photoSo a new James Bond film, eagerly anticipated by almost everyone given the 50th anniversary celebrations which led to such an overdose of reportage on the BBC that several accused them of overstepping their boundaries and moving into promotional territory. But also of interest because Sam Mendes was directing, bringing a different sensibility to the franchise. And finally how was Daniel Craig going to do after what has been quite a long gap (4 years) since the last film?

Now, I love the James Bond films but was pretty disappointed with The Quantum of Solace as I said here; when the best remark you can come up with after a film is to ask your husband whether he spotted the restaurant you had lunch in in Siena then you know something has gone amiss. So I will admit to being a bit wary of Skyfall.

But I needn’t have worried; this was a bit of a corker.

So, film starts with a classic set-piece action sequence in Istanbul which was absolutely riveting and ends (this is not a spoiler as pre-opening credit sequence) with Bond seemingly out of the picture. We switch back to London where MI6 in general (the lovely iconic building that I go past on the train on my commute into the office) and M in particular are under attack from someone she knows from the past. Cue return of Bon and the usual globe-trotting, high-tech spycraft that we have come to expect.

What I liked about this film:

  • they don’t try to pretend that Craig is younger than he is, and use his aches and ennui and longer recovery time to good effect (although he still looks fabulous in a suit)
  • Ben Whishaw as Q is fantastic – their first meeting in (I think) the National Gallery is very cleverly done
  • Judi Dench is brilliant once again, showing a vulnerability and uncertainty to M as her enemies (both political and actual) close in on her
  • The whole denouement in Scotland that wasn’t really in Scotland (apparently)
  • Albert Finney and my complete failure to recognise him at all
  • the development of Ralph Fiennes’ character which I thought was really well handled
  • and of course the opening sequence and Adele’s theme song which is very pseudo-Shirley Bassey, and I will forever consider that when the sky falls we should let it crumball…….

So all in all this bodes well for the future. There were some adverse comments on Twitter and elsewhere about the circumstances in which one of the female characters met her fate, which a number of people (mostly men from what I could see) found distasteful. It didn’t bother me at the time, and looking back I see no reason to re-examine my reaction. As far as I am concerned James Bond is totally unreal (even as they try to make it grittier); it’s a cartoon that just happens to have real people in it. And it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the film. YMMV.

Looking forward to seeing this one again at some point.

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