Thoughts: Even though it could definitely benefit from some judicious cutting, Skyfall provides ample amounts of entertainment and action, despite leaving most of the female characters shortchanged. The famous faces are many, and the performances are pretty good all-round, especially Javier Bardem as our over-the-top villain. Of course, the star of the show is director Sam Mendes, and his take on Bond has to be the most stylish to date.
"Bond's mission is to keep a computer drive that has a list of British agents from being used against them. He chases the man who has it and they have a brawl on top of a train. Eve, an agent sent to assist Bond has them in her cross hairs but hesitates to take the shot because she might hit Bond but M orders her to take it. She does, and hits Bond who falls into the river and is believed to be dead. A few months later, the British government is upset with MI6 for losing the list; specifically with M. She is told that she'll be allowed to retire but she refuses to leave till the matter is resolved. So she returns to HQ to work on it but as she arrives, there's an explosion. In the meantime, Bond, who is not dead, has been laying low. When he learns of what happened, he returns. And M tasks him with finding the one who has the information. He eventually learns that the man who has it, is someone from M's past and who has it in for her."
Right from the get go action is thrown into your face, leading to Bond himself presumed dead, and the title credits a-rolling. One thing I loved in the film was this kind of "breaking of Bond"; we see him portrayed as a bit of an adrenalin junkie who, when removed from his calling, turns to cheap thrills, alcohol and women to dull the pain. Its an interesting look at the character, and one that made me view this new ruthless, emotionless and quite vicious Bond in a whole new light: as a human. This is made especially more plain when the villain is a clear juxtaposition of our usual suave hero.
And to mention the villain, Javier Bardem gives him that looney edge all Bond villains should have. Plus he's sporting some wicked Sam Jones/Flash Gordon hair. When he's onscreen, especially with Daniel Craig, things become... sharper, more acute, and we find ourselves locked on their every exchange, verbal or otherwise. It's a testament to the actors and the writing- and definitely some fantastic choices by Sam Mendes and his DP- that we become so involved in the scenes.
I had an interesting discussion with Earl in the car after the film, and started to hurt my brain when it came to how the film played out with regards to the villain and his plot. Mostly, and I'm trying not to spoil here, but backtracking through all the story points that lead up to near the end, involve early planning, then early planning, then early planning.... You'll understand once you see it. Basically, the baddie would have to have planned a hell of a lot, and down to a point, for everything to happen as it did. Not knocking the film, because most if not all of the thoughts DID have an answer but... it was still a lot of circumstance and I guess hope that it would all follow the correct paths. Interesting to think about at least.
And of course we have the one and only Sam Mendes behind the camera. Light and colour play a big part in his films, and here they are used to jaw-dropping effect. Plus we have smooth and graceful long takes, elegant pans and some absolutely magnificent mise-en-scene, some if not all practically demanding to be set up as high definition backgrounds on desktops or TVs.
One thing I did notice was how insular the whole thing felt. Sure, we have a multitude of locations all across the globe, and an action sequence to cap each set of events, but when you look at it from the outside, each set occurs in a very central location: in the makeshift MI6 bunker, in a high-rise building, in a decrepit city. I attribute this to MGM's recent financial difficulties, and their need to save costs within the budget. None of this hurts the film whatsoever, and the set design is still impeccable- it's just an observation.
Bold moves are made with the story, and once again I'll bet purists will be snapping and stomping and causing a ruckus across the interwebs. But you know what? I don't fucking care. I've never been fond of the films before Daniel Craig became Bond, and Casino Royale is one of my favourite films. So basically, I loved this, but I don't think it reached the levels of the previous mentioned. Still worth every penny though.