“The old ways are sometimes the best.”
This refrain in “Skyfall,” the third James Bond film of the Daniel Craig legacy, gives anchor to the overlying theme to the film: after fifty years in the business, Agent 007 is a classic character who still has a lot to give.
The film follows Bond as his loyalty to M, the director of MI6 and played by Dame Judi Dench, is tested when a person from her past reemerges to unleash a devilish plot against her. Bond follows a trail through China before the fight is taken back to his home turf in London. The fresh perspective of director Sam Mendes, the inclusion of stellar actors Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem, and the fast-paced, captivating plot help make this Bond flick arguably the best of the Craig trilogy.
The movie begins in Istanbul. In the opening scene, Bond and his female cohort are chasing a man named Patrice, an employee of the main villain, who has just stolen a computer hard drive with the secret identities of every undercover MI6 operative. The pursuit begins in the streets, moves to the rooftop of the Grand Bazaar (the Hagia Sophia looms majestically on the skyline), and resolves on the roof of a moving passenger train.
Bond is locked in hand-to-hand combat with Patrice while his partner watches from a ridge through the sight of a rifle. When M orders her to take any shot she can get, the bullet misses Patrice, hits Bond, and hurls Agent 007 into the river below.
Bond lives as a presumed dead agent in a haze of sex and booze until he sees the aftermath of an attack on MI6 headquarters aired on the news. The disaster places M in questionable standing with the English government and brings Bond back to London. The two partner up to hunt down and bring in the maniacal Mr. Silva, played by an eerie, bleached version of Bardem, before all of the identities of the M16 agents are revealed. The rest of the plot focuses on Silva’s personal vendetta against M.
Daniel Craig is more comfortable portraying the mysteriously stoic hero his third time around, and the writers and director have finally caught up to the acting prowess of the entire cast, making “Skyfall” more entertaining and captivating than “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.” Bardem portrays a villain worth being frightened of, Dench gives her best Bond performance yet, and the addition of Fiennes gives promise to many more exciting films to come.
“Skyfall” brings classic Bond into the 21st century in a very exciting way. The English government, the hipster-esque character Q, and even the main villain want to bring Bond and the entire practice of using field agents down by calling them antiquated and outdated. The film seems to be calling out to critics of the Bond dynasty by saying that Bond is still here. He’s just as strong as ever, and he has new tricks up his sleeve.
Bond isn’t going anywhere. If anything, he’s getting better with age.