Starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem • Directed by Sam Mendes • PG-13, 143 min.
After all this time, it’s not surprising James Bond is showing a bit of his age.
This 23rd movie about the world’s most famous secret agent comes exactly 50 years after the first one (“Dr. No”) in 1962. Over the decades, several actors have stepped into the iconic role. And now Daniel Craig makes his third appearance as 007, the dapper British MI6 officer with a license to kill.
In “Skyfall,” the smartest, slickest, most sensational Bond outing in ages, the lord of the spies grapples with changing times, the limitations of his own battered body, the emotional tug of mortality, and a super-villain who spreads cyber-terror through a digitized network of global computer hackery.
James Bond, it might appear, is an old dog out of place in a modern world of new tricks.
After an audaciously thrilling pre-credits sequence (that reportedly took three months to film) in which Bond pursues a bad guy across the sprawling rooftops of Istanbul on motorcycle before finally coming to blows atop a speeding train, the movie settles into its groove. Someone has stolen a computer drive with information that could compromise the entire British Secret Service, and M (Judi Dench), Bond’s boss, becomes the target of a mysterious psychopath (Javier Bardem) with chillingly personal reasons for his mad rampage.
On a tropical hiatus due to his presumed death, Bond returns to Her Majesty’s service after hearing that M is in danger. But circumstances dictate that he has to reapply to get his old job back. That includes re-passing the fitness test---which turns out to be quite a task, leaving him huffing and puffing and nursing his recently banged-up arm and shoulder.
“It’s a young man’s game,” Bond’s reminded by Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the bureaucrat in charge of hauling the British espionage division into the 21st century.
Seeing if 007 is up for the job will keep you glued to your seat as the plot shifts from London to Shanghai, then to the island lair where Bond meets his nemesis, and finally to the moors of Scotland for an emotionally charged standoff where Bond must not only defend the empire, but also confront his own past.
Director Sam Mendes integrates sweeping action, solid characters, spectacular scenery, a bountiful sense of cleverness, and a pitch-perfect tone of self-reference to the long line of Bond pop-culture mythology. With his performance in this movie, Craig, certainly the best action star to ever take on the role made famous by Sean Connery, will surely move even higher up the best-Bond ranks for many fans. He brings out facets of the character that other actors have simply never found before.
Bardem, so memorable as the creepy killer in “No Country For No Men,” adds another memorable creepy killer role to his resume as the soft-spoken sadist Silva, a swishy, blonde-haired demon who taunts Bond with the prospect of England’s old cloak-and-dagger crumbling underneath his new world order of servers and software.
“It’s amazing the panic you can cause with a single computer,” he coos.
“Skyfall” is full of surprises, including the meaning of its title, the new details it reveals about Bond’s childhood, the emotional range it allows 007 to span, and the identity of a female character who turns out to be...
Oh, you’ll just have to find out for yourself!
But the most surprising thing is just how fresh a 50-year-old franchise can be with one brisk, crisp new slap. Bond is back, and it’s been a long time since he’s seemed anywhere near this alive...achy old joints and all.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)