If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has any sense of objectivity left, they should look to Skyfall for an award for Best Director, or at the very least Best Cinematography. Director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins have crafted not only the best looking film of 2012, but easily the best looking 007 ever made. Skyfall is nothing short of absolutely magnificent, with a quality to the direction and photography that is truly Oscar caliber.
I hear claims that Skyfall is the best Bond film ever made, and I think that could be true – at the very worst it comes in second, just behind Casino Royale (2006). In a way the two films are similar: Both give us a look at a James Bond that feels real, suffering from the same human condition as the rest of us. It’s a take on the franchise that I’m glad Sam Menders decided to keep, especially considering Skyfall feels as though it was made to celebrate Bond’s 50-year film history.
Somehow the creators behind Skyfall have managed to make an ode to franchise, while simultaneously maintaining the film's distinct identity. The Aston Martin DB5 famously driven during Goldfinger (1964) makes a triumphant return in Skyfall, complete with cheesy machine guns hidden below the headlights. Moments like these exist to provide fan service, but still fit in with the mood of Skyfall, which portrays Daniel Craig’s Bond as an aging relic refusing to accept his limitations.
As Q (yes, Q has returned) reminds Bond during their first meeting, MI6 doesn’t make exploding pens anymore. It’s these type of references that keep reminding the audience of the evolution of the franchise, and it all adds to the feeling that Skyfall is a complete reboot for the series.If this is a new starting point for 007 and the rest of MI6, I think the future looks bright, assuming the series doesn’t have another speed bump like the dismal Quantum of Solace (2008).
The villain, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) is a ruthless genius who seemingly has unlimited resources, much like your typical 007 terrorist. However, the dark story surrounding his past is enough to make him seem human – insane, but human. A deep, well-developed bad guy is something not typical of the series, but it only works to the advantage of Skyfall. A great character, matched with a stellar performance by Bardem, is enough to make Raoul Silva one of the top Bond villains of all time.