Resurrection is the real name of the latest James Bond film, titled Skyfall. Acclaimed director Sam Mendes has done what most thought was impossible; he’s successfully revived the financially struggling franchise. He’s not only made a great follow-up to the disappointing Quantum of Solace, but he’s also managed to make one of the better Bond films. Skyfall is slick, action-packed and exactly the James Bond film that we’ve all been waiting for.
James Bond (Daniel Craig) is briefly taken out of commission. He’s now hanging low while M (Judi Dench) starts receiving dangerous threats from someone from her past. Now, Bond must come out of the shadows and reestablish himself as one of MI6′s most reliable operatives before the entire agency is torn down from the inside out.
The new villain’s name is Silva (Javier Bardem) and he’s taken things to an entirely personal level, forcing M and the rest of MI6 to go into hiding while they figure out a way to bring him in before he kills more people. Meanwhile Bond is still trying to get back into the game, being assigned a new Q (Ben Whishaw) and forced to take orders from a new lead by the name of Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).
Everything comes together as a crafty puzzle, with Bond rediscovering pieces from his past while also shaping his near future. Skyfall might be the least tech-savvy spy film of the recent Bond wave, but it establishes itself as the most personal one right off the bat. In Skyfall we actually get a look at Bond’s past, which ties in appropriately with is current day struggles. Age is a key factor in this specific entry and Daniel Craig proves yet again why he might be the best Bond to date.
Craig takes Bond to new heights by showing us so much more of the character than usual. Bond rarely loses his edge and yet Skyfall is all about exploring the Bond that’s possibly past his prime and ready for retirement. But instead of accepting defeat Craig gives Bond an extra shot of adrenaline, launching the character back into the masses in a big way. Here Bond faces off with one of his most personal enemies yet and while he doesn’t come away completely unscratched he certainly learns from this particular foe in ways that will only steer the franchise into a fresh direction.
Sam Mendes really should be commended for his direction, because no one really has been able to balance that massive scope that we’ve grown to love with the Bond series, while also servicing a good story that drives the characters to unseen corners. It’s refreshing seeing Bond face an enemy that might actually have a leg up on him and even though we almost always know the eventual outcome it’s still nice getting exposed to that element of surprise, even if it’s a brief feeling.
Javier Bardem’s Silva comes with traditional Bond villain flair, spicing up his dialogue with an over-the-top delivery that makes the character frightening and uncomfortable. He shares great chemistry with Craig, which certainly helps increase the tension between the two whenever they share the screen. The only downfall is that Bardem doesn’t even surface until what feels like the halfway point.
Skyfall is definitely a step above Quantum of Solace, but I can’t say that it outdoes Casino Royale. That film still remains my absolute favorite Bond film, but I can certainly see why everyone is claiming Skyfall to be the best. Sam Mendes really makes the film his own, without forgetting Bond’s roots and I think it’s great that they’ve finally found a director that might be able to continue with the series and make one or two more great entries. Daniel Craig clearly still has what it takes to play the iconic character and I’d like to see him back for at least another two or three films.
Sam Mendes and his cinematographer Roger Deakins have made Skyfall a true beauty to behold on Blu-Ray. This 1080p transfer is framed for normal televisions (not going with the shifting IMAX ratios) and yet it still looks marvelous. I’m having severe troubles trying to pick a single frame that isn’t ultra-crisp and incredibly dense. The color palette is full of sun-soaked oranges and vibrant reds, while still maintaining consistent black levels. Bond films usually feature an exotic location or two and this one is no exception. Deakins captures each and every location through his lenses like no other. I’d love to see the film blown up to its IMAX ratio, but this transfer will do just fine until that option is available.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is a Bond-lovers delight. Explosions, explosions and more explosions fill up the channels, with gunfire and trademark smooth-talking Bond dialogue filling in the cracks. Even the faintest of sounds can be heard without ever turning up the volume.
The following special features are spread out across this combo pack:
- Commentary with Director Sam Mendes
- Commentary with Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and Production Designer Dennis Gassner
- Shooting Bond (HD)
- Skyfall Premiere (HD)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
- Soundtrack Promotional Spot (HD)
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
- Digital Copy
- Sneak Peek (HD)
Is Skyfall the best Bond film ever released? Probably not. Is it even the best Daniel Craig-starring Bond film? I wouldn’t say so. But it is a much more well-rounded film than Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and a few other more recent Bond films. Director Sam Mendes completely takes charge of the film and turns what could have been another decent, but forgettable Bond flick into something special. Skyfall‘s a big and bold return for a character that we almost lost for a while due to some financial problems over at MGM.
Daniel Craig will always remain the biggest driving factor for the success of the current films and it pleases me to say that he’s managed to make the character even more iconic in this one. For once we’re given an actual look back at Bond’s past, without spending too much time wallowing in it. Mendes cleverly ties things together with the use of a memorable villain played with exceptional range by Javier Bardem. Bardem and Craig are electric in their brief moments on screen together and one of my biggest complaints with the film would be the lack of screen time for Bardem.
Other than that Skyfall plays out just fine. It’s a good film that manages to be great in some areas, while never sinking as low as Quantum of Solace. The Blu-Ray disc is a must own for Bond fans and downright purchase for everyone else, because Fox has loaded it with some hearty bonus material, while also paying extra special attention to the picture transfer and audio track. It’s one of the first Blu-Ray discs of the year that’s a must-own.