Scenes. Bond's corny. He's outdated. He's BORING. Skyfall has changed our agenda. It's a GREAT movie as it's not a Bond movie. Confused? Then please read on...
Of course Skyfall IS a Bond movie, we can't ignore that - silly!, but what director Sam Mendes has accomplished is to make a superb, tense, thrilling film that stands up on its own legs; action, wit, conflict, a sad bit, and that all important denouement. It just HAPPENS to be a Bond movie. And Daniel Craig is just a bit good in it. As is Javier Bardem. And Judi Dench. And Naomie Harris. Everyone's bloody good, okay!
Skyfall starts with a bad-ass opening chase sequence in Istanbul, where Bond (Craig) and a baddie ride some motorbikes erratically and MI6 agent Eve (Harris) is ordered to 'take the shot' when they have a duff-up on top of a moving train. She shoots the wrong person*, D'OH, and Bond falls into a river...we presume to his murky depths death. Cue opening credits with some sexy Jägermeister/Queens of the Stone Age 'Go With The Flow' type graphics.
This film is really about M (Dench) - as well as being Bond Origins, but back to that later - and she's a tour de force. She's asked to retire, but won't go without a fight, and with M16 targeted by a bomb (a kapow scene!), she's as feisty and as resilient as the ornament bulldog on her desk. Later on in the movie, she needs Bond's protection and seems as fragile as a little grandmother...or mother. Mother...mother, as Skyfall is also about Bond's childhood and upbringing. There are many parallels between Skyfall and Batman; Bond is a little orphan boy lost, with both his parents dying when he is a child. Skyfall is his Wayne Manor. His motivations, the way he acts, the way he is with women, every woman he loves he loses, all now makes sense.
In Skyfall Bond has a very chilling adversary in the form of Silva (Bardem), a cunning and loner cyberterrorist who was also once a brilliant agent like Bond but M pissed him off. He's now back after M and will stop at nothing to get to her, treating her - like Bond - almost as a mother figure too. But Mummy LET HIM GO to the bad men! So he swallowed a cyanide capsule which didn't kill him, it just disfigured his face and made his insides all wrong. Another parallel with Batman; a villain who has been disfigured and has beef, like Harvey Two-Face.
Skyfall takes us to some fantastic locations; there's a great high-rise fight sequence in Shanghai, a fun casino/monitor lizard (the Bond of old!) scene in Macau, and bringing the action to London is also pleasing for the UK audience - "look, I know that bridge!", "He's on the tube, he's on THE TUBE!". The stakeout at Skyfall, Scotland, is where the tension really heats up; it's almost supernatural/Woman in Black-esque as dusk hits and Bond, M and a nice old man await Silva and his cronies. There's a big Western/stakeout feel too, with a little bit of Night of the Living Dead thrown in there for good measure.
And when the sky falls, and it all crumbles, it's pretty beautiful. And heart-wrenching. And nooooooooooooooooo! They didn't just do that, did they? They did.
For Screen Scenes to want Bond back in a flash, this is real talk. We're getting serious. We salute you Daniel Craig, you wear a suit well, and Sam Mendes, we hope you're back soon for another adventure.
*the only problem we have - you don't put baby in a corner, and you definitely don't put Harris behind a desk. She'd better kick-ass in the next one.
5/5 martinis, shaken et al