James Bond is declared dead during a mission in Turkey, after a fatal decision by M, the director of MI6, the secret British organisation whom the spy works for. A secret document containing information about North American Treaty Organization (NATO) spies embedded in terrorist organisations throughout the world has been stolen and used to target M, the long time director of MI6. Will former MI6 Silva (Javier Bardem) destroy MI6 and its director?
This was one heck of a James Bond movie, borrowing even more from the Jason Bourne mould than previous ones to the extent that the gadgets were practically all gone and that the real conflict lay in Bond’s questionable ability to aim and kill with a simple weapon. For Bond was tired and old in this film. It was the theme of the film that a new generation had passed and that maybe Bond and M both needed to retire. Daniel Craig, reprising his role of James Bond for the third time in six years does look old and tired, and although he has been scheduled to play two more Bond film, made me question if he should not be replaced soon, just like Judy Dench, playing M also was at the end of the film.
For Dench, the role was an interesting way to cap a close to 20 years as M, and outlasting the previous Bond actor who played the role of the super spy. I ask myself if Bond’s films are supposed to be in continuity to one another, or if they are supposed to be rebooted every time there is a new Bond actor. The best I could explain it to myself, was that Pierce Brosnan and Craig might have been the same Bond, since M was the same in all films.
This film had it all with a casino scene in Macau no less, and a sexy Bond girl who obviously dies. This film felt like a transition story where a new generation of Bond supporting cast such as Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw join Craig and Rory Kinnear for the Bond ensemble. This story hinted at Bond’s past and origins although it did not really study his character and motivations no matter how many times he was prompted to by his opponent Silva and the interrogators from MI6 trying to determine if he was fit for duty. Perhaps that’s why ***SPOILER*** Bond failed this mission in my opinion. Sure the bad guy died, but he the objective of the mission was total destruction presented as an original choreography of violence. Yeah, the action worked.
But like all James Bond film, this one raised the credibility factor. Instead of impossible gadgets, all the technological mumbo jumbo happened in computer viruses and scripts. The coding is where all the magic is going now. But then, the villains were able to mount an attack on Skyfall, Bond’s ancestral home with a high-tech helicopter in the middle of Scotland without alerting British security forces or without MI6 which was aware of Bond’s location to follow him and help save the day. Instead, bond was left to his own devices and ultimately, failed his mission to save M’s life. It’s still a good movie, even if there are a few plot holes.