Review: Skyfall (2012)

skyfall poster white

“I know I can’t do this job forever, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to leave the department in worse shape than I found it.”
– M

MI6 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission to hunt down a mercenary named Patrice (Ola Rapace) and recover what he has stolen – a computer hard drive that contains details concerning undercover agents placed in terrorist organisations by NATO states. However, he is unsuccesfful when M (Judi Dench) orders Eve Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) to take a shot at the target, even though Bond is wrapped tightly to him. Eve takes her shot, and Bond goes down, falling from the moving train into the rapids below. Patrice escapes with the drive, and M gets a lot of flak from Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the Chairman for the Intelligence and Security Committee. They want her resignation, and are forcing it upon her, though all M wants to do is fix the wreck that has been caused in the wake of Bond’s death and Patrice’s escape.

Daniel Craig

“Just look at you, barely held together by your pills and your drink.” – Raoul Silva

On the way back to MI6 headquarters, M’s laptop is hacked and the signal is traced back to her office. In a rush to get back and apprehend someone, M is stopped in time to see MI6 headquarters explode. Bond catches a news broadcast on television where he has been recuperating and returns to London immediately, and M is furious that he did not make contact when he recovered. He is still angry with her for insisting Eve take a dodgy shot and wounding him. The blame can go on endlessly. Bond is an absolute wreck, both his body and mind are deteriorated and he is drinking excessively. M agrees to put him back on active duty provided that he passes all the MI6 physical and psychological evaluations again.

Bond does dismally at his examinations, though M lies and declares him fit for duty. Some shrapnel from Bond’s wound assists in identifying Patrice, and Bond is sent off to Shanghai to recover the hard drive with the undercover agents’ names on it and execute Patrice as well as identify his employer. In Shanghai, Patrice executes a man and scuffles with Bond, leading to his death. Bond knows nothing of Patrice’s employer, but has another clue to follow up on. Bond heads to Macau, where he meets with Séverine (Bérénice Marloh), who was present at the assassination that Patrice was sent to carry out. Bond tries to work it out of her who Patrice’s employer is, and eventually he succeeds. Bond is taken to Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), originally birthed Tiago Rodriguez. He was once M’s cream of the crop, but nowadays dedicates his time to cyberterrorism and is very good at it. Bond, however, outsmarts Silva’s capture with the radio transmitter that the new Q (Ben Whishaw) provided him with, and Silva returns to Britain a prisoner.

Javier Bardem

“They kept me for five months in a room with no air. They tortured me, and I protected your secrets. I protected you.” – Raoul Silva

Trouble starts soon after captivity. Silva’s laptop infiltrated MI6 systems when Q plugged it into the network, and Silva escapes. With an incredibly clever disguise, he makes his way to M, who is in the midst of a public enquiry, intent on killing her for his perceived betrayal of her. Bond saves M, inadvertently kidnapping her, making sure that Q lays a path that only Silva can follow. The mission is definitely off the books, and M places her life and trust into Bond’s hands. Bond takes M to his childhood home, Skyfall, where they enlist the help of the gamekeeper, Kincade (Albert Finney).

skyfall bond and m

“Orphans always make the best recruits.” – M

Will Bond be able to protect M? Will Q successfully map a way to Bond that Silva will be able to follow and suspect nothing? Will Bond be able to deal with his past demons and return to his roots to protect a woman he holds as dear to him as that of a mother?

An 8/10 for Skyfall. This was another solid entry to the Bond collection, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. While this movie was distinctly different from every other Bond movie, it just worked. I thought Daniel Craig did a bloody excellent job of coming back as Bond, washed out, bitter, angry and drinking far more than he needs to. Javier Bardem provided a truly genius Bond villain, and was simply amazing to watch. He had it all, excellent. Ralph Fiennes was a very welcome edition, I truly do enjoy him, and he was worthy of the way things went down. The latest Q is also something fascinating – Ben Whishaw takes it up a notch and modernizes the Quartermaster’s position entirely. A lot of this film focuses on M, and Judi Dench again delivers a fantastic performance, and the relationship between her and Bond has changed very little – still very much like mother and son. A lot of the story focuses on her, and it is a welcome addition. Skyfall gives us another look at Bond prior to rising up to his 00 status, and is executed well. The action at Skyfall itself is phenomenal, and it didn’t let up, the story never ceased, and the characters were ever present, no matter the circumstances. The humour that was featured was not over the top, but very witty and sharp as it came along. The intro for Skyfall is definitely my favourite of them all, and was just absolutely stunning to watch. This was a good way to celebrate fifty years of Bond, I must admit. However, I am pretty depressed that my Bond run has finally concluded. I was seriously getting used to the idea that I would have a Bond every week for the rest of my life. Oh well, now we wait for the next installment.

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32 thoughts on “Review: Skyfall (2012)

    • Zoë says:

      Thank you. Ah, there are good movies, mediocre ones and plain down bad Bond films, but they are worth the watch. This one was gorgeous, though still not Casino Royale, which is my favourite by far of all of them!

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      • jjames36 says:

        As it happens Casino Royale is one of two others I’ve seen. I’m not sure which was more beautiful, but I enjoyed Skyfall a touch more. Both Bond and M are so human in it.

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      • Zoë says:

        I am assuming your other Bond would have been the other Daniel Craig one, Quantum of Solace?

        Casino Royale had the tighter story and a far better Bond girl and highlighted Bond for who and what he is. It showed us a darker, grittier Bond that was far more realistic and psychologically adept at being human.

        Skyfall focused very much on M, and did so very well, as well as bringing Bond into her story, highlighting some more the mother/son relationship between them.

        Both were simply amazing.

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      • jjames36 says:

        That’s a very fair critique of both and an excellent comparison between the two. I don’t know. Maybe I just like Judi Dench a bit more than Daniel Craig. That could be the real reason I like Skyfall a touch more. 😉

        And no. The third is The World is Not Enough. It was the first Bond flick I ever and remained the last until Skyfall. Denise Richards murdered any interest I might have had in Bond. I only watched Skyfall because it was nominated for Best Cinematography last year. (Quite by accident, I was very close to seeing every nominee for the major Oscar categories last year. Once I realized as much, I figured I might as well complete the gamut.)

        Someday I plan to see some additional Bond flicks. Should Quantum of Solace be on the list?

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      • Zoë says:

        Judi Dench is phenomenal, both as an actress as well as M. But Daniel Craig owns the role of Bond.

        Ah The World Is Not Enough was alright, not very bad, not brilliant either. Denise Richards was dreadfully cast and did not work in it even remotely, and I can understand how that would have had you steer clear of the franchise. You should check out Timothy Dalton’s Bond flicks, they were also pretty good.

        Ah, nice way to go through them all, nice little challenge (even though you only realized later on into it you had actually embarked upon the journey).

        Quantum of Solace is great to watch after Casino Royale because it closes off the Vesper story very well, and shows how Bond gets back into the 00 job again. It is pretty good, though it is no Casino Royale or Skyfall. As I said the two Timothy Dalton ones are also ok (Licence To Kill and The Living Daylights), AVOID the Roger Moore ones, they really just didn’t work for me.

        It is actually really nice to watch them from Dr No all the way through to Skyfall – even the bad ones. It gives you a whole new outlook and appreciation of the franchise as well as the character. It is also interesting to see how the times have changed over the years.

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      • jjames36 says:

        I doubt I’ll ever make time to see all of them, but the originals and Quantum of Solace (now) are on my list. I’ll get to them someday.

        Finishing the Oscar nominees last year was an interesting experience, that’s for sure. Made watching the award show feel different than it ever had before.

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      • Zoë says:

        🙂 It is quite a thing to undertake to see them all, I do agree, but it is fun (just never Roger Moore’s era).

        I am sure, so much more involved!

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  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Zoe. While the last-act did feel like something ripped out of Home Alone, I have to say, this movie was still a fun ride nonetheless. Let’s hope James Bond movies from now on continue to be like this, if not better.

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  2. coolone160 says:

    Haven’t seen this one yet;but your review makes me eager to watch it very soon! Judie Dench and Craig’s evolving relationship is driving factor for me.
    Let’s hope they rope back Daniel Craig for the coming Bond flicks……………..

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  3. Nish says:

    Good review. This movie is coming on TV this weekend, I have set up the recording, and I can’t wait to watch it.

    Incidentally, Casino Royale came on last night again, and I enjoyed it all over again. It’s really classic, and I loved the interactions between all the main characters – Bond, Vesper, and Mathis.

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  4. ruth says:

    Hi Zoe! This is a solid Bond flick indeed, I like that it went back to Bond’s origins, I’m glad I didn’t know what Skyfall was referring to before the film. I like that M had a bigger role here. But overall I’m with you that I still like Casino Royale best from Craig’s Bond films.

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    • Zoë says:

      Hi Ruth! I am also glad Skyfall meant nothing to me initially, and I had no idea what was coming. I also thought it was great to see M get more screen time and story.

      Ahhh, Casino Royale is not going to be an easy film to top.

      Like

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