Movie Review: Skyfall

Denisa and I got a chance to go check out Skyfall last weekend, and I’m here to report back to all you faithful readers, giving it the official Bryce’s Ramblings stamp of approval. (Maybe I should come up with my own proprietary scale? “I give this movie 8 groundhogs!” Hmm . . . I think I’ll stick to the traditional stars for now.)

How was it? Denisa and I watched Casino Royale the night before, because I wanted to be properly primed for the film. And they’re two very different movies. I really loved Casino Royale, although it had a plot that I only really “got” this last time when I was watching it. Vesper’s actions and motivations were really murky when I saw the film in theaters.

Skyfall . . . I enjoyed a lot. I didn’t flat out love it like I hoped to. (Step one of enjoying a movie: never buy into the hype. Best Bond ever? Hmm . . . that’s so subjective. What makes a good Bond? For a lot of people, I’m thinking they didn’t necessarily like the other Bond movies, so when this one comes along that’s different, it’s easy to give it the “Best Bond Ever” label. I personally always loved Bond for the punchlines, the gadgets, the action, and Bond. This one was great in 2 out of 4 of those.) Let me run down the likes/dislikes.


  • The action scenes. Flat out incredible. There are motorcycle chases across roofs, for crying out loud. How is that not awesome? The climax was fantastic, as well.
  • The villain. Suitably creepy and awesome, and well done for a Bond villain. I liked his motivations, as well.
  • The A-team build up to the climax. I don’t want to say more than that, but you’ll get the reference if you’ve seen the film. I really liked that, and the climax itself. It builds very well–watch how the conflict escalates step by step, but also becomes more personal. Super job on that.
  • The nods to previous Bond films, especially the vintage stuff. Loved the retro vibe in the music now and then.
  • Daniel Craig continues to be a great Bond. Very glad he’s filling the role right now.
  • How long it took to really get into an actual plot. There was a lot of wheel spinning before the main villain shows up. It took off quite well at that point, but up until then . . . the objectives were quite murky.
  • Lack of humor. There were touches here and there, but this is a Bond film that takes itself very seriously. I’m not saying I don’t like the serious. But Bond always managed to lighten the mood some. Of course, in the films, that tends to cheapen the element of suspense. Bond is usually going to find his way out of this mess, and his calm demeanor shows you that at the expense of tension. In this movie, they’ve ditched the humor so they can build the tension. I think they ditched too much.
  • The gadgets, or lack thereof. Look people–there are a lot of action movies out there. You’ve got your Jackie Chan movies, where he uses crazy everyday objects as weapons and does crazy stunts. You’ve got Mission Impossible, where you have a team using gadgets and ingenuity to take out the bad guy. You’ve got Bourne, where a lone man uses his ninja reflexes and his shaky-cam-fu to come out on top. What I mean to say is that each franchise is supposed to have its key differences, in my opinion. And Bond has gadgets. I like the gadgets to be somewhat realistic–the Brosnan movies got a little carried away, I’d say. But still–I like me some gadgetry. This movie had a touch, but not enough to really feel like a Bond movie. Sad.
  • Here’s the biggie. My Big Complaint about the movie. And it comes down to what I feel like is one of the weakest plot devices movies and books can use. I haven’t seen it described before, so I’m probably using terminology that isn’t used by others, but I’m sure the problem has been outlined elsewhere. I call it the Supergenius Villain Plan. What I mean by that is a movie that is driven for the lion’s part of the film by a villain who’s so outrageously cunning and smart that he’s foreseen every possibility. He knows everything. He’s gone ahead and set everything up. A touch of this is okay. But without going into too much detail, Skyfall does this way too much, and I really don’t dig that. Because in the end, it kills believability for me. No one knows that much. No one can set things up that perfectly. It just. can’t. happen. And Bond doesn’t have to be believable, but this movie . . . it’s really going for believability. And then it cuts itself by using a Supergenius Villain Plan. Too bad.
In the end, I still really liked the movie. Three stars for me. Recommended. But . . . don’t buy into the hype. My hope is that if you haven’t seen the movie, this review will encourage you to lower your expectations, which in turn will help you enjoy the movie more.
Make sense?
Already seen it? What did you think? Do share!

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