Skyfall, expectedly, has all the James Bond movie ingredients: cars, gadgets, snazzy locations, stunts, and of course, girls. Sam Mendes brings these ingredients on screen in quite a different way with Q, played by Ben Whishaw as the essential tech geek for all field agents, and M, played by Judi Dench as the MI6 boss. Oh, and we can’t forget the stunning Severine and Eve, played by Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris. Surprisingly, both Marlohe and Harris play an unusually minor role in the movie as Judi Dench, age 77, takes on the more major role.  Dench’s unusual role, however, does little to take away from the thrill of the movie; in fact, her businesslike character does much to set the somber and intense tone of Skyfall.

Accompanied by Adele’s thrilling yet haunting song, Daniel Craig battles it out with his opponent at Skyfall, a rural setting that produces an overwhelmingly intense scenery as the fight climaxes. Starting off as an unsteady shooter and a man too old for his job as an MI6 agent, he fights this last explosion-packed scene with the skill and rigor of the true agent 007. In addition, not only does Skyfall show the inherent adeptness and sharpshooter skills of Bond, but it also evokes the classic James Bond of 1962. There are no laser guns, sticky gloves, tracker bugs, or tranquilizer rings – a simple radio chip and handgun are Bond’s “gadgets”, while a disadvantageous situation later in the movie leaves him with hunting rifles and a knife. Daniel Craig’s crisp and serious portrayal of Bond, along with his Aston Martin DB5 car, add the last touch to bring an entertaining, hair raising, and Sean Connery-like vintage feel to the movie that I now realize that the past Bond movies starring Pierce Brosnan lacked.

Bond’s opponent, on the other hand, is far from the character that is expected from a back-to-classics movie. The villain of Skyfall: he is Silva, an ex-MI6 agent who seeks revenge for a past betrayal that left him with a hidden but horrific deformity, as well as years of torture and imprisonment. Slightly unhinged from the betrayal of a woman who thought him as her favorite agent, Javier Bardem’s Silva is a convoluted character: affectionate yet hateful, harmless yet insidious, and comical yet deadly serious. His attacks start slow and indirect with system hacks and ends with a barrage of gunshots, grenades, and fiery red explosions. He is the character that adds an interesting and colorful touch to the vintage movie. What better opponent for a classic Bond than a slightly insane, Joker-esque hacker with plenty of gunpowder?

It has been fifty years since the release of the first James Bond movie. Starting with Dr.No, starring Sean Connery, the movies have come a long way; it is truly amazing to watch the black-and-white film of Dr. No and then compare it to the recent Bond movies of this generation. Through the 23 movies and 6 different James Bond actors, the bond franchise has gone through numerous variations and differences. The classic Bond through the years has often varied in movies from a techno-gadget man to an unctuous agent with overdosed sex appeal. Skyfall, in its deliberate release 50 years after the first Bond movie, masterfully brings the classic James Bond right back on track while keeping it modern and entertaining in the name of Bond –  James Bond.

by: Monica Kim

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