The Reel: “Skyfall” thrill ride for Bond fans


Ben Conniff

It only seems fitting that during the 50th anniversary year of “Dr. No” — James Bond’s first film appearance — that we would get yet another entry into the epic motion picture saga of Agent 007.

His latest adventure, “Skyfall,” is an exciting thrill ride that’s certain to please the diehards and convert the nonbelievers. This time around, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when a former MI6 agent named Silva (Javier Bardem) comes back with a vendetta against M for abandoning him.

As Silva works to carry out his villainous plot, Bond does what he does best — attempts to defeat Silva no matter how personal the cost. However, Silva makes it personal. He brings the battle to Skyfall, Bond’s boyhood home in Scotland.

Preparing for the final square-off with the villain, Bond gets help from his family’s old groundskeeper, Mr. Kincade (Albert Finney), and recalls the traumatic experience he faced as a child: the death of his parents. While there are no flashback scenes, the audience still feels empathetic toward Bond in the same manner. This provides an interesting insight into the character development and motivation behind Daniel Craig’s Bond that I have been waiting to see more of since “Casino Royale.”

Writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan do their best Christopher Nolan impersonation, getting a firm grasp on the audience’s attention in the first seven minutes with a heart-stopping chase sequence across Istanbul. The writers kept the tone dark and mysterious for the next two hours and 15 minutes.

What I enjoyed most about “Skyfall” were the references and the setup at the end for a return to a classic Bond feel for films to come. Don’t go into this movie expecting a continuation of “Casino Royale” or the mediocre “Quantum of Solace.” The story in those two films has been concluded, and our hero has returned to his classic ways of chasing colorful bad guys across exotic locales and wooing beautiful women along the way.

I liked that “Skyfall” felt like the Bond movies fans have come to know and love for the past half century while at the same time remained grounded in the realism that made 2006’s “Casino Royale” a personal favorite of my own.

The use of the old Aston Martin DB5 from “Goldfinger” and the introductions of Q, Ms. Moneypenny and a new M are all allusions to the 007 of old. Those fans who thought James Bond without Q or Moneypenny was like peanut butter without the jelly should be pleased to see them back in action.

I’m still not clear if this is my favorite of 007’s adventures. “Skyfall” is an extremely close second to “Casino Royale,” but this film doesn’t quite have the exciting twists and turns of its predecessor. I highly suggest you see this in theaters to truly enjoy the huge set pieces, including the daredevil train chase in the film’s prologue and a massive helicopter crash near the climax. It’s also fun to decide for yourself if the 50th anniversary adventure of Agent 007 is worth the hype.

After seeing “Skyfall,” I believe one thing is certain: Daniel Craig truly is Bond 2.0, a darker Bond for a new generation, and I’m anxious to get back into field duty with this guy. Sign me up for “Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

Ben Conniff is a Villa Hills sophomore marketing major with a minor in film studies. For more commentary, follow him on Twitter @thereelbennyc