NEW YORK (CNS) — Don’t be misled by the Chicken-Little title, “Skyfall” (Columbia) is high-flying entertainment, a rousing return for James Bond and a much-needed injection of vitality into the 50-year-old film franchise built around him.
Director Sam Mendes (“Revolutionary Road”) helms British Secret Agent 007’s 23rd adventure, a smart mix of reverence, nostalgia, and humor. Purists will be delighted by the spectacular set pieces and characteristically exotic locations.
It’s not all fluff, as the script, by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan, is thoughtful and character-driven, raising issues of loss, responsibility, patriotism and loyalty amid the battle of good vs. evil.
“Skyfall” opens in familiar territory: Bond (Daniel Craig) is in Istanbul, chasing a bad guy who has stolen a computer disc containing the identities of every secret agent in the world. At his side is field operative Eve (Naomie Harris), who proves as handy with a straight razor as she is with a rifle.
The crime is big trouble for “M” (Judi Dench), the head of British intelligence unit MI6. It was M herself who lost the disc, and its theft proves the perfect excuse for rival government official Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) to challenge M’s competence, force her retirement, and shake things up at the agency.
“It’s a young man’s game now,” Mallory tells Bond, tipping his hope — as the new century progresses — to rely more on cyber technology than spies on the ground.
Trouble is, neither Bond nor M is quite ready to pack it in. Aided by the new “Q” (Ben Whishaw), a computer genius, they redouble their efforts to solve the robbery as its malignant mastermind orchestrates a reign of terror across London.
Called Silva (Javier Bardem), said villain is a sleazy megalomaniac (naturally) who seeks world domination (of course). In a twist, Silva is a disgraced former agent with unique knowledge of M’s past, which fuels his desire for revenge.
At Silva’s side is the exotic Severine (Berenice Marlohe), who warns Bond to be very, very afraid. But 007 pours on the charm (“It takes a certain type of woman to wear a backless dress with a Beretta 70 strapped to her thigh”), and Severine rethinks her loyalties.
The search for Silva is a scenic one, sending Bond to Shanghai and Macau, as well as the depths of London’s underground and the Scottish highlands.
The violence quotient is undeniably high in “Skyfall,” but no more so than is typical for a Bond film, which always seems to involve new and creative ways to blow things up and kill baddies with “style.”
The film contains scenes of intense action violence and torture, implied nonmarital sexual activity, mild sensuality and innuendo as well as some profane and rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Interviews, diplomats’ archives help clarify Vatican role in WWII
NEXT: ‘Lincoln:’ Blockbuster movie of the season
Share this story