When I see a movie in theaters, I will write the five things you need to know about it.
5 Things You Need to Know About…
1. Skyfall is an 143 minute long movie that feels like an 143 minutes long movie. There are eye-candied sequences of classic action cinema mastery whose shot by shot intricacy, visually stunning stunts, and pulsating pacing are compelling and brilliant, but inevitably exhausting. There are also too many story elements, unnecessary villain plan complexity (although much of Javier Bardem’s sinister and campy performance is a joy to witness), and questionable character inclusions (let’s just say that Skyfall was not a good platform for the Bond girl) that could have been easily omitted.
2. Metaphorically and often in actuality, Skyfall is set at dusk on a gloomy and raw late November day. Daniel Craig’s hair color is consistently the brightest thing on screen (the innumerable explosions notwithstanding). His icy, flatlined, psychologically troubled and sharpshooting deficient, and cold-hearted James Bond isn’t having too much fun here (even his near death inspired beach vacation is curtailed by his devotion to and love of country). It is quite possible that the events in The Dark Knight Rises, when Gotham City is under Bane’s wintry, bridge destruction filled occupation, occurred concurrently with much of Skyfall‘s third, fourth, fifth, and sixth acts (and yes, it felt like there were that many). Be sure to pack your scarf and mittens or you may catch a cold.
3. Bond movies are often enhanced by their exotic locales and location shoots. Beyond a classic, multiple vehicular chase sequence extraordinaire in Turkey to open the picture, Skyfall is all about London (again filled with sunless, cloudy skies) and its United Kingdom environs. The traditional propensity of foreign locales will often provide a Bond movie distant and less consequential stakes (we are watching the train derailment but we are not wholly experiencing it because it is somewhere far away). Skyfall takes the opposite approach and intentionally (and in some ways not, some MGM budget issues forced the scrapping of some additional foreign shoots) brings the consequences closer to the pond.
4. Judi Dench, for the sixth time portraying MI6 leader M, earns her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire title in this movie. At the remarkable age of 0077, she is very much a sight to behold. In so many ways, Skyfall is Dame Judi’s picture.
5. Skyfall is a movie (a good James Bond movie at that), but not a transcendent cinematic force as some critics have suggested. I was stirred, but not shaken.
David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly X Factor column appears on Afterbuzztv.com and his weekly THE CHALLENGE: BATTLE OF THE SEASONS Power Rankings can be read on Derek Kosinski’s ultimatechallengeradio.com.