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November 10, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CST
If James Bond isn't recognizable from his iconic theme music, then his hand gun, sleek suit and overall suaveness would be the first clues to the spy’s identity. In Skyfall, the newest installment of the Bond series, .007 is as debonair as ever as Daniel Craig assumes the role of the licensed killer for the third time.
Fifty years after the first Bond movie, From Russia With Love, hit the silver screen in 1962, the longest running movie franchise is still orchestrating new fight scenes and plotlines. In Skyfall, Bond’s adversary (Javier Bardem) questions the morals of Bond’s boss, M (Judi Dench). The result is mental sparring in addition to the traditional Bond physical scuffles.
Cinematography helps illustrate the choreography of the numerous fight scenes. Director Sam Mendes shows a fracas between .007 and henchmen in silhouettes, under water and with camera angles from the ground up. And, of course, Bond doesn’t miss a step; he fights several foes at once without losing a pocket square or cufflink.
As far as special effects, Skyfall’s follow the typical Bond formula: lots of flames, bullets, car chases and explosions. When in pursuit of a villain, Bond pulls stunts that would make Evel Knievel nervous to watch. True to the spy’s wise-cracking character, there is no shortage of one-line zingers after .007 kills a minion or sets off an explosion.
Always a grittier Bond, Craig gives his usual rugged performance, but he lets the spy’s emotional side flourish onscreen, too, as villains and M dredge up his childhood memories as an orphan. Dench’s character, M, on the other hand, is cold and unyielding as ever. The actress exemplifies M’s haughty pride as her competency is questioned.
Skyfall’s plot pays homage to earlier Bond movies by subtly referencing the spy’s classic traits. For instance, Bond makes several quips regarding his gadgets of the past (i.e. exploding pens and ejector seats). The mix of lighthearted moments, classic fight scenes and the actors’ performances make Skyfall a jewel in the crown of the British espionage franchise. It may be called Skyfall, but the newest Bond film will likely skyrocket to the top of the box office.