Skyfall: S K Y F A I L


Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012)

I’m not a big fan of James Bond film actually, but I’m a big fan of  Sam Mendes’. First time that Bond film is directed by an Academy Award Winner director (American Beauty, 1999). I have some expectation that in Mendes’ cold hand, Bond film won’t only emphasize a spectacular action anymore, but also a strong plot, just like his previous masterpieces (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, & Revolutionary Road). That will be a one complete package. I think I’m pretty sure that he has that capability. But still, this is a Bond film, a prestigious action film.

Well, let’s start it. First, there’s nothing special about the basic story. Stolen agents list concept seems familiar in kind of other espionage films. However, it becomes more thrilling and a little bit dramatic when that incident connects to the test of Bond’s loyalty to M. We’ll never see in previous series before how deep and emotional that relationship. Unfortunately, John Logan, Neal Purvis, & Robert Wade didn’t execute it pretty well in writing script. They should have explored and developed the deep character Bond more emotionally.

The first ten minute is some solid spectacular action sequences as usual. Then, there is some scene which is disturbing my mind. When Eve (Naomi Harris) has a critical shot moment, Bond can hear all conversation between her and M, can’t he? So, why doesn’t he walk out? Considering that’s a risky shot and the villain has an important hard disk, he shouldn’t have done anything by himself. That’s why Eve exists there, right?

Here we go to the opening credit which is characterized Bond film. That’s a really a work of art. The combination between visual art, a destination place description where Bond will go, and (of course) an unforgettable voice for theme song from Adele makes the best opening credit so far.

After that, the plot walks slower and even becomes dull. It’s quite predictable, too formulaic, and even ridiculous. For example, Silva’s planned capture, It seems it takes long and complicated way to kill M. Yeah, I don’t expect some realistic scene here but come on! Why don’t just come to M’s home and kill her directly? Or Explode the MI6 building where M is in there? In order to be able to talk to M, so should Silva make himself captured? That’s nonsense.

Anyway, some jokes are fresh and funny enough, including the conversation between Bond and M in M’s house or Bond and Q when they first meet each other at The National Portrait Gallery. The dialogue interview between Bond and the psychologist is written attractively, so is the Silva’s interrogation to Bond on an island lair.

We also can see some his unpredictable spontaneous move several times which is interesting and surprising. The philosophy of using an old style seems more different than usual which is very good and unique for me. The final scene is one of my favorite. For the first time, Bond has one step forward strategy over his enemy. Then, Bond has a good time enough to prepare the big war. Unlike the previous when he always gets the wrong prediction in the final scene. I think those points sometimes can be the strength of the film. But, then here is my question: why is there no back up?? Is it too personally for Bond to face Silva considering M is Silva’s hunt? I try to figure out any reason, but it still seems too weird and unrealistic for me.

Yeah, it’s all about the plot again, too weak, too formulaic. That’s too bad. I enjoyed the action sequences and the jokes very much, however the weak plot is totally disturbing.

Sam Mendes brings my expectation fly higher. How disappointment when finally I found out that it’s not. I don’t know this is because of the Bond film typical or Nolan’s The Dark Knight inspiration, his style direction is not as usual. As we know that the success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight inspires him directly to make a huge film which is both thrilling and entertaining. We can see clearly there are a couple scenes that remind us of TDK. If you have already watched it, you’ll see what I mean. How shame. His huge ambition is finally falling in execution. Mendes could have directed so much better, with his own style.

For me, Daniel Craig is still the best sophisticate portrayal of Bond to date. However, there’s no something special here. He is still fit, intelligence, and charming no matter what. He needs to try to express something more than anger, something more emotional considering it’s all about his relationship with M and memorize his parents in his childhood ancestral home.

The two Bond’s Girls (Naomi Harris & Bérénice Marlohe) are good looking but their capacity is totally limited. They don’t have a big portion here.

Judi Dench is an exceptional. This is her largest ever on-screen role playing the M character. Finally, her Academy Award class acting is not ignored for nothing. Ben Wishaw is kind of screen stealing. For the first time, the actor who plays Q is younger than Bond. Despite of the small role, he can give a fresh performance through his fine genius expression.

Javier Bardem shows his class. Although it’s not his best character, he can deliver a tremendous performance. What a lunatic -gay- blonde villain! Ralph Fienes and Albert Finney are brilliant choice for their role.

Roger Deakins, 9 Academy Award nominees, creates an outstanding cinematography. It can capture some gorgeous exotic locations beautifully.

Thomas Newman, 10 Academy Award nominees, who is also a Mendes’s most favorite composer creates a different classic score. It’s not his typical score. As we know that Newman always plays piano or percussion on his own scores. Now, we’ll listen almost electronic instrument and orchestral music.

In conclusion, Skyfall has a highest quality cast ever, the most beautiful theme song, and great cinematography. Unfortunately, the poor script ruins everything massively. The direction is not satisfied either. I must say it’s an unoriginal Bond film. It’s mix of Mission Impossible, The Bourne, The Dark Knight, and even Harry Potter. After the spectacular The Dark Knight Rises several months ago, this feels disappointment.

-HW (6.8/10)-

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