Undoubtedly the most anticipated movie in the second half of 2012, Skyfall has had everyone literally falling at its feet with it’s twenty-third spy film in the James Bond series. So it was no surprise that we at Popspoken could hardly hold our excitement in at being one of the lucky few being invited to the Singapore premiere of Skyfall at Golden Village Vivocity Cinemas.
In true fashion of paying homage to 50 years of the series that began with Dr. No in 1962, this movie goes back in time and gives us an insight into Bond’s childhood in his hometown of Scotland,where an old abandoned manor named Skyfall (which explains the movie’s namesake) serves as a key setting in saving the day. Besides the traumatic childhood sneak peek, Skyfall also brings up the thematic recurrences of life and death throughout the movie. Bond (Daniel Craig) is first re-bond.. erh, we mean reborn, in the first half an hour when MI6, British’s Secret Intelligence Service’s head M (Dame Judi Dench) makes a tough call that causes her star agent to be shot and hence “missing, presumed killed.” Fortunately, he lives to Die Another Day (hurhurhur). When Bond returns to England after being aware of MI6’s Headquarters being under attack, M’s question of “Where the hell have you been?” is met with a humourless “Enjoying death” in typical English dry humour.
The movie that starts off slow in revealing the villain (Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva) and his motives unravels when the truth unfolds that Silva was a former agent not seeking to wreak havoc on the world, but merely to address his grievances against a certain mentor he once called Mum. Enjoy the pseudo family drama that escalates to fight sequences spanning over parts of Shanghai and Macau before returning back to England when the wily Silva is caught and brought back and locked up. Or so we think. Plot twists bring us on yet another roller coaster ride where the obligatory Aston Martin DB5 makes its debut in the film speeding through the vast expanse of Scotland’s beautiful landscape.
For film pundits who’ve always preferred that Bond should be the dark haired, brooding & mysterious types, it is surprising that Craig is very believable in his reprising role as Bond as though there was never that scandalized episode when a blonde James Bond was chosen. There is something unreadable about Craig himself, and although portraying a character who is aloof, those piercing blue eyes never fails to draw the audience closer into the movie plot. It is thus apt that film makers timely chose Skyfall to revisit bitter childhood memories, where M is quoted to say “orphans are the best recruits” – cryptically giving audiences a taste of Bond’s unfortunate past but never divulging the whole story.
Last but not least, Skyfall also serves as a reminder that human resources and relationships remain relevant in his brand new age of technology. When MI6’s spiffy security system gets hacked into, Bond reaches the conclusion that to be one step ahead of the enemy would require spontaneity of human nature, something that any security system would not be capable of predicting.
Skyfall is a must watch, for Craig’s stellar performance as a character torn between facing his childhood and embracing a new future; and just because, when we are surrounded with the cacophony of whose technology is more superior, old school espionage embodies the glamour and excitement that is agent 007, whom without a doubt, everyone secretly aspires to be.
(*Note: Rating is based on the writer’s humble opinion)
Catch Skyfall in cinemas from 1st November.
Listen to Adele’s soulful vocals for the Skyfall soundtrack here!