Thursday, November 22, 2012

Skyfall – James Bond for the 21st Century

Skyfall – James Bond for the 21st Century

James Bond and I have grown up together. Over the last 50 years the franchise has evolved with the times and somehow manages to remain fresh and relevant.

Nearly every aficionado of the series has a favorite Bond. Purists insist that no actor can equal the savoir-faire of Sean Connery. Connery is 2nd on my list. And please – no allegations of blasphemy – Daniel Craig is the Bond for the dawn of the 21st Century – a Bond who exudes a pure animal magnetism combined with the cold heart of an operative sworn to protect and serve England. Collateral damage is just a fact of life. But please, sir, do not abuse fine Scotch whiskey in the process.

At 2 hours and 23 minutes Skyfall is a modern movie marathon. The typical contemporary moviegoer does not have the attention span necessary to enjoy a movie of that length.  But this film delivers a tour de force of action, evil -doers, angst, comedic moments, suspense, melancholy, regret, introspection, and reflection on experience versus youthful physicality, hard choices, pragmatism, compromise and stoicism. For me the movie delivered the essence of Bond.

In many ways Skyfall returns us to the to the roots of the series. It is visually stimulating. The cinematography is spectacular. The evildoer Silva, as played by Javier Bardem, is a master of psychological manipulation, a computer genius, and one with knowledge of the inner workings of MI6.  He makes one feel the need for a shower while he was on screen.

There is little need for the gadgets created by the Q of old. This Bond is physical albeit less a superman than he was in his prime. He still runs like the wind, leaps like a cougar, and fights like a ninja. There is a theme throughout Skyfall that having experienced operatives on your team is a necessity, that youth with computers and satellite monitoring devices cannot replace the knowledge acquired by years of fieldwork.  It is a theme that resonates with those of us who have followed Bond over his 50 years on screen.

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