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3 March 2013

Skyfall (2012)

I've waited a long time for the latest installment of the James Bond franchise. Skyfall is Daniel Craig's third film as Bond and it's taken until the release of the Bluray for me to get to see it! I've done everything possible to try and avoid learning what happens in the film prior to watching it, even imposing a Bond black-out with the kids. Nobody talks about Skyfall or the puppy gets it!

This would have been a great idea for a film

Being a crazy-mad Bond fan it was important to me that I didn't accidentally learn too much about the story and I'm going to do my best not to reveal too much in this review for you. Unfortunately that's going to limit me on what I can say! Oh well... let's see how it goes...

Daniel Craig Chills out with a ukulele
Okay, I'll admit that this picture has been doctored slightly.
See that uke in Bond's hands... it will be appearing in
an upcoming post on the Ukulele Blog.
Watch this space...

I got a real sense of something monumental looming on the horizon with the build-up to Skyfall. It was almost as if there was a media black-out being imposed. Skyfall was being discussed in pairs with hushed voices. Save a moment with the Queen at the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games, about all that seemed to be out there was the Adele title tune. We've had that song on repeat in Chez Uke ever since it came out. The kids love it... and after many, many listens... I think I love it too. It’s a wonderful teaser for the film if you take the time to listen to the lyrics. You can almost taste the impending doom.

Daniel Craig in the land of the Giants
Skyfall, MGM 2012

Thinking back, it was somewhere in the middle of Casino Royale that I decided that Daniel Craig was my favourite Bond. For me, he helped to return the whole Bond franchise to the universe of the books. Like Sean Connery, Craig's a bruiser. This is how Bond was meant to be. Having been in the wilderness for many years, Craig managed to plug the bullet holes in the side of the sinking ship helping the Bond team to raise their game. After the monumental Casino Royale and slightly underwhelming Quantum of Solace, I'd been hoping for a further reboot in Skyfall.

The evils of the Internet
Skyfall, MGM 2012

My biggest fear sitting down to watch this film was that it would be Craig's swan-song and he would be written out. At the back of my mind I guess I was also a little worried that we were going to lazily return to the creaking Bond formula. There were hints that this might happen in Quantum of Solace. I hoped this was just a blip.

I'm going to cut to the chase and tell you that I’m undecided as to whether Skyfall will be remembered as a classic. I think it will depend very much on what happens next. I still have that seeping feeling of doom and gloom, and I'm left confused by all sorts of loose ends, even after the end credits have stopped rolling.

Queen Judi Dench
Skyfall, MGM 2012

To date the films have been in some way grounded in the Fleming novels. Skyfall is no different. I always try to place the films in the Bond timeline, but I can't do this for Skyfall; It is kind of at the end and it is also kind of at the beginning. Perhaps this has been done on purpose? The question the story appears to most want to tackle is how relevant Bond is today. There is also a theme of rebirth and new beginnings. I won't say anything else about the story... Let's move on!

Well okay... a couple more things. I loved that Bond is seen to be vulnerable in Skyfall. I also love that we are shown far more of the supporting characters. J-Uke is also pleased that there is less kissing.

That's it on the story.

Javier Bardem - the Dapper Villain
Skyfall, MGM 2012

I love the cast. Javier Bardem who plays Silva is my all time favourite baddie... of all time! I think I might have only ever seen him before in the slightly disappointing film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men. He shines in Skyfall. While we're on this, I was pleased that no mention was made of QUANTUM... the mysterious organisation at the heart of the first two films. I don't know, but that was all getting a bit old for me. Faceless organisations are... well... faceless. Give me an interesting character any day of the week! Javier is a star!

I wasn't as impressed by the filming as I wanted to be. I don’t think it had that hallmark of Quality that certainly was evident in Casino Royale. I do know that there were budget constraints which meant that filming was compromised in terms of locations, but there is more to it than that. The framing is poor at times and generally there is a lack of inspiration. It's all good, but it's not all brilliant. I want Art. Is perfection too much to ask? ;-P

Shaken and stirred
Skyfall, MGM 2012

On locations: there were only really a couple that didn't feel generic. I loved the whole Macau casino vibe. It reminded me of the feel I first had watching the spectacle of Roger Moore at the Ruins of Karnak in The Spy who Loved Me. This filmwork is beautiful. Silva's lair is pretty good too. The rest was pretty mundane and could have been pulled straight out of a comic book. It's all in the attention to detail.

As much as I'd like to continue with this ramble, I think I've said enough. You've got the gist.

Given how critical I've been above, it might be a bit of surprise to reveal on the Triple-B that I’m going to give Bond 8 more chances to pull up his Argyles. Buy!


  1. I'll have to disagree with you on your mark KU and say nine,nine,nine.
    And I'm not talking German here,either.-)

  2. I do seem to struggle giving the big 9 Daz. 8's pretty good! I've watched the film 3 times in the last week alone. ;-)

  3. I see what you mean King.
    I often wonder whether the top mark should be unobtainable to humans too,like the white belt in Karate that was meant to be the highest (as well as the lowest) belt possible,but never really obtainable on earth,like perfection.
    Which sounds a bit like the plot to "Skyfall"
    in a way.
    The ending is just the beginning.
    Just like a Tarot deck.
    Maybe the movie should have been called "Skyfool"

  4. "The ending is just the beginning"
    Perfect! You summed it up in 6 words!

  5. Talking about "The ending is just the beginning"
    I challenge you to play it on the uke
    spaghetti western style.-)

  6. Don't challenge me Daz! You know that this can only end in tears! I did consider doing a Bond song on the uke but at the moment I'm off covers. Maybe once I've got the western EP out of my system. Hmmm

  7. I saw this site and thought of you King.

    Stock up for Xmas now...before it's too late.-)