Skyfall by Sam Mendes


This is the end

I need to get this out of the way immediately.  I’m not the target audience for a James Bond film.  In fact, prior to watching Sam Mendes’s Skyfall, I don’t think I had ever seen an entire Bond flick from start to finish.  I only watched this one for two reasons.  The first one is fairly obvious.  I watched it because that’s what we do around here at this time of year, we watch Oscar nominated films.  The second is because I respect Mendes as a director.  I personally consider American Beauty to be a minor masterpiece.  Skyfall, well that’s an entirely different story.

The film opens up with a 10-15 minute action sequence that leaves the viewer a bit perplexed.  It seems like some sort of hard drive was stolen, but it is unclear what’s on it or why it’s so important.  Regardless, Bond and his partner chase the culprit.  Bond rides a motorcycle up some stairs, jumps onto the top of a train, gets shot in the shoulder, nothing seems to slow him down or faze him in any way.  Eventually his partner is forced to make a decision.  She doesn’t have clear shot as Bond and the culprit wrestle atop the train which is speeding toward a tunnel.  M (Judi Dench) tells her to take it.  She does.  She hits Bond.  He falls off the train, into the water below, and then his lifeless body goes over the side of a waterfall.  Bye, bye mysterious hard drive.  Rest in Peace Bond.  Cut to a music video?!

That’s right, for the next three plus minutes the audience is forced to sit through some credits as Adele’s Oscar nominated recording is played in it’s entirety.  Why?  Who knows why.  That’s just what you do to open up a Bond film apparently.

Of course once the music stops, we find out that Bond isn’t actually dead.  How could he be?  And it’s at this point, roughly twenty minutes in, that I’m ready to check out.   Super heroes, aliens, zombies, I can suspend my belief for a lot of things, but the over the top antics of seemingly normal human beings that’s on display here just makes me yawn.  Then of course there’s Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) as Silva, one the most ridiculous looking villains ever.  He’s the one behind the hard drive heist, and he’s got it out for M.  Things are about to get very, very personal.

After what feels like six hours, Bond eventually takes M to hide out at his childhood estate which is named, you guessed it, Skyfall.  Apparently it’s recently been sold though.  No bother, Bond and Silva literally crash a helicopter into the place and then burn it to the ground.  In the chaos M sustains an injury to her leg.  Totally not life threatening, especially considering all the shit Bond survived over the course of the flick.  What happens?  Spoiler alert!  She somehow manages to die from it.  Sigh.

The other big problem for me when watching this film is that I really don’t like Daniel Craig (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Adventures of TinTin).   I guess he’s adequate here as Bond.  He’s certainly no better or worse than he was as journalist Mikael Blomkvist in Dragon Tattoo, but I’ve yet to see him act in anything that actually left me with the feeling that he’s in any way a talented actor.

If you love movies like those in The Transporter series or those in the, um, Bond series, well then this one certainly won’t disappoint.  If you prefer special effects and crazy stunts over any semblance of a realistic plot, this one is for you.  If you just want to shut your brain off for a few hours and watch things go boom, then step right up and grab yourself a seat.  If none of these descriptions match your taste in any way then you should probably look elsewhere.

Skyfall ★★½☆☆
Directed by Sam Mendes
Nominated For:
Cinematography (Roger Deakins)
Music-Original Score (Thomas Newman)
Music-Original Song (“Skyfall” Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth)
Sound Mixing (Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson)

United States
143 Minutes


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About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.

  • Jackie Hirst

    Yes, it is much better when it is Duran Duran doing the theme song rather than Adele.

    • Typographical Era

      All D2 videos are awesome though. It’s really not fair to compare!