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Posted: Thursday, 6 September 2012, 15:18


I just got back from a Skyfall screening in London! Me and a few other people were asked to attend a test screening. I�ve attempted a review. I hope you enjoy.

�Take the bloody shot� Judi Dench blasts as James Bond is thrown off the side of a train and into the murky depths below. Is this the end of James Bond, hell no it isn�t. As this scene is just the start of the film, and the conclusion to a whopping 25 minute pre title sequence which takes James Bond to Turkey. I�m sure you are all thinking that 25 minutes is far too long for a pre title sequence, but the whole thing is pitch perfect and after the brilliant addition of the iconic James Bond gunbarrel sequence, which involves our hero dressed in an open necked tuxedo walking briskly onto the screen, with the brilliant Casino Royale gunbarrel design, opening up a stunning shot of the Turkey skyline, which sets the tone for the fantastic cinematography in this film. It�s honestly the best looking Bond film ever.

Unfortunately the soundtrack is not finished yet, so incidental music was used for the entire film, in this case, the Tomorrow Never Dies gunbarrel music), the opening title�s weren�t finished either, some dancing girls, fire, blood but pretty much just a green sceen and used music from the OHMSS titles.

The one thing that is evident though, is that Daniel Craig just owns James Bond. He is perfect in the role. Delivering every line with dangerous solidarity and just total awesomeness. He is way comfortable in this role, and it shows in this flawless performance. We actually get under the skin of the character more so than in Casino Royale.

This, in the most possible way, feels like a classic Bond movie, but at the same time very different. We even get a darker off the rails Bond, as he�s enjoying his freedom from the service before returning to M�s aid. We see Bond, funnily enough, smoking a cigar in a run down bar. Lovely nod to Die Another Day, but the highlight of the scene involves Bond nearly getting bitten by a scorpion during a rather sadistic drinking game.

Sam Mendes definitely understands what he�s doing here. I admit originally I had doubts, we know what happens when drama directors get a shot at Bond, especially Michael Apted, but for the first time since Casino Royale, the films action is doesn�t feel pointless and moves the plot along smoothly.

Javier Bardem is just totally creepy as Silva, easily the best Bond villain since well� Goldfinger. He has shades of Francisco Scramanga and Max Zorin for that matter, who were both very good villains, but I don�t even know if I can call him a villain. I totally understand his plan, I feel for the guy. The first time in history that I�ve actually felt sorry for the Bond villain. He is the same as Bond, they experience the same thing, but the difference between both of them is how they handle certain situations. There�s a lovely scene involving Silva in an isolation chamber, and Silva tells Bond that he might be loyal to her majesty but if he knew half of the deceit and betrayal going on in this �stupid little county� then he wouldn�t think twice in joining him. Bond replies with �Try me.�, and Silva delivers one of the most chilling lines in the entire movie �Oh now now now James. I never spoil surprises,�. but I won�t deny that soon enough you will wonder whether you�re fighting for the right side.�

His plan involves murdering M, played by Judi Dench after her being responsible for the death of his, and Bonds parents during an operation gone wrong. If you think that�s the only part of the story, think again. I don�t want to spoil the film too much, but the plot is very very well told, and there�s so much more to Silva that I don�t want to discuss in risk of ruining everything. M has so much screen time in this, and one scene in particular she is in the thick of the action and the tension is unbearable. I�ve always loved Judi Dench, and I dare say she is one of the best things about this film. I would go so far to say she�s the highlight of it. M is so much more than everyone else thinks, I�m not going to disclose the fact whether is stays good or not, but the entire film is fantastic, in the way that we find out her backstory, and about the loss of her husband, and some of the inner turmoil she�s experiencing brilliantly unfolds to make this one of the most character driven Bond films of recent times. There�s a lovely scene around 2 hours in, involving M waking up in the Aston Martin DB5, without Bond at the steering wheel, it turns out that Bond is outside, looking over Scotland, Bond pours both of them a drink and they talk about Bonds childhood, and the loss of his parents, and just what has made him into such a cold blooded killer.

The last half an hour is by far the most emotionally draining and action packed aspect of the entire film. Infact, any Bond film. I can officially say that I have never cried during any James Bond film. I came close with the death of Bonds wife in OHMSS, but never have I ever had a near emotional breakdown. Until now.. there�s a major event in this one, that will pretty much make your mouth drop. It is SO unexpected and brilliantly acted. It wasn�t happy tears either. I nearly lost it. I�m so happy that I kept myself contained, but I won�t deny that the tears were rolling down my face.

There�s just so much that I haven�t covered. Everything is near perfect. A massive shame that soundtrack wasn�t finished, though. So we pretty much had music from the last few Bond films, but I didn�t mind really. Everything in this film is so great. There�s no brooding Bond anymore. Well, not brooding over Vesper anyway. The thing that struck me about this film is that it�s laugh out loud funny at times. The dialogue is crisp and genuinely funny, but it still manages to keep in touch with Daniel Craigs incarnation of Bond. The best way I can describe it is that it�s a black comedy drama film, with brilliant action and fantastic performances.

Ralph Fiennes is brilliant, he�s one of my favourite actors anyway, and for him to be in a Bond film is just a bonus for me. There�s been rumours floating around the internet and it�s more or less confirmed that he is indeed the new M, There�s a scene right at the end, before the final scene where Bond meets him, in a new office that LOOKS LIKE THE OLD M�S OFFICE, and the scene is fantastic. Sets up Bond 24 perfectly (by which I mean the Bond and M relationship. Not the plot) The scene reminded me a lot of Judi�s first scene in GoldenEye.

Casting Ben Whilshaw as Q was a very good idea. He has a lot of screentime in this one. More than I was actually expecting. He's there for a really long time, popping up in different places. Not a bad thing either. I was actually very surprised by the amount of chemistry that Ben and Daniel have. They just bounce off eachother totally. Trying to get the upper hand and insult eachother. Brilliantly written.

However, there are some gripes I had with it. The film is nearly 3 hours long, and there�s too much talking in some scenes, BUT that�s just me. I just wanted Bond back in action, It�s not a bad thing,. The thing I didn�t like though was Naomi Harris. Her acting is really bad in some scenes and her performance really does drag the film down. However, I guess I�ll have to get used to her since I have a feeling we will be seeing more of her in future. I wasn�t too keen on Berenice Marhole either. Her acting was fine, but there was something about her that was too Vesper. I can�t explain it. She is by no means terrible, but there are definitely shades of a darker Eva Green in there.

Overall though, to quote Mr Craig himself. This is definitely Bond with a capital B. Everything is there. The DB5 (with gadgets!), cool Bond moments (Bond strangling a guy with his bowtie, then putting it back on) beautiful cinematography (Honestly, the best ever) and the best thing, FINALLY a Bond villain that you�re scared by. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem are definitely the highlights of the movie. This is definitely the Bond film you�ve been waiting for. I just cannot wait to see it again. I really want to go back and watch it a good few more times.

• Location: London

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