Saturday, November 10, 2012


Plot: Patrice steals a list of all Nato's secret agents and their cover identities, and Bond (Daniel Craig) is in hot pursuit in Turkey. During the chase, he gets shot by another agent, Eve, (Naomie Harris) and declared dead. The theft's mastermind, Silva, (Javier Bardem) is obsessed with getting revenge on M.  Silva hacks into the computers at MI6, and creates a gas explosion. Soon M is under pressure from politicians, and soon she become a decoy in a trap to capture Silva. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Skyfall has some great parts. The opening scene in Turkey is a great chase scene with a lot of variety. I liked the bitterness that Bond develops when he is double-crossed, and how the Silva, the villain, plays on it to question Bond's loyalty. (See more on the moral dilemma in the Super Giant Spoiler section below.)  It was smart to give Judy Dench's M a large part and let her act, since she is so good at being tough while being thoughtful. 

This is a darker Bond with few jokes, not very much womanizing, and socializing with the wealthy. The jokes that there are about gadgets from older Bond movies.

Like newer spy movies, the villain is corrupt spy, rather than a business man or a government.  Silva is a British Jason Bourne striking back at his spy masters, specifically M. 

The sniper sequence in Shanghai was a highlight with black silhouettes and blue lights -- very  cool. I don't know why the giant blue jelly fish were swimming outside, but I liked them. 

As the movie goes on Javier Bardem's Silva gets more of the spot light, and the movie becomes uneven. Bardem is best when he is the crazy hacker who someone thinks of M as a mother figure. He is weakest when he running around London and Scotland with a gang of thugs. The gun play and fist fighting are only average.

The music is very good, and the photography is excellent. The scenes of the house in Scotland are tops.

Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Naome Harris

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Rating:  3.0 stars: a better than average movie that does not contend for greatness. Fun to watch and a little bit thoughtful.

More: We actually get to see what Skyfall is, although it is hard to understand why someone would call it "Skyfall."

Super Giant Spoiler [Seriously don't read this.] At the beginning M orders Eve to shoot Patrice on the train even though Bond will also be shot.  Later M justifies this with a Utilitarian argument that many agents are being saved from death, even if Bond has to die. The moral Good being the case where the fewest people die. However at the end of the movie, Silva, offers a double suicide to M. That is she can shoot Silva and herself both together -- the same utilitarian morality applies, but M can't shoot. Bond saves the day, but M's moral authority is diminished, and she dies of her wounds in true cinematic justice.