August 7, 2013

Building a Better Bond: SKYFALL

Whether watching the movies on Sunday nights as a child or reading the original Ian Fleming novels as a teenager, it's hard for me not to deny the influence of James Bond on my life.

In fact, when I reread a few novels last realized, I hadn't realized how hard-boiled Fleming's conception of Bond when I caught Skyfall on DVD, I was not only pleasantly surprised, but relieved.

This, really, is the James Bond for the 21st century.

From the pre-credits sequence to the end of the trailer, Skyfall is pretty much wall-to-wall action, but what makes it a companion piece - and endgame - to Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace is that it firmly places Bond in a contemporary context. While the character was originally created within the midst of the Cold War, he is now almost a slightly tarnished knight errant, one who "fights in the shadows" against enemies who cannot easily be determined. It's a film whose subtext makes Bond easily fit within a post 9/11 context without seeming too forced....and yet as if Fleming himself wished it.

This is also one of the best shot Bond films that I remember - Sam Mendes does quite an excellent job in directing this film. Not only are the scenes incredibly good looking, but there is a great sense of pace, timing, and the film never feels overly long. (Yes, it's one of those two-and-a-half-hour films that modern Hollywood loves to release on a regular basis). The acting is strong, the music is gorgeous....

....and quite honestly, although I've loved Bond, I have to admit that Bond films of the past ten to fifteen years have left me cold. Skyfall has reignited my bromance with Bond.

And with Skyfall, we have a James Bond who is timely, ready for action, and who shows great promise.

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