The new Bond franchise looked to have already faltered after the dreadful Quantum of Solace plopped onto our cinema screens and so the idea of another instalment left many uninterested. However two things happened since that time; Avatar, with it’s drawn out and ultimately successful ad campaign, and The Dark Knight which changed everything.
Skyfall is a studio film in the classical sense. Marketing-wise it is Avatar, in terms of plot, character and style it is a blend of The Dark Knight and Goldfinger. By adding critically-acclaimed talent like Sam Mendes in the director’s chair, Adele on the theme song and the likes of Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes in acting roles Skyfall may be one of the most contrived and calculated blockbuster films from a marketing standpoint ever made. And yet it works.
Where the Brosnan-era Bond films were just plain ridiculous, Skyfall has a self-consciousness about it that is impossible to ignore, personified in the immense amount of smirking going on in all corners. The dialogue and humour is still cheesy in the old Bond-tradition, but we know the filmmakers are in on the joke. It delves deeper into Bond’s past than any film before it, but it’s self-aware enough to know that weepy sentimental-for-his-past Bond is not Bond at all, and so history is destroyed, attractive girls die and nobody bats an eyelid.
The plot of the film is very simple which usually means there’s lots of room to cram in a bunch of over-edited action sequences (like Quantum of Solace). However Skyfall focuses heavily on the characters and much of the fun of the film is watching the tensions that arise between them, particularly between Bond and M (Judi Dench), who takes on a more significant role here than ever before.
Daniel Craig has proven to be a popular 007. He has the rare talent of looking like a bit of an ape at times but being able to pull off a suit with incredible style. He adds a layer of mystery and opaqueness to a character who could be seen as nothing but a misogynist and a brain-dead thug if he went much further in the anti-Connery direction.
Skyfall is the product of a business-based philosophy about film. Mendes is more of a craftsman than an artist in his role, but what they’ve proven is that blockbuster cinema can reach certain creative heights, and Skyfall is about as good as blockbuster cinema can be. Watch the trailer now on MEG.ie.