DVD Review - Skyfall
Daniel Craig stars as James Bond, a secret agent for MI-6, the British equivalent to the CIA. Judi Dench co-stars as M, his boss or a director in the upper echelon of MI-6. Ralph Fiennes plays Mallory, another director at MI-6. Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) plays Eve, another secret agent at MI-6 who partners with Bond on his missions in this movie. Ben Whishaw (Bright Star and Cloud Atlas) plays Q, the guy who provides Bond with his weaponry and tech support.
Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) plays Silva, the villain of the movie. He's a former agent for MI-6 who has turned rogue and now wants revenge against M for what he perceives as her betrayal. It's somewhat interesting because Bond could potentially identify with Silva due to M doing to Bond essentially what she did to Silva. When missions get dicey, M leaves both of them to die.
Writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan never fully flesh this out. It doesn't help that Bond makes a series of decisions that either make no sense or aren't explained, starting with why Bond comes back to MI-6. Bond leaves MI-6 in this movie and his return is not fully explained. Why does he do it?
Later, Bond follows a man who turns out to be an assassin. Bond has the opportunity to stop the assassin before pulling the trigger. Yet, he doesn't. Why doesn't he do it? Later, Bond sets a trap for Silva and he could have led Silva any where. The place he chooses is an old house out in the middle of rural Scotland with no reinforcements. Bond could have led Silva into a place that was a bit more of a tactical advantage, but Bond doesn't. Why doesn't he do it?
Bardem as Silva had potential, but we don't get enough of him. He's not introduced until 70 minutes into the movie. Director Sam Mendes does his best to keep that 70 minutes moving, but so much in that hour and change is a waste. The two wastes for me was the opening train sequence and even the entire Shanghai sequence, especially since it involves Bond having a long conversation with a character who is treated as absolutely disposable.
After Silva is introduced, we learn that aside from shaking up MI-6, all he wants is to get revenge and ultimately kill M. He apparently concocts this elaborate plan to do so, when through watching the movie it's obvious that there were simpler ways. For starters, M is already on her way out and is under inquisition by the government. Given Silva's story, all he had to do was simply write a tell-all book or testify at M's inquisition.
In the movie, Bond easily breaks into M's house to talk to her. If Bond can do that, Silva who can hack into any computer could have easily done that. All of this here seems like much ado about nothing. People have compared Silva to the Joker from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. I don't see it. The Joker was more of a terrorist with grander scope. Silva is basically a mama's boy with a gun.
Two Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 23 mins.