Oct 31 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Bond is back for a 23rd time in his famous tuxedo as Daniel Craig makes his third appearance as the famous British spy.
But I have to start to off by telling you something quite controversial; I’m not a big Bond fan.
I’ve never really embraced OO7’s global adventures and have only seen six or seven of the movies.
However, I loved Craig’s debut as the suave spy in 2006’s Casino Royale but though follow-up effort Quantum of Solace was a big disappointment, Skyfall arrives on the back of glowing reviews, some claiming it’s the best Bond ever.
I can’t really comment on whether that is the case, but it’s the best one I’ve seen.
The plot follows Bond having to deal with his loyalty to boss M (Judie Dench) being tested as her past indiscretions come back to haunt her, and the threat to MI6 posed by villain Silva (Javier Bardem).
American Beauty director Sam Mendes is behind the camera and gets things off to a blistering start with a high-octane motorbike chase across rooftops.
Mendes has quoted The Dark Knight as an influence and one silhouetted, neon-lit scene in Thailand is classic Nolan, complete with Thomas Newman’s Inception-like score.
Previous Bond scripters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Casino Royale, Die Another Day) team up with Gladiator and Hugo writer John Logan on the story and they put Bond right through the wringer.
We’ve got boozy Bond, a Bond back story and constant referenced to his advancing years (“it’s a young man’s game”).
But Craig defies younger competitors to Bond’s spy throne, such as Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt, with a perfect mix of impressive physicality, humour and emotion.
Bond is often only as good as his baddie and Bardem makes a memorable antagonist.
Silva is flamboyant and camp but, apart from his William Tell moment and a genuinely deliciously nasty physical appearance, he lacks the full-on menace of, say, Heath Ledger’s Joker.
The supporting cast are on top form. Bond girls Berenice Marlohe (Severine) and Naomie Harris (Eve) bring glamour and playfulness respectively.
‘M’ may as well stand for maternal as Dench treats Bond like her own and she and Ralph Fiennes (Gareth Mallory) are as splendid as we’ve come to expect.
And Ben Whishaw’s younger, techie, version of gadget master Q shares some great banter with Craig.
This is a very Brit-centric Bond (Bond on the tube) with “British bulldog” spirit rammed down our throats and a mildly disappointing Scottish-set finale that plays out like Straw Dogs and Dog Soldiers.
The middle third drags too and I’ve no idea who thought CGI lizards were a good idea.
But make no mistake about it, Bond is back on top form, and won’t be hanging up his tuxedo for a long time yet.