James Bond shoots for the sky in ‘Skyfall’

Brent Bader, IV Leader columnist

It has been 50 years since James Bond was first shown on film with “Dr. No” and almost 60 years since he made his debut in English literature with “Casino Royale;” now we have 23 official films and James Bond is still as strong as ever with his latest outing in “Skyfall.”
This is the third film since the James Bond cannon was rebooted with “Casino Royale” which chronicled Bond’s first double-0 assignment and gave the universe a more realistic feel.  Those 50 years have not been easy on Bond with a few missteps here and there such as the last installment “Quantum of Solace,” but it is safe to say that “Skyfall” stands tall among the better installments in the series.
“Skyfall’s” premise is fairly basic with MI6’s secret agent list being stolen by a terrorist cell led by Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem, and an assumed dead James Bond returns from his brief retirement to chase the list down.
Daniel Craig and Judi Dench return as James Bond and M respectively and give fantastic performances, most in part due to the increase in M’s role in the movie and the various scenes that the two share together which accentuates their professional relationship.
The rest of the supporting cast works well together and Bardem’s character makes for a classic Bond villain, one which draws many similarities to other recent and popular movie villains, such as The Joker and Bardem’s performance as the shotgun-wielding psycho Anton from “No Country for Old Men.”
The plot continuously touches on the idea of no longer needing a Bond in the current world where most work is done behind a computer and not on the field, which is an interesting idea given the series 50th anniversary.
There are also a lot of references and jokes made about the quirky gadgets and villains from the series history for the 50th anniversary but, while funny, they don’t necessarily work in this rebooted universe at times feeling forced or unnecessary.
Surprisingly, one of the best aspects of this film are its cinematography as a few of the scenes were shot beautifully.  Great use of lights and shadows create memorable imagery, such as an intense fight scene that only show their silhouettes due to the neon lights in the background.
The third and final act is quite slow compared to the fast pace of the rest of the movie; however, it is used effectively to give us a short look at James Bond’s past and is a small bump on an otherwise smooth road.
“Skyfall” is a great film and one that should probably please James Bond fans of all generations and fans of action movies in general.