…and I must say I really loved it.
Prior to seeing Skyfall, I had seen four James Bond films: Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Casino Royale (2006). (I’m not counting the 60s spoof Casino Royale movie starring Peter Sellers, David Niven and Woody Allen, which I remember thinking was weird and not as funny as it should have been). While I can’t claim to be a Bond superfan who knows every famous quote and memorable villain, I certainly have a strong appreciation for the series. I have yet to see a Bond movie that isn’t entertaining.
I’ve noticed that quite a few moviegoers – not so much critics, most of whom give praise – have problems with Skyfall. Perhaps they did not see it in the proper venue; I saw it in an IMAX theater with a screen that made those stunning visuals all the more exciting. As far as the screenplay goes: no, it’s not exactly the script from Lawrence of Arabia, but so what? Even if some of the dialogue isn’t Oscar-worthy material, I don’t recall there being a single dull moment in Skyfall.
Besides, you couldn’t ask for a better cast. Daniel Craig is a near-perfect modern-day Bond. A lot of people don’t like his approach to the “flawed” Bond, but I think it’s much better than the old ways of sexist flippancy. Judi Dench – well, what can I say? Everyone knows how terrific an actress she is. Javier Bardem should be remembered as one of the great Bond villains, although at first I was unsure of whether I could deal with his campiness. (The moment I started to get into the character was when he touched Bond’s wounds and legs, à la José Ferrer touching Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. Sorry to mention that film again but it IS my favorite, so I sometimes like to use it for comparisons.)
The supporting cast is equally excellent. I’ve been a fan of Ralph Fiennes for years, so I love seeing him in anything. Ben Whishaw does rather well as the new (sort of “geek chic”) Q and Albert Finney puts in a nice little performance as groundskeeper/housekeeper/whatever-else-he-is Kincade. Notably, Bond girls seem to take a backseat to the action regarding Bond, M and Silva, so you don’t get a case like The Spy Who Loved Me where the Bond girl takes up far too much of the movie. Here, Naomie Harris does nicely as an intelligent field agent; on the other hand, so much more could have been done with Bérénice Marlohe’s beautiful character Sévérine. Altogether, though, the film is a success.
Am I alone in loving Skyfall or are the naysayers only a small percentage of the viewing population?