Skyfall is a film directed by Sam Mendes, with a screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan.  This is the 23rd James Bond film and the third in the Daniel Craig era, preceded by Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008).  In the newest addition to the 007 series, Bond begins the film with an intense fighting scene as he is chasing a mercenary.  He ends up falling over a bridge and is presumed dead by all of MI6; however, when MI6 comes under attack by a major terrorist, Bond must reemerge from his hiding and help Britain’s intelligence agency hunt this rebel down.  As more details of the terrorist and his plot are revealed, dark secrets about M are uncovered, and 007’s loyalty to his superior is greatly tested.

In the third of Craig’s Bond movies, he and Mendes have created one of the greater films in this storied franchise’s history.  After Quantum of Solace, I began to think Craig would never make another 007 film as great as Casino Royale and would end up fading into history as another average Bond that could never measure up to the greatness of Sean Connery’s original portrayal.  That was until I saw Skyfall.  Daniel Craig clearly made a statement in this film that he is the best James Bond since Connery.  Mendes and Craig have included much more dramatic elements than previous Bond films, not to mention some dazzling special effects that make the terror and destruction in the movie feel real to the viewers.  I rank Skyfall as the second-best film in the franchise, ahead of Casino Royale (2006), From Russia with Love (1963), and Dr. No (1962), but I have put it behind Goldfinger (1964), which I still consider to be the top Bond movie of all time.

The cast that was assembled for Skyfall only adds to the sensation of the film.  Dame Judi Dench reprises her role as M, giving a stellar performance as a character she has played in each consecutive film since 1995, beginning with GoldenEye.  Another strong performance in the film is provided by Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem.  He plays the film’s villain, Raoul Silva, and portrays the character in such a creepy, disturbing way that it makes Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men (2007) look like the nicest guy in the world.  The film features some other great supporting performances by Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, and Bérénice Marlohe as the newest Bond girl, Sévérine.

As this blog has proved, I am always excited for the Academy Awards, but this year, I have an extra layer of anticipation because the Academy plans to honor the 50-year anniversary of the first James Bond movie with a tribute to the legendary franchise, including Adele performing “Skyfall,” the newest film’s theme song, which is nominated for Best Original Song.  Skyfall is rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language, and smoking.

Academy Award nominations for Skyfall:

Cinematography (Roger Deakins)

Best Original Score (Thomas Newman)

Best Original Song (“Skyfall,” music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth)

Sound Editing (Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers)

Sound Mixing (Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, and Stuart Wilson)

Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of the Year:

5. Django Unchained

6. Life of Pi

7. Amour

8. Les Misérables

9. Beasts of the Southern Wild

10. Looper

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

12. The Dark Knight Rises

13. Flight

14. The Master

15. Argo


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