SKYFALL – The Bond Franchise Lives to Die Another Day

These strange times call for some quality content streaming. Here at Salty, we’re bringing you our favourite films from the archives. I’m trying to convince The Kernels to let me call this series “Vaulty Popcorn”. So far, my puns have fallen on deaf ears (of corn). Salty originally reviewed SKYFALL back during it’s release in 2012. In chatting with The Kernels, we can’t seem to agree about who actually penned the original. It appears our review was mysteriously dropped from the archives. So here’s a fresh one for us. Enjoy my retro review – Kernel Claire

Released by the special agents at Sony Pictures, SKYFALL is rated M. It’s available on DVD/streaming services – it’s 156mins of pure escapism from the odd global goings-on right now.

The Iconic Aston Martin returns to SKYFALL with Daniel Craig as James Bond

BY CLAIRE SMITH

SYNOPSIS:

While in pursuit of a stolen hard drive containing sensitive information that could risk the lives of several MI6 agents, Bond suffers from friendly fire and is pronounced dead.  The information from the hard drive is leaked and MI6 is under threat of attack. Bond performs a miraculous (albeit unexplained) resurrection and returns to London to report for duty once more. National security is under serious threat, and the agency is facing an enforced shutdown. 007 must pursue and eliminate this vengeful villain, no matter the cost.

RECEPTION:

SKYFALL is the 23rd instalment to the Bond franchise. In the UK alone, SKYFALL whalloped Box Office records. In it’s opening week, it eclipsed HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 to secure the biggest 7 day gross in UK box office history. The record has since been pushed aside by a little film called THE FORCE AWAKENS. Critics reviews were generally positive when this title released. It’s listed as a Must See on movie aggregate website METACRITIC. It’s also Certified Fresh on RT.

Javier Bardem’s portrayal of villain Raoul Silva will leave you shaken (not stirred).

BOND STRIPPED BARE:

SKYFALL was Daniel Craig’s third mission as the suave suited, super-sleuth James Bond. Craig remains the only 007 to take a bullet since Sean Connery copped one to the leg in THUNDERBALL. Bond must first complete the gruelling rehab process and re-pass the MI6 agent field tests before he can be marked as fit for duty. 

Stripped back from the whimsical gadgetry of previous Bonds, there’s no exploding pens, no Geiger-counter watches. 007 is tasked with tracing the stolen hard drive to its source. His mission is to prevent more lives being lost as a result of the leaked information.

Javier Bardem (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA) plays the peroxide-mopped villain Raoul Silva unsettlingly well. His misshapen face and commanding demeanour lend themselves superbly well to this calculated mastermind. No secret underwater lairs or volcanic hideouts in site; this angered antagonist has a tortured back-story and is after something more personal than world domination – revenge. Javier brings a certain calm to this character that makes him seem downright predatory in his stillness. 

An example of the reflective visual delights that cinematographer Roger Deakins brings to the film.

NERDIER THAN THE AVERAGE BEAR:

The gadgetry gatekeeper and security-code cracker, Q has returned to the Bond family. It’s the character’s first appearance since John Cleese’s representation in Pierce Brosnan Bonded 2002 flick DIE ANOTHER DAY. 

Played by Ben Whishaw, (MARY POPPINS RETURNS, PADDINGTON) Q is a younger imagining of this character than we’re used to. More breathy than brusque, Whishaw’s overconfident and slightly smarmy hacker role serves to brief us on the mission. He provides the necessary MI6 branded gizmos and ruffles a few of 007’s feathers in the process. His character seems extra cuddly since seeing the PADDINGTON series. You can’t help but side with the smug little nerd.

Dame Judi Dench and Daniel Craig’s iconic view of the Scottish moors.

J-DIZZLE DAZZLES:

SKYFALL is as much M’s story as it is Bond’s. They share their onscreen time with a tender but gruff chemistry. 

M, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service is once-again played by Dame Judi Dench (THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, NOTES ON A SCANDAL). Dench is equal parts cold and cunning in her seventh portrayal of the role. Realising that taking a risky and un-clean line of shot was the only option to possibly recall the stolen hard drive, it’s M who gives the final order to take the shot. Field agent Eve (Naomie Harris – 28 DAYS LATER, MOONLIGHT) pulls the trigger and causes 007’s presumed death at the film’s opening. 

With MI6 under fire (both metaphorically and literally) M must prove that the agency is indeed a necessity in this advanced age of computer wizardry and camouflaged network attacks.

Dame Judi Dench as M

FEAST YOUR EYEBALLS:

Some fans have argued that the storyline is a little lax in SKYFALL. To an extent I agree. But honestly, if you’re coming to a 007 film just for the story, you’re into the wrong genre.

One of the most outstanding elements to SKYFALL is the vibrant colour-palette and bold lighting effects put in place by cinematographer Roger Deakins. (BLADE RUNNER 2049, FARGO) Deakins treats the set pieces to luminous washes of colour, accentuated by naturally lit characters and pleasing reflective effects. The result is a sumptuous retinal feast, which makes the film absolutely delicious to your eyeballs.  

MISSION DEBRIEF:

You might be a lifelong espionage-enthusiast of Britain’s favourite secret agent. Maybe you’ve only been witness to a couple of his missions. You don’t have to be a “Dr No-it-all” to recognise a few of the tributes interwoven into the script as a nod to the 007’s of old. The film is just so well paced and so neatly put together. It’s a cinematic flagship of photographic excellence and has been hailed as some of the best Bond work of recent times. Perfect escapism for these troubling times. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Stay home and get your eyeballs on SKYFALL.

KERNEL CLAIRE’S POP SCORE:

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE:

KERNEL JK’S POP SCORE:

YOUR CRITIC:

Kernel Claire has been writing for Salty Popcorn since 2011 and has recently stepped in to the editor’s chair to help out with publishing the Kernel’s collective reviews. When not hand-modelling for Kernel Jason’s food-reviews, Claire can be found scootering through Sydney at a reasonable, defensive driving speed; or fussing far too much over her little black rescue cat Baxter.

Claire has worked in the Australian Cinema Industry for almost 20yrs and loves it the most when she can report “sometimes I get paid to watch movies”. She’ll pretty much attend any event that includes a lanyard.

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.