The last installment of Student Involvement and Leadership Center’s Thursday Blockbuster Series featured “Skyfall.” Arbiter staffer, Ryan Hoffman tells what he thought of “Skyfall.”
Self-proclaimed movie buff and spare time film producer Ryan Hoffman is a freshman video production major. His love and interest in film has called him to review movies for your entertainment.
Having never actually seen a Bond movie before (and I call myself a film fan, shame), I was somewhat hesitant to judge the latest adventure from everyone’s favorite action hero. However, audiences and critics alike had given Skyfall rapturous reviews, and who am I to pass up a supposedly great movie?
When I finally sat down to watch the film, I was sucked into the world of MI6 within the first ten minutes, including a suspenseful opening chase scene involving a train and a psychedelic title sequence unlike any I’d ever seen before (hello, Adele on the soundtrack).
The performances were great all around, as expected of a Sam Mendes (American Beauty) film.
Daniel Craig plays Bond as a very accessible action hero, one where the viewer is just as able to get inside his troubled mind as they are able to appreciate the tension-filled mayhem.
Naomie Harris plays the “Bond girl,” Eve, whose character reveal at the end of the film is equivalent to the “Robin” reveal at the end of The Dark Knight Rises (hey, even a Bond newbie like me knows a thing or two about Bond lore and callbacks to earlier films).
But it is the combination of three actors who truly steal the show: Judi Dench’s M shows great emotional range, Ben Whishaw’s Q adds cleverness and comic relief to the proceedings.
Javier Bardem’s villain of Raoul Silva is snaky, charismatic and just a little too playful (the scene where Bond learns of Silva’s plans is hilariously uncomfortable).
The crew is a force to be reckoned with as well. Roger Deakins’ cinematography is typically crisp and beautifully framed and Thomas Newman’s score does a great job of combining the composer’s signature otherworldly style with the svelte tones of the main Bond theme and action movie theatrics.
There are callbacks to past films in the series (according to my friends), including all manner of references to weapons, locations and characters.
In a way, Skyfall celebrates 50 years of Bond. Even though I’m a complete newcomer to the series, these references are filled with a sense of palpable joyousness that permeates the film, something I’d like to think the filmmakers kept in mind while making it.
The tone throughout is quite somber and serious, punctuated with moments of sly humor.
When other critics called this The Dark Knight of the Bond series, they weren’t kidding.
One could describe the main theme of the film as summed up in the question “Why do we need James Bond?”, just as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy asks why we need a superhero.
Some of the action sequences seem a little too outside of the realms of plausibility.
During the opening chase scene on top of a train, half of the train car gets taken off with people still riding the train, Bond lands inside the car and the people just give him a look, no screaming, no frantic running around, like this kind of thing happens everyday.
Maybe they were trying to go for a more tongue-in-cheek tone with this scene, and I admire that, but it’s not executed as well as it should have been. (Note: I’m not really spoiling anything if you’ve seen the trailer, since this exact shot was prominently featured. In fact, unfortunately, if you have seen the trailer, most of the action sequences will have been spoiled for you already, a definite marketing no-no for a film like this).
But this is all a minor quibble.
What matters in Skyfall is the emotional journey of James Bond himself, and how sometimes “the old ways are best,” a theme repeated by at least two to three characters throughout the film. In this era of technological progress and postmodern ambition, this is a welcome message.
For more information on upcoming screenings for Thursday Night Blockbuster Series visit Student Inlovement and Leadership.