This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise and to celebrate hitting our screens as James Bond is Daniel Craig In Skyfall. Splitting off from the arc which crossed Casino Royale to Quantum of Solace, Skyfall sees Bond far from his best and coming to terms with a changing world where enemies aren't nations at war but shadows in the dark. Bond's relationship with M is put to the test and as a new threat makes a personal attack on MI6, both look inward with M looking back on her past in Military Intelligence and past decisions. Both Bond and M are on the edge of being pushed aside, though neither are prepared to sizzle out and fade away, Bond aims to earn back his licence to kill and M's respect by searching in the shadows for the sinister Silva, a journey which takes him from Istanbul to shanghai and even deep into the London Underground.
Daniel Craig takes on a third mission as Bond after taking the helm from Pierce Brosnan in 2006, his brutal yet passionate Bond deals with the effect of time unlike any Bond before. While still holding up the stature of the meanest and leanest looking Bond, Craig manages to make 007 look vulnerable and rough in the face of danger and an ever changing world Still capable of getting the job done however, even when his back against the wall, the villain closing in from all sides Bond is far from shaken. A double does of glamorous ladies to go with those 00's, Bond has his hands full with Naomie Harris as feisty field agent Eve and Berenice Marlohe as the seductive Severine. Both giving 007 his fair share of womanly woes to keep up with, charming Severine enough to face her fears and take him back to her enigmatic 'Employer', Silva. Hidden away on his secluded and abandoned island city, Javier Bardem is ever omnipotent as the delightfully camp yet menacing beyond comfort super villain. An equal measure entertaining and chaotic force of destruction, Bardem gives us the best Bond Baddie in years. Even the supporting cast are given larger roles this time around with Ralph Fiennes as Chairman of Security, the suspiciously outgoing Gareth Mallory who may be more than he seems. Standing out just as much as Bardem's horrific Blond wig is a stand out performance from the new head of Q branch and taking the letter for his own Ben Whishaw as the returning and much more youthful Quartermaster, who's wit, humour and complexion work perfectly to compliment Craig's darker Bond.
With cinematography at its best and style firing from the Walter PPK, Bond has never looked so good on the screen. From the orange and neon new world of Shanghai to the modern day grizzly grey streets of London and its skeletal under-structure Bond's passport is stamped impressively this time around. Globe-trotting is a stand out point of Skyfall, with each new location brought vividly to life with enough innovation and art for Sam Mendes to prove that even when turning fifty, Bond is still a relevant piece of film history, present and hopefully a long future with another fifty years. Where the past two films felt a step into the modern terrain of a new Bond, Skyfall finds a comfortable balance between the new Casino/Quantum and classic Bond, the film itself states old dog, new tricks.
Fifty years, twenty-three missions and six Bonds have gotten us to 2012 and Skyfall. A part of British pop culture, James Bond is comfortably at home in English surroundings to celebrate, after coming back from the dead we see a return to form and a significant rebirth of statement and style. The return of Q, a fresh set of comfortable wheels in an Aston Martin DB5 and a weapon of personal statement in a Walther PPK, Bond is most definitely back, after facing death on the screen, financial crisis' and writers strike, you can't keep a good 00' agent down. As 2012 draws to a close, the year ends with the sense and feeling that 007 is still very much relevant, keeping Britain, Queen and Country safe and sound.
10 / 10