007 in 23: Final Assignment #023- Skyfall

ASSIGNMENT #023: Skyfall (2012)

After going through twenty two features and covering nearly five decades of James Bond, it is finally time to approach the much anticipated release of this year in time for the 50th Anniversary of James Bond in film…Skyfall. After four years of wondering if the franchise would ever comeback due to the bankruptcy of MGM and seeing if Daniel Craig can don the suit again, Skyfall seemed like a dream. Now it is here and I’m ready to write about it.

Warning: Due to it being a major recent release, this will be very spoiler heavy. I may have a non-spoiler review out soon.

Now, onto Skyfall…

James Bond and MI6 field agent Eve (Naomie Harris) are on a mission in Turkey to recover a hard drive containing the details of nearly every undercover NATO agents in terrorist organisations from a murdered agent. Bond and Eve are in pursuit of the killer and mercenary Patrice (Ola Rapace), across Istanbul (once again, not Constantinople) leading to Bond and Patrice fighting on top of a train in which Bond gets shot on the shoulder. Bond tries to retrieve the hard drive, but is shot when Eve misses the killer while sniping from a distance. Bond falls off the bridge and falls into a river below and is pronounced dead.

The end…the hell it is! This is Bond, dammit.

He is considered “missing, presumed killed”. Three months later, M (Judi Dench) starts to come under fire to retire while meeting with Intelligence and Security Committee Chairman, Gareth Mallory (Ralph Finnes), when suddenly MI6 is hacked with a message reading “Think_of_your_sins”. M arrives to MI6, alongside Bill Tanner (Rory Kinnear), as MI6 explodes killing MI6 employees. Bond returns to London after hearing about the attack while using his “supposed death’ as a retirement. Bond starts to train again to fully return, nearly failing a majority of his test, but passes regardless. Bond also meets with his new Quatermaster aka Q (Ben Whishaw) who gives him a Walter PPK which can read his hand to identify him and a radio tracking device. Bond took shrapnel from his shoulder wound to find Patrice and seeks out Patrice in Shanghai. While Bond is away, M sees that three agents have been killed after their identities are exposed for the world with more to be released. Bond tracks down Patrice in Shanghai and witnesses him assassinating a target and proceeds to fight with him. Bond hangs him from the building demanding him to reveal his employer, but slips out of Bond’s hands before telling him and dies. Bond searches through the equipment to find a gambling chip that has ties to a casino in Macau. Bond heads to the casino to cash in the chip and meets a woman named Severine (Bernice Marlohe), waiting for the chip to be cashed to meet the killer and informs him that he is about to be killed. Bond says he will promise to kill her employer who has abused her if he can make it passed her boatyards (which, being Bond, does even giving one to a Komodo dragon to feast) and plans to meet her on her boat. He arrives on her boat, makes love to her, and awakes the next day for Severine and himself to be captured and delivered to her employer, Raoul Silva aka Mr. Silver (Javier Bardem). Silva holds Bond and proceeds to tell Bond he is behind the entire ordeal being a former MI6 agent who worked under M and hold her responsible for his torture and imprisonment in China. Silver challenges Bond to shoot a shot off of Severine’s head, but Bond misses. Silver kills Severine, causing Bond to beat the crap out of Silver’s gaurd and calls upon helicopters with his radio to capture Silver.

At MI6’s new underground base of operations, Q starts to decrypt Silver’s laptop while Silver is imprisoned. As this is going on, M is attending a hearing to defend herself in a public inquiry of her handling of the recent events. As Q decyrpts Silver’s laptop, it hacks back into MI6 causing Silver to escape into the London Underground as part of his plan he had. Bond starts to pursue Silver who is disguise as a policeman. Silver tries to kill Bond with a train (yes, a freakin’ train) and heads to the hearing starting a shootout to attack M. Bond arrives to join Eve and Mallory to fight Silver off as M escapes with Bill Tanner outside. As Bill Tanner put M in the car, Bond is inside ready to help her escape. Bond, knowing the new MI6 vehicles have a tracking system, decides to use an old friend to help them escape…the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger, complete with all the gadgets. Bond and M head straight out of England and into Scotland to his childhood home, Skyfall, which is home of memories that made Bond the man he is today. Bond instructs Q to set up an electronic trail for Silver to follow and Mallory supports the idea.

At Skyfall, Bond and M meet Kincade (Albert Finney), Bond’s caretaker and gamekeeper to the Bond family estate who help M and Bond set up traps for Silver and his men when they arrive. Once they arrive Bond, M, and Kincade fight off the wave of attackers, where M is wounded by a gunshot on her side. Thinking they are in the clear, Silver arrive in a helicopter for a second wave of attack with explosives and pure gunfire from the air and land. Bond tells M and Kincade to escape via a secret passage way to a chapel within the house. Bond then fights off against the men, uses the DB5 guns at one point, as Silver starts to launch incendiary grenades at the place. As the Aston Martin is destroyed, Bond sees this and detonates to gas canisters to blow the place down. Apparently, trying to kill bond’s allies will just make him angry, but blowing up the DB5 will send him into a furious rage. The blast of Skyfall going down in flames causes the copter to crash and kill Silver’s men. Silver sees Kincade’s light up ahead and follows it to get at M, all while Bond arrives at the frozen lake. The last man of Silver begins to fight Bond on thin ice, causing them to fall into and Bond kills him under the ice. Silver makes his way to the chapel and grabs M, but notices she is bleeding rapidly. He place a gun to her head and his head next to M’s forcing his gun into M’s hand to finish them both. Bond arrive to kill Silver, but sees it is too late for M as she dies from her wound. Bond returns to MI6 and receives the final gift of M’s from Eve, which is a toy bulldog he hated. Bond heads to the new MI6 office where Eve reveals herself as Eve Moneypenny (Yes, that just happened) who decides to be the newly appointed M’s secretary who is now Mallory. M gives Bond his next assignment which he kindly accepts. what that assignment is, we will find out when the time comes. The film ends with the gun barrel sequence which proudly pronounces 50 Years of Bond declaring that James Bond will return.

Skyfall is in a simple word nothing short of spectacular. After fifty years of providing thrills, Bond hasn’t lost his edge and is looking to move forward with dazzling performances, great set pieces, terrific story, and becoming something new by celebrating the old. Javier Bardem as Mr. Silver is chilling giving a terrifying performances while hamming it up a bit with some camp gay qualities, but nothing to overboard. Judi Dench in her final performance as M is the perfect cap to her take on the character providing depth into her role becoming the best M for Bond. Berenice Marlohe in her brief amount of screen time is also great, but I would have liked to see more. Naomie Harris as Eve is fantastic and hope to see her take Moneypenny come full circle in the future, alongside the always terrific Ralph Finnes who can deliver a new M for a new age of Bond. Ben Whishaw as Q I also hope to see more of as being the new hipster version of the Q I love, but just like Desmond Llewelyn, not missing a bit of snark. Daniel Craig at this point has set out to be the best Bond and I am proud to say, the man deserves the role being up there with Connery and proving himself as a gifted actor coming into the role with ease. The story is tense and suspenseful with moments that have you on the edge of your seat from the opening teaser Istanbul chase to the raid on Skyfall, it never fails to disappoint. The quieter moments of the film give atmosphere and dedication to the story I haven’t seen since From Russia With Love and adding new layers to the characters we already love. Skyfall feels like the ultimate love letter to James Bond.

The theme song by Adele is just stellar with a beautiful and trippy opening title along with it, a treat for the theatergoer. It’s soft yet bombastic and nearly apocalyptic oozing sounds of the early era of James Bond themes a la Shirley Bassey and Nancy Sinatra. Skyfall all in all is one of the best of the year, if not, the best of the year paying tribute to the franchise’s past while looking towards the future of the franchise with performances one can believe, action that never dulls, and a story that will make any Bond fan and even non-fans fall in love with.

Assignment Status: 5 out of 5

That does it for 007 in 23: 23 Days of Bond- From Dr. No to Skyfall and it was a wonderful movie watching and writing experience to share with you. We saw the creation of a legend from the swinging 60’s to the modern age of today as Bond fought it out against power hungry villains from all backgrounds. We saw Bond travel across the world, into the sea, and even into the far reaches of space. We witnessed Bond fall in love with countless women, from the replaceable one night stands to the irreplaceable stealers of his heart. We witnessed friends come and go be it for the best or because their time had sadly come. We saw countless men portray 007 from the originator of Sean Connery, the suave and humorous light hearts of Moore and Brosnan, the harder edged takes of Dalton and Craig to the one timer that is Lazenby. Bond is a true legend and going through this series I see why. Bond is a fantasy for everyone, not just the men. Men want to be him as he defeats his foes and woos women and women want him for his persona, strength and intelligence. Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 is a legend that will continue to live on for fifty more years. To you, Mr. Bond, I raise a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, to your legacy and years of delivering cinephiles all over the world wonderful memories to talk about to years. Truly, nobody does it better.

The End But James Bond Will Return in Top of the Crop Lists: Bond Edition!

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