On being stirred and shaken by Skyfall

I don’t often review films on the blog – mostly because I have three children and therefore almost never see films until they’re several years old and everyone else has already reviewed them.   I also suspect that any film review I’m likely to write will be skewed towards the positive by the fact that I’ve actually left the house and enjoyed a storyline with Adult Themes.   With this disclaimer in mind, I’d like to discuss just how much I thoroughly enjoyed Skyfall.

I’m really not a fan of shoot-em-up blockbusters, but I can be persuaded to sit through a Bond film thanks to the vicarious exploration of exotic locales they offer.  The 50 year old super spy franchise is a visual feast if you’re hungry for colourful bazaars, snow-covered mountains and places where animals travel on public transport.  Skyfall is no exception, with the action moving from high above Shanghai to down below London as the camera pans seductively around the city skylines.

I’m usually a pretty lazy Bond tourist, switching off from the fine details of spy versus spy and letting a cooler version of myself roam the cities, drive the cars and wear the clothes.  Skyfall, though, had me genuinely engaged; barracking, even.  It has much more psychological depth and far fewer girls whose names start with Pussy.  Javier Bardem’s villainous Silver is quirky and complicated, whilst Judi Dench’s divine diva M displays strength and dignity to rival any of Bond’s heroic qualities.  Both offer stellar performances that left me shaken and stirred in just the right measures.

There are girls, of course, but they come and go quickly this time.  Bond doesn’t waste much energy on damsels in distress here; rather the damsels worthy of energy expenditure are his colleagues and mentors, who are pretty handy with a pistol themselves.   Bardem is a deliciously psychotic adversary for Bond, but the hero is also fighting the ghosts of his own past, his awareness of his own mortaility, and the physical toll taken by his advancing years.  Even a super fit super spy gets older, and there are many references made to field work being a ‘young man’s game’.  In fact, even the office work is being overtaken by whipper snappers as the new Q comes in the form of a cocky young boffin.

But despite a few creaky joints and tender bullet wounds, Bond takes us on the anticipated wild ride with exploding buildings, geeky gadgetry and fast cars.   The appearance of a classic Bond vehicle was met with an audible gasp from the men in our cinema; a touch of retro class symbolic of Bond’s journey into his own traumatic past.   I have never read a Bond novel, but my husband (a fan) tells me there is more substance to the character in the texts.  This is the first Bond film I’ve seen that reveals anything about his childhood and I really enjoyed the added substance that sub-plot introduced.

Daniel Craig as Bond oozes style.  He has the cleanest shave I’ve ever seen and wears a suit just as well as he wears nothing at all.  He lets us imagine a world in which metrosexual men are strong and honourable, even if they do swap women as often as they change bespoke briefcases.  Importantly, in this film, he lets his guard down and even sheds a tear during a positively Shakespearean finale.

OK, so I may be going easy on Skyfall due to my extreme gratitude for a night out, but if you see only one mindless action movie this summer, make it this one!   It’s not, in fact, as mindless as many other examples of the genre (I’m looking at you Cruise) and the cinematography and special effects are nothing short of spectacular.

Here’s Adele to give you a taster. Enjoy!

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StJLvbPIvTw’]


Ps. I really loved this song when it was first released until my sister told me the chorus crescendo sounded too much like a whiny child.  I can’t get that out of my head now!  What do you think?


11 comments for “On being stirred and shaken by Skyfall

  1. January 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I was really pleasantly surprised with Skyfall. (My husband dragged me out to see it). I liked the action but I must say, the Bond girls and the roles they play is getting a little bit old. Especially how they always end up being the sacrificial lambs after sleeping with him. Please.
    I liked the song too. (Again, a surprise). Although being a big Duranie my favourite Bond song will always be “A View To A Kill”…ahems 🙂 x

    • This Charming Mum
      January 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Oh, View to a Kill will always be the greatest theme song – no question there. I know NOTHING about cars, but I know what a Bond Aston Martin looks like thanks to knowing John Taylor used to own one. Obsessed? Who me?

  2. January 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I really want to see this so I’m pleased that it will be worth the wait!

  3. January 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    OK you’ve convinced me. Husband wants to see it. Looks like I might have to give in and go along this weekend.

  4. December 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Great review. Sounds like you had a better experience than I did with The Hobbit.

    • This Charming Mum
      December 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks, sounds like the special effects may have been better!

  5. tanya gill
    December 30, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I have been a Bond fan for a long, long time and fully agree with those calling this the ‘best Bond film ever’! Daniel Craig, mmm,mmm – he is definately on my ‘to do’ list 🙂

    • Kasper Beaumont
      December 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Oh Tanya! You’d make a beatiful Bond babe too 🙂

    • This Charming Mum
      December 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      I’ve only ever seen the odd film here and there, but even forgetting the franchise I really enjoyed this film. Daniel Craig is not really my type (how crushed he must be!) but he’s certainly great in the role.

  6. Kasper Beaumont
    December 30, 2012 at 7:30 am

    It’s definitely a Bond classic. There really was a lot to love including the new insights into familiar characters. I thought the ‘getting on’ theme a bit repetitious, as surely when Daniel Craid gets too old, he’ll be reincarnated like Dr Who. I like Moneypenny and think that Q has potential. We loved the locations too, particularly Scotland. It’s nice to hear that you had some grown-up time. It’s great to escape for a couple of hours 🙂

    • This Charming Mum
      December 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Wasn’t the Scottish scenery fabulous? We had a few road trips on long stretches of highland just like that too. Lovely memories 🙂

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