‘Skyfall’ Restores James Bond to Former Glory

Nathan Fisher

This year marks the historic 50-year anniversary of the James Bond franchise (remember Sean Connery in the 1962 classic “Dr. No”?). Not surprisingly, I had no problem convincing six carloads of friends to attend the midnight premiere of “Skyfall,” the 23rd Bond movie, starring Daniel Craig. And we were certainly not disappointed!

“Skyfall” takes James Bond (Daniel Craig), the studly British spy, around the world, dresses him in sleek suits, and then throws hot women, unforeseen evil and racing trains in his path, pushing our hero to and beyond his breaking point. After being shot off a train, Bond is presumed dead but is alive and enjoying a life in retirement lubricated with alcohol (sacrilegiously Heineken, iced; not a martini, shaken). When M (the classy and amazing Judi Dench), the matriarch of M-16 and Bond’s boss, is being tormented by her past, she looks to Agent 007 for help. After seeing an explosion in England on the news, Bond “returns from the dead” and tries to help M by resuming his life as Agent 007. With a slight alcohol problem (thankfully, back to martinis) and having lost his edge as a trained killer, Bond travels the world, tries to recover his mojo, and defies death in his mission to protect England and M.

Thankfully, “Skyfall” does not make the same mistakes as the villain-less and unsatisfying “Quantum of Solace,” and showcases a Bond-worthy archenemy, Silva (Javier Bardem), who torments M and 007. Bardem is key to the success of “Skyfall” because he fully embodies his creepy, weird villain role and simply oozes insane evil. Intense action and a high body count follow in Silva and Bond’s wake. “Skyfall” again departs from recent 007 movies and highlights old standards from past Bond movies, including the gadget-filled Aston Martin (I want one!) and writing pen bombs. Having Q (Ben Whishaw) back to work in the gadget and computer department is a welcome infusion of lighthearted humor. Daniel Craig still plays his version of James Bond, but “Skyfall” seems to make a conscious attempt to lighten up and show a more human side of the world’s top super-spy.

All in all, the great cast (including a much-needed villain), the intense action and the beautiful scenery combine to make “Skyfall” one of the best Bond movies of all time. A movie night with martinis, “Dr. No” and “Skyfall” would be simply awesome!