Review: Skyfall

In the past few years, I’ve watched each of the previous Bond films at least twice, once in a semi-random order as they came up and then again in sequential order. So when I say that Skyfall was both more of a Bond film than either of the previous two Daniel Craig films, yet still not really a Bond film at all, that’s the basis I’m coming from.

Now don’t get me wrong, Skyfall is an excellent action movie. The introductory scene is everything you could expect from a Bond intro (with one heck of an unexpected climax just before the opening credits). There’s a few intense chase scenes and more than the requisite number of overlarge explosions. The final battle scene(s) are much more personal than is usual for a Bond movie, yet they still had punch. So what more could I want?

Well, my first problem was that it just didn’t feel as grand and over the top as many of the best Bond films have been. There was no killer satellite, no media mogul stealth boat, not even a giant space laser. It all felt much more personal, more close to home… and honestly, that doesn’t feel to me like what Bond is about. Perhaps the age of Bond is past, perhaps it died with the Cold War. There are a number of comments throughout the film that imply as such and I think they have a point. Perhaps Bond shouldn’t have been continued… Ah, who am I kidding? There will be more Bonds.

My second problem, larger in my eyes although few will likely have the same issue, came as a hazard of the trade that I’m in. I do research in computer security, so when the system they were trying to break into displayed a nice graphical interface with a graph of flowing interconnected nodes representing some sort of dynamic encryption (there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to just take a snapshot…). And then they find one chink in the system and suddenly it’s a map of the London Underground. Yeah… when you know how computer security actually works, that’s a bit hard to take under suspension of disbelief. It’s the same problem I had with Dan Brown’s lesser known work Digital Fortree. So it goes.

One thing that I definitely did enjoy though stemmed from this being the 50th anniversary of the Bond films. Throughout Skyfall, there were more than a few references and Easter eggs for anyone familiar with the other films. There were references to former gadgets and cars all of the way through the ending which, in a way, brought the whole Bond saga full circle. That’s not something I was expecting, but I like how it all fit together.

Overall, it’s a solid action movie, even if it’s not a particularly amazing Bond film. I’ll put it in 8th place for the year.