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He Said, She Said Review Site


What She said:


I distinctly remember watching old James Bond flicks on TV with my dad when I was a kid.  These were primarily the old Sean Connery ones.  However, I never really "got" them.  I understood the general storyline, but didn't really understand the cult nature of the movies.  I think this was because I was probably too young to appreciate the more subtle notes of the films--the irony, humor, and commentary.  As a teenager and young adult, I pretty much avoided these films.  This was largely during the Pierce Bosnan era. 

So again, I was somewhat hesitant to watch Skyfall, the latest Bond flick with Daniel Craig now playing the iconic character.  Let me come clean and say that I was not a fan of the studio casting Craig into the role of Bond.  I did not think him handsome or mysterious enough to pull off the character.  And so I approached Skyfall with some negative bias. I also should clarify that I haven't seen the other Craig Bond movies.  This was the first.  But I had heard some pretty good things about this film and Redbox was running scarce.

So here are the basics of the plot of Skyfall.  MI6 is under attack from a master hacker. He has broken into M's top secret files and has begun releasing the identities of the agents.  The plan is to expose five a week, and let them subsequently get killed by their enemies.  Meanwhile, Bond has a bad experience at the beginning of the film and is presumed dead.  He uses this as an opportunity to disappear and retire, but when he sees the terror breaking out in his home country, he cannot help but return to MI6 and offer his help.  Now, not everyone in authority believe that the aging Bond has what it takes to save the day.  But M still believes in him, so she gets him back in the field, where he does some classic spy work and finds out the identity of the man behind all the drama back home.  His name is Raoul Silva and he is a former operative himself.  But he's totally nuts now and has devoted his life to seeking revenge on M.  Bond must locate and take out Silva before he ruins MI6 and kills M.  Can he get him in time?


The verdict on Skyfall is that it is a smartly written, well acted, and wonderfully filmed action thriller.  It truly is a well-done movie.  Daniel Craig, despite my prejudices, managed to impress me as Bond.  You cannot get better than Dame Judi Dench for the role of M, and Javier Bardem is absolutely chilling as Silva.  He plays scary villains a little too well for comfort.  Not only is the storyline of this film compelling, but the quality of the cinematography and stunt sequences cannot be matched.  The camera techniques are edgy and yet also pay homage to those of the older movies.  Action scenes are crisp and exceptionally choreographed, and yet remain believable.  Overall, the death and destruction is just enough.  Most of all, I really think the movie was expertly written.  Often, these sorts of thrillers get too hung up on themselves, with subplots written inside of subplots, to the point where viewers need Cliffsnotes to understand what they're watching.  I did not have that problem with this movie at all, and yet it did not go the opposite direction as well--too simple.

Skyfall is solid through and through, and is definitely worth your time if you're a fan of Bond films or just craving a decent action/thriller.

Thumbs up.



What he said:


I was not a huge Bond fan growing up. I had seen some of the movies and even liked them, but I was not overly invested in the series. Most of my exposure to the series actually comes from Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan eras.  After that, I have seen snippets of Roger Moore’s Bond flicks, and even less of the Sean Connery movies. If I saw one of them on TV, cool. If not, it was no big deal to me. I never felt like they were something I had to go out of my way to see.

Part of the reason I never got real into them was that I had some issues with the continuity of the series. When a new M or Q comes in are they playing the same character or just new agents with the same name? Is each of the actors playing Bond supposed to be the same characters or do they each represent their own series/era? Plus, the series started so long ago the advances in technology, different styles, etc. got to me, especially if I’m supposed to believe they’re all the same character.  So when I found out Craig’s first Bond flick was a reboot, I thought that was brilliant. The problem was that – like the She – I don’t find him to be a particularly slick or suave fella, particularly when compared to some of the actors who played the character. So because of these reasons, I never bothered to check out Daniel Craig’s Bond.

I know Casino Royale was very well-received. I had heard even more praise for Skyfall. Some claimed it was the best Bond movie ever made. At that point, I had to put aside my feelings about the casting of Craig and check it out.

Bond (Daniel Craig) and fellow agent Eve Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) are chasing down a bad guy named Patrice (sounds like a real tough guy). Patrice has stolen something very important and they have to get it back from him. It’s just another day at the office for a secret agent. The twist here is Bond almost dies and everyone actually believes it. Even his colleagues at MI6 don’t’ know he’s alive.  After being injured during a mission, and presume dead, Bond decides to “retire” on some tropical island. It seems like he plans on spending the rest of his life drinking and being all miserable.

Well it turns out that the information Patrice (Ola Rapace) stole was in regards to the identities of several secret agents around the world. His employer – a cyber-terrorist named Raoul Silva – plans on releasing a name or two every so many days. This is bad for the agents, because they are all currently undercover in various terrorist organizations around the world. Oh, and he has also hacked into and bombed MI6 headquarters.

This has brought a lot of heat down on Bond’s boss M (Judi Dench). She runs MI6 and is blamed for the failure to recover the information and the deaths of the people at Silva’s (Javier Bardem) hands.


While getting drunk at a bar on his new tropical island home, Bond sees these events unfold on the news and his conscience gets the better of him. He shows up at MI6 announcing he’s not dead after all and that he wants to help bring this guy down. The problem is, he’s getting up there in years and the job has taken a toll on him both emotionally and physically. He’s got various injuries that make it questionable whether he’s even fit for duty. His psychological issues are even worse. This isn’t your father’s James Bond. This guy has some miles on him and its showing. So the question is, can Bond return to form or even get by just enough to stop this guy?

I still don’t think Daniel Craig is the smoothest operator. His Bond still gets ladies, but Bond always will. It’s simply part of what the character is all about. Craig’s Bond is actually a pretty cold and detached individual. That’s not to say he doesn’t have emotions, but that he’s not exactly charming or outgoing. They kind of changed what Bond is for this version of the character. Luckily the whole tortured soul thing kind of works. He also happens to be the most physically intimidating Bond ever. This guy is a genuine bad-ass, so what he lacks in charm he makes up for by the fact that he’s a force of nature.

I love Judi Dench as M. I remember back to the Pierce Brosnan movies (where she also played M) the characters do not get along. She thinks Bond is a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War.” Bond isn’t the only cold one though, she can be quite the bitch herself. But they both genuinely love their country and stopping the bad guys, so they continue to work together despite their differences.

Javier Bardem was creepy as hell as the bad guy. This guy is like something out of a comic book or pulp story – which most Bond villains are – but he has this other layer to him that is downright disturbing. A few things he says and does, you find yourself thinking, “Wow, this guy’s got problems.”    

Naomi Harris (who is excellent in 28 Days Later) seemed quite capable of holding her own as a Bond gal, but she wasn’t in it very much. The other gal (there’s usually a good one and a bad one) was Berenice Marlohe. She played Silva’s mistress/prisoner. She played that part well enough, but again had a small part. Albert Finney had a nice cameo towards the end of the film, and Ralph Fiennes fit in nicely as M’s boss Gareth Mallory. The movie was well-acted from top-to-bottom.

This movie was tightly made. I really can’t think of any glaring weaknesses. The acting was good, the story was good – maybe I don’t know enough about Bond, but I’m not used to seeing such a flawed Bond – and the action was awesome. I especially loved the final act.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on March 27, 2013.