HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:95
James Bond has been around about as long as “Dr. Who” has and, guess what, it’s also British! Bond has gone through many incarnations and has had his ups and downs. Roger Moore and Brosnan’s last few movies come to mind when thinking of Bond low points. We all thought the Bond name was forever dead after “Die Another Day” officially sunk Brosnan’s Bond career. However, Daniel Craig has infused new life in the series with another successful reboot/prequel Bond movie. “Casino Royal” shocked audiences everywhere as we were allowed to see a rougher, grittier James Bond who finally did justice to Ian Fleming’s characterization of our quintessential hero. “Quantum of Solace” was a bit shakier than its predecessor, but still a very serviceable action film nonetheless. Now we have the 23rd Bond movie (well 24th if you really count “Never Say Never Again”) and Bond is back in all his pugilistic glory.
Our film begins with Bond (Daniel Craig) out on another secret mission. This time to recover a NOC list of MI-6 agents embedded within terrorist organizations worldwide. Bond is paired with a young field agent named Eve (Naomie Harris) tracking down the criminal responsible for stealing the list. Tracking him down in Istanbul Bond engages the thief aboard a rushing train and forces Eve to take a split second shot which ends of hitting Bond instead of the intended target. Bond is thrown off the train into the river and is presumed dead. As we all guessed, Bond is alive and well, recovering in some tropical island with a beauteous island girl.
3 months after the incident the NOC list is still not found and M (Judi Dench) is being forced out of her position in the backlash of the whole debacle. Agent Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), a seemingly brutal bureaucrat, is sent by MI-6 command to deal with the whole sticky situation of ousting M. Amidst the power struggle an unknown hacker infiltrates the MI-6 computer infrastructure, obtaining decryption codes needed for the NOC list as well as triggering an explosion in the, until now, impenetrable MI-6 headquarters. Seeing the news on the television, Bond resurfaces and offers his assistance in tracking down and retrieving the NOC list once more.
Now that Bond has come back, both he and organization he’s devoted his life to have changed. He’s no longer the revered agent that he once was and the MI-6 organization is cowering in an old WWII bunker afraid for their own safety. Now that he’s back Bond is run through the ringer to see if he’s both physically and mentally fit to assume duty once more. Passing by the skin of his teeth Bond is no longer the plucky arrogant man he has been in the previous two films. We now see a Bond who’s doubting himself and vulnerable, both mentally and physically.
Tracking down the thief who initially stole the NOC list in Shanghai, which leads him to a casino in Macau where he stumbles upon the trail of the thief’s employer. Now here is where the real story takes off. It appears that our mysterious hacker is none other than an ex MI-6 agent named Silva (Javier Bardem), a man who is every bit as intelligent and efficient as Bond is. Basically the golden child before Bond was 007. Now he’s back and seeking vengeance upon the women who sold him out to be tortured by the Chinese for years and years, M herself.
Bond, a man who greatly respects M, immediately comes to her defense and does what he can to protect her. Once he realizes that M is not safe within MI-6 walls he takes it upon himself to take her into deep hiding, where he hopes to draw out Silva and face him on even ground.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10867[/img]“Skyfall” is a definitely one of my favorite Bond movies and solidifies Daniel Craig as one of the best portrayals of Bond in many years. “Skyfall” is every bit as good as “Casino Royale” and actually excels in areas that “Casino Royale” failed in. The villain here is EXCEPTIONALLY played by the amazing Javier Bardem. Truly creepy and villainous, yet with that hint desperation and the cape of a fallen hero that lends us to pity him as well as revile the character. The car chases are phenominal and there are a myriad of references to previous Bond movies and little tongue in cheek nods to the older and goofier Bond gadgets that are foregone in this more “realistic” approach to Bond’s character. Even the character of Silva gives a little nod to the Roger Moore days with a slight variation on the “Jaws” character.
I have to tip my hat to Sam Mendes for directing an excellent action movie, a fantastic Bond movie and just an A-list movie in general. He balances the gritty realism that Bond has become with just a hint of the ludicrous to create a character who’s both multi-layered and reminiscent of the Bond portrayed in Ian Flemings novels. Silva, though is the true crown jewel in this film. Javier Bardem plays a character who is different than most any other Bond Villain to date. He’s flamboyant, over the top, wildly unpredictable and totally insane with his lust for revenge on M. While other villains are terrifying in what they do while twirling their mustaches, Silva terrifies us because he’s so twisted, so unpredictable that you never know what kind of sick thing he’s going to do next. Whether it be to systematically kill his lover or slaughter an entire court procedure just to get to one person, he truly shines as the quintessential sociopath.
Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10868[/img]In a word, “Skyfall” is absolutely STUNNING. MGM has given us an absolutely flawless 2.40:1 AVC encode for the newest Bond iteration. Detail is through the roof. From the moment I saw Eve’s facial close-up as she’s taking aim down the barrel of her sniper rifle I knew we were in for a treat. Every facial pore, every crease in the skin, even flaws in the makeup are exquisitely rendered for our viewing pleasure. Colors are a very natural hew and literally pop off the screen. We have the ever so popular orange and teal color tinge to the transfer that modern directors seem so keen on using, but that doesn’t get in the way of all the natural colors rife within the film. Blacks are deep and inky with phenomenal detail still present even in the darkest of shadows. Both close ups and far away shots are of excellent detail and quality, and the lack of any digital or compression artifacting is a pleasant treat. The Digitally shot film was transferred to a 4k digital intermediary where the benefits of such a transfer are readily apparent. While we are missing the 1.90:1 IMAX presentation on the disc I rather don’t miss it. I saw the IMAX transfer in theaters and the opened up area on the film looked awkward and rather sloppy. The 2.40:1 ratio looks much tighter and more “focused” than the open matter version. It was rather obvious that MGM was going to treat “Skyfall” with Kidd gloves, but I honestly never expected it to look this fantastic.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=10869[/img]When you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll and MGM is ON A ROLL. The audio is every bit as pristine and perfect as the video is. Dynamic range is incredible; the movie can shift from a quiet calm Bond talking to M only to be interrupted by the thunderous sound of a building exploding. LFE is quite literally one of the best I’ve heard. Deep and guttural it had my pant legs flapping during the train sequences and I swear I actually could feel the bullet pass through my chest when he got shot. Surround use is up there in the top echelons, panning from one edge of the sound stage to the other. Whether it be a bullet whizzing past your shoulder, or the distinct clatter of a falling board in the background, all channels were lit up like a Christmas tree and distinctly replicated each unique noise perfectly. Dialogue was crisp and clean, centered in the middle as you would expect with the occasional panning across the front sound stage. Overall another perfect score for a movie that’s near perfect
• Directors Commentary
• Producers Commentary
• Shooting Bond
• "Skyfall" Premiere
• Theatrical Trailer
• Soundtrack Promotional Spots
• Sneak Peaks
“Skyfall” is easily one of my favorite action movies of the year. Action packed, suspenseful and ripe with exquisite character study, it doesn’t fail to please on any front. I have to say that this is a must buy whether you’re a fan of James Bond or just a fan of action movies in general. With the lack of shakey came, excellent directing and amazing audio/video scores this is one that just begs to be added to the collection.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French, Ukranian and English DD 5.1, Italian, Russan DTS 5.1
Runtime: 143 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 12th, 2013
Buy Skyfall Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It!
More about Mike