Somewhere around 2004 or 2005 I became good friends with a fellow film buff and James Bond novel enthusiast. We would talk about movies, specifically genre films like WWII movies, Kung-Fu movies, and Film Noir. Whenever we would talk about movies and writing movies the conversation would seem to always veer to Ian Fleming and how “pulpy” his James Bond novels were. Where I was creatively at the time hearing about these stories was music to my ears!
When the news broke that the James Bond franchise was going for a reboot approach with doing a faithful adaptation of the very first Bond novel CASINO ROYALE, my friend and I geeked out! The film came out and I became a fan.
So many Bond films so little time that it wasn't until after the release of QUANTUM OF SOLACE that I finally decided to start at the beginning with DR. NO and watch them all. Being more of a film buff I have found a deeper appreciation for the popular franchise. This year marks 50 years of James Bond and the 23rd Bond film SKYFALL both of which I have embraced with open arms.
SKYFALL is the best Bond film in years! So it's better than CASINO ROYALE? Sure, but I consider CASINO ROYALE a different kind of animal where it's something like Year Zero and SKYFALL is Year One. This is the "new standard" to carry the franchise into the future much like how GOLDFINGER did and was imitated but never quite duplicated.
Director Sam Mendes did not just set out to make a good James Bond movie he set out to make the best James Bond movie ever. Whether he did or not is entirely up to you but in my opinion he did. SKYFALL's opening scene will be a talked about favorite among fans for years to come, that motorcycle chase is just amazing! Adele's song is also an instant classic, I rank it as my third favorite behind Goldfinger and Live and Let Die.
In SKYFALL the agents of MI6 are in jeopardy after a hard drive containing all their identities has been stolen. 007 is on the hunt to get the information back but after a bad judgment call Bond is believed to be dead. Months pass and the future of MI6 continues to hang in the balance with a terrorist seeking revenge on M. A failed assassination attempt on M brings Bond out of hiding and reinstated to find whoever is responsible.
This brings us to the best Bond villain in years and probably my favorite since Auric Goldfinger. Raoul Silva (played by the always great Javier Bardem) is the quintessential Bond villain. If James Bond had a arch nemesis it would be Silva. So much better than Blofeld by a long shot.
To wrap things up I'll leave you with checklist/report card on SKYFALL:
Theme Song: “Skyfall” - Adele (5/5)
Opening Credit Sequence: (4.5/5)
Bond Girl: Berenice Marlohe – Severine (3.5/5)
Naomie Harris – Eve (5/5)
Bond Villain: Javier Bardem – Silva (5/5)
I love SKYFALL and with this “new direction” for the next 50 years it gets me pumped for what the future may hold! Just like they did with Sam Mendes I hope the producers continue bringing filmmakers that want to make the best Bond film they can possibly make. It's no surprise that director Christopher Nolan is a big fan of James Bond so it goes without saying that I want a Christopher Nolan James Bond film!