Skyfall (2012) a (right on time) review

So, the new James Bond film Skyfall:  Good or bad?

Would you believe…both?

Usually when I settle down in my theater seat and watch a film, I tend to soak in what’s going on before me.  I try not to be too terribly judgmental of the things going on…unless, of course, there’s just no way to avoid critiquing them.

In the case of Skyfall, it is a credit to director Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig, and all those in front of and behind the cameras who delivered a movie that it moved as well as it did.  In fact, so well did it move that with one exception, it wasn’t until after the movie was over that I realize the screenwriters delivered a truly underwhelming, ultimately silly story.

How silly?

Well, to get to that I do have to go into…


Still here?

All right, here goes:

The entire plot of the villain of Skyfall, Javier Bardem’s Silva, is to kill Judi Dench’s M.

That’s it.

That’s all.

OK, if you want, you can add to the fact that Silva also wanted to destroy her career as well.  But that secondary goal was achieved fairly early on.  No, she wasn’t completely repudiated in the MI6 circles, but she was already being pushed into retirement as a kindness by her superiors.  Her career was effectively done.

Thus, when Bond shows up unannounced in her flat (so much for security!), it could just as easily been Silva there to kill her.  Had he been there instead of Bond, the film would have been over close to two hours earlier!

Still, at that point we as viewers weren’t aware of Silva’s endgame.  Instead, we get some great scenery as Bond gets back into the service after being thought dead (death and rebirth are a big subtext within this film).  He follows an assassin and winds up meeting the beautiful Severine (Bernice Marlohe) who eventually gets Bond to Silva.

Severine’s story winds up being the one truly sour element of the film to me while first watching it and before realizing what the whole story entailed.  Her total screen time runs to little more (perhaps even less!) than ten minutes and Bond’s flippant comment following her death was needlessly cold (he showed more emotion to the loss of his Goldfinger Aston Martin car than to her!).  Yet in that brief time with her I felt she should have had far more to do than be a tragic messenger delivering Bond to Silva.

What a missed opportunity!

But getting back to the film in general:  Yes, the plot/story ultimately is so small scale and full of logic flaws that I can’t blame some for hating the film outright.  Yet I can also sympathize with those who love the film because the fact of the matter is that this film moves like lightning and entertained me to the point where I only considered most of its defects after the fact.

In the end, I recommend Skyfall.  It may not be among the all time best of the Bond films and the villain’s goal may be underwhelming, it is nonetheless a pretty good ride.