The name is Brown, Tiffany Brown, and I’m ready to deliver five reasons why you should buy a ticket and go see Skyfall, the latest James Bond film, in theaters – if you haven’t already. If you have, you deserve a cookie – or perhaps a martini, shaken, not stirred.
SPOILER ALERT: While I don’t plan on divulging major plot twists and whatnot, if you haven’t seen this film yet and you want to experience some of the details on your own, just take my aforementioned advice. See the movie, come back, and then nod enthusiastically as you read this blog entry.
1. Daniel Craig is sex on a stick. I know, surprise, surprise, she starts with the eye candy, right? Well, it’s hard to miss Craig’s devastating good looks and the charismatic way he moves about the screen, dodging bullets and adjusting cufflinks after jumping onto a runaway, disengaged, half-trashed train car. And that’s because the film emphasizes it, knowing that James Bond is a sex symbol and true fans would scream for someone’s head if he weren’t dreamy and hypnotic. Though I know there are girls out there who have an issue with Bond being played by a blond man, I have no issue – thanks to Craig’s chiseled jaw line, lean, but fit frame, and his commanding presence. That’ll do, Craig, that’ll do.
By the way, I would like to start a female petition worldwide that would require all men to wear fitted suits, knee-length pea coats, and leather gloves as frequently as possible. Who’s with me?
2. Javier Bardem plays a scary fucking villain. Two infamous villain performances that always seem to be referenced as the best of the best are Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and Heath Ledger as The Joker. It’s no coincidence that these performances led to Oscar wins, because they are utterly terrifying. Well, I’d like to submit Javier Bardem as a contender to form the trifecta of bad ass bad guys. Bardem plays Raoul Silva, a cyber terrorist who is cold, calculated, and most definitely cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. You know those people who are just a little off, so they are innately unpredictable and incredibly disturbing? Yeah, mix that with influence, hyper-intelligence, and a taste for revenge and you get Silva. Bardem’s natural accent, a new hair color, and the subtle manipulations of his mouth (such a smart actor’s choice that truly ties into the character’s past) really bring this villain to life and separate Bardem from his previous romantic/comedic roles in Love in the Time of Cholera and Eat Pray Love. Dare I say I smell an Oscar nod for this role?
3. The film is visually stunning. If you are someone who appreciates aesthetic and attention to detail, you will love this film. Honestly, you could watch Skyfall on mute and still be completely mesmerized for its duration – it’s that brilliantly crafted. The opening credits – in grand James Bond tradition – play behind an opening theme song. As Adele wails, a cornucopia of images flood the screen – female silouhettes, guns, underwater seascapes, deer antlers – which all tie into the story, but of course, you don’t know that until later. There’s a section of the movie that takes place in Shanghai, and the glimpses of China during those scenes are breathtaking, especially when neon lights and projected moving images come out to play on glass skyscrapers. There are shadow fight sequences with nighttime in Shanghai as the backdrop that play with the senses, create anticipation, and hearken back to aesthetic styles of early Bond films. The costuming is also impeccable, from 007’s Tom Cole wardrobe to the stylish office clothing of those employed at MI6 to the dresses worn by beautiful women in the Shanghai casino (Swarovski was thanked by the producers in the credits if that gives you any indication of the luxury of the casino garments).
4. This film understands that it is not the first. And what I mean by that is that the film is littered with classic James Bond references. The shadow fighting I referenced earlier is an aesthetic example. Bond drinks his signature cocktail in the casino in Shanghai – shaken, not stirred. Bond’s Aston Martin comes out to play. The movie ends with the classic image of Bond’s silhouette turning to fire a shot at the audience. Even the musical score contains notes of original James Bond music from previous movies. The nods are respectful and they firmly entrench Skyfall in the catalogue of Bond stories.
5. Skyfall will tickle your funny bone. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan are responsible for writing the screenplay for Skyfall. Apparently, three heads are better than one, because I think this trio nailed the required balance between drama and humor for this film. While James Bond is a haunted and damaged character, he has his cheeky moments of dry wit and sexual innuendo, which are needed to make him a well-rounded leading man. Raoul Silva is as funny as he is demented (and sometimes funny because he’s so demented). He’s almost a caricature of himself at times. The relationship between Bond and M, played by Dame Judi Dench, is usually tense, but their mutual respect and affective for each other comes out in smartass quips and interactions between them. All in all, there were a number of moments during Skyfall where I tipped my head back and let myself laugh out loud.
I don’t normally indulge in seeing movies more than once in the theater, but I just might need to go see Skyfall again. It’s quite the spectacle and while it will still be brilliant as a staple of my DVD collection, I think it may lose a bit of its glimmer when played back on a smaller-than-theater-sized screen.
Besides, I could think of much worse fates than watching 007 execute pull-ups and take down the bad guys.