“This is the end.”
In a fantastic opening sequence, these deceptive first four words of Adele’s poignant theme for Skyfall set the stage for one of the most thrilling Bond movies of all time.
But is it the best?
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of James Bond, and Skyfall certainly has everything that is needed for a good Bond movie – intense action, awesome explosions, lots of guns, sultry girls, and an evil villain – but is it all enough to take the crown as the best Bond movie ever made?
Yes… and no.
Skyfall starts out incredibly strong. Daniel Craig explodes on the screen with a jaw dropping chase sequence that involves cars, motorbikes, guns, and rooftops. Honestly, it was one of the most entertaining scenes in the film; but once Adele’s theme kicks in, the movie takes a step back, slows down, and shifts perspective.
You see, Skyfall is not about Bond.
It’s about M.
M’s past comes back to haunt her.
Without spoiling too much about the plot, Skyfall largely focuses on the character of M – played again by the ever-lovely Dame Judi Dench – and the decisions she has made over the span of her long career as the head of MI-6. She was forced to make hard decisions in the past, and people got hurt along the way. Unfortunately, a shadow from her past rises up with a terrible vengeance, taking the form of Javier Bardem’s character Raoul Silva, and it is an aging Bond who must come to her rescue. This shift in perspective – away from Bond and onto M – is what makes this movie interesting and fresh. Instead of having the film revolve around Bond, like in Casino Royale, this movie pushes M to the frontlines and forces her to deal with the consequences of her actions, and Judi Dench delivers her best performance as M to date. I was truly taken aback by how compelling it was, and Craig’s Bond complimented her character perfectly. Theirs has been a complicated relationship in times past, but Skyfall explores what makes them such an interesting “couple” and really fleshes out the characters in new and intriguing ways … but that is where the freshness ends.
“Did you just call my movie stale?”
Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Casino Royale, but Skyfall, to me, did not draw me in like the reboot did. Was this film beautiful? Absolutely. Sam Mendes delivers one of the most artistically beautiful films I have ever seen. From the vast expanses of English countryside, to the flashing neon lights of Shanghai, my eyes were treated again and again to a visual masterpiece. But underneath the shiny surface lies a relatively simple plot. Silva wants to kill M, and Bond has to protect her. That’s about it. And while some might find that perfectly acceptable, I consider it a step back for this rebooted series. We were treated to a wonderfully complex plot and narrative in Casino Royal, and Quantum of Solace was an extension of that (an admittedly poor one, but it continued the theme of Bond finding his identity). But, instead of picking up where the last film left off, Skyfall completely abandons the narrative established by the last two films and veers off in its own direction. Does this mean Skyfall is a bad movie? Absolutely not. In fact, I consider it to be a far superior movie than Quantum of Solace.
The problem is that it forces Bond to share the spotlight with too many characters. Instead of having one main “Bond Girl,” Bond has two leading ladies (excluding M) whom he deals with in this movie – and while this is “classic Bond,” his relationships with these two women are sorely underdeveloped. There is no chemistry between them and Bond, no connection, and though they both serve a purpose in the film, they simply feel like throwaway characters. This is unfortunate, because the rest of the cast is stellar. As I’ve already said, Judi Dench blew me away with her performance as M, but Craig delivers an equally moving performance as Bond, and following behind them both are the fantastic characters of Gareth Mallory, played brilliantly by Ralph Fiennes (aka Voldemort) and the entertaining “Q” played by Ben Whishaw. But despite this stellar cast, Skyfall struggles with properly pacing itself. With so many characters demanding attention, it’s easy to get carried away and stretch the narrative too thin. Thankfully this only happens during the beginning of the film, but for a movie that is 143 minutes, it is noticeable.
He’s waiting for the movie to actually start…
Now, I’ve avoided this subject until this point because I wanted to make sure I covered everything else that I considered relevant to this review: the action is great, the story (while interesting) is somewhat weak, the finale is fantastic, and the characters are a mixed bag of excellent and not-so excellent. But the character who is by far the most mixed in a mixed bag of characters is the new Bond villain – and that is not a good thing.
Raoul Silva is creepy. And not the good kind of creepy. He is uncomfortably creepy. Uncomfortably creepy to the point where I did not know if I loved Bardem’s performance or hated it. And this is coming from the guy who literally smiles with awe and wonder when I watch the Joker’s interrogation scene in The Dark Knight. Every. Single. Time. The problem I have with Bardem’s character is how much of an enigma he is. I never could pin down or interpret what he was feeling, whether he was happy or angry or sad or upset. And he has odd little ticks that echo Heath Ledger’s Joker, but they just don’t work for this character. These are issues that should not be present in a Bond villain. Is he a formidable opponent for Bond? Absolutely. He can fight one-on-one with the best of them, and he’s incredibly smart. But is he a good Bond villain? No. At least not compared to Le Chiffre from Casino Royale. LeChiffre is a good modern Bond villain. Raoul Silva is a good classic Bond villain, which brings me to why I think Skyfall is and is not the best James Bond movie of all time.
Skyfall is the perfect blend of old and new; it has numerous throwbacks to the old movies – ranging from inside jokes to actual props to the cheesy villain himself – and yet it retains the grizzled, realistic feel that has helped establish Craig’s interpretation of the character as the ultimate Bond. This blend of old and new is what makes this movie special, and why many will consider it to be the greatest Bond movie of all time. But I feel that it pays too much of an homage to the pre-Casino Royale era of Bond.
From this reviewer’s perspective, Casino Royale breathed new life into the franchise, creating a Bond that shocked audiences and made him real and relevant again. However, instead of following suit and forging ahead with this revitalized mindset, Skyfall allows itself to be held back by the last 50 years of Bond, and it is for this reason why I believe it cannot be the greatest Bond film of all time. It is a great anniversary film for sure, and Craig and Dench give standout performances, but the rest of the movie falls just a bit too short to be worthy of the crown.
Final Verdict: 8.5/10
The Dark Knight Rises is film we have been waiting for since 2008. The film that ends Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, and is his final Batman story. The film we both needed and deserved, the Dark Knight has risen, and it shattered my mind.
But before I go further, I will say that is in imperative that you see Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before you see this movie. You cannot just waltz in and expect to piece it together as you go. Everything is interconnected, and you will be completely lost if you haven’t see the first to movies.
“If you could change your fate, would you?”
This tagline has been marketed fiercely by Pixar as their latest creative gemstone, Brave, drew closer and closer to its summer release. But now the movie is out, and audiences are ready for the next Pixar film. But does Brave hit the target, or does it miss the mark?
Starting with the film debut of Iron Man in 2008, Marvel fans have watched their beloved Avengers come to life one-by-one in cinemas across the globe. And while some did not fare as well as others, all were accepted with the promise that fans would get to see these heroes unite on one screen for an unprecedented superhero mash-up.
That movie is The Avengers.
And it is insane.
It isn’t often that a new television show comes along and completely takes you by surprise, and it is even rarer for that surprise to be good.
NBC’s Awake is one of those surprises, and it is deliciously good.
A month or so back, I made mention that I really wanted to see a certain set of movies over the course of this winter. The trailers had intrigued me, and I wanted to see more. Unfortunately, one of said movies did not live up to my expectations, and left me feeling empty inside (okay, not really, but I was rather disappointed).
However, it is an entirely different story with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and, in this reviewer’s opinion, there are just two words that can sum up this entire movie:
If there was any sequel I was most excited for this year, Sherlock Holmes 2 was the one. Having loved the first movie to pieces, I was raring to join the world’s most famous detective on another adventure of mystery, intrigue, romance, and action.
Unfortunately, A Game of Shadows failed to deliver on all points, save for the very last.
In a time where Hollywood has deemed they must reboot/remake every existing movie franchise known to man, it was no surprise when word got out that The Planet of the Apes was getting a fresh coat of paint, and the general consensus was a collective groan. After all, the classic tale had already seen a remake once (*points at Tim Burton and Mark Wahlberg*), and though it fared well financially, fans of the original cried out in rage at the blasphemous Burton tale. So, with the waters already tainted, Fox had two options for proceeding with the franchise: produce a sequel, or reboot it.
Fox chose the latter.
And I am ever grateful that they did.
Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston.
When you look at these names, the names of these absolutely stellar actors, and find out that they are all going to be titled in the same credits; that they are all going to be acting together in the same movie – but not just any movie! – a movie on a global scale, showcasing the panic and paranoia that comes from the worst (fictional) virus epidemic in modern history; when you discover this movie, a movie that critics have praised as “smart” and “scary,” you can’t help but be excited for it. You have to see it.
This movie was Contagion.
And it was the worst film I have seen all year.
“It all ends.”
That single sentence packs a significant and heavy punch when the realization that there will be no more Harry Potter films, a series that has been around for 10 years, sets in. To say it is finished is difficult, because, for a time, it seemed like we would always have another Harry Potter movie to look forward to (regardless if they were good or not). An icon of our generation, a multi-billion dollar franchise, everyone knows who Harry Potter is; but we knew it couldn’t last.
As the saying goes, all things must come to an end.
And what an end it was.
I know I said I probably wasn’t going to write another movie review until Harry Potter 7.2, but after seeing Super 8, I can’t help but express my opinion about the film. You see, I personally really wanted the movie to excel; heck, I got goosebumps from just watching its first trailer! And when you have Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams working together, you know it’s gonna be good, right? After all, we’re talking about the man who created E.T., arguably one of the greatest movies of all time, and the man who directed the highly successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise. It has to be good! Right?
Most of the time I don’t see movies on their opening nights – it’s always incredibly busy and I hate noisy crowds – but on a whim I decided to see the late show of the latest Pirates movie with a friend. Going in, I didn’t have very high hopes for the
film, especially after I saw the first trailer (they changed his hair!), but I allowed myself to have an open mind. They did, after all, get a new director,it was a new story (no Will and Elizabeth!), and it had Jack Sparrow – it had
to be epic, right?
Thor is one of those superhero movies that you’re really just not sure about. He’s a well known character (everyone knows about the God of Thunder!), but little else is known about him besides his name. Furthermore, how can a Norse mythology fit into the plausible high-tech future reality established by the down-to-earth Iron Man, and further solidified by The Incredible Hulk? How can the God of Thunder fight side-by-side with Captain America, Iron Man, and The Hulk?
Such a feat seemed impossible, ridiculous even (remember, we’re talking about a plausible reality, not comic book reality), and many doubted it would work (this reviewer included), but this movie proved my doubts wrong, misplaced, and even offensive. To sum it up in three words:
The easiest way to sum up this movie is Call of Duty + Alien Invasion; sounds awesome, right?! Well, it is – to a point. At its core, Battle LA is a military movie; the main character is an old marine who, the day he’s supposed to retire, gets pulled back in for one more mission – to help escort the general Los Angeles population out of the city; giant meteors are heading toward the Earth at rapid speed right for the coastlines of all the major world cities. Local and national news stations are freaking out, because scientists say these meteors should have been visible years before that day, which means they’re not ordinary meteors. And then, right before the marines are deployed, the meteors strike, and the aliens begin tearing the streets to shreds. But the marines have a mission – to get the civilians out of the war zone – and thus begins Battle LA.
So, after a long movie-viewing hiatus, I finally went to the theatre and saw The King’s Speech – and I’ll be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it had won a few Academy Awards – including Best Director, Best Male Lead Actor, and Best Picture – and that Helena Bonham-Carter and Geoffrey Rush were co-stars, but other than that I hadn’t really heard a lot about it. So what was my reaction after seeing a movie I knew virtually nothing about before hand?
I was blown away.
Let me just say this right off the bat; The Green Hornet was absolutely awesome!
The Green Hornet tells the tale of spoiled rich kid Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) who is thrown from a life of booze and partying into a life of responsibility, in a city where crime runs unchecked in the streets, and he takes it upon himself to save the town. Classic Superhero story, right? Wrong! Instead of declaring himself the good guy for all to see, he and his trusty side-kick, Kato, become villains to trick the villains! And the resulting madness that follows makes for one highly entertaining movie.
Lord Timotheous here again, back to review one of Hollywood’s latest and greatest cinematic feats – Tron: Legacy. As I’ve done with my other movie reviews, I will be evaluating the film on multiple levels, because I think it’s far more effective and informative to do so. The categories are as follows: Casting/acting, story, visual effects, and music. And as before, this review will remain spoiler-free (I hate spoilers with an undying passion!). Now, let’s begin!
Hello again! I am back to review yet another film, Robin Hood, but before I do that, allow me to explain a few things. First, this is not a retelling of the beloved Disney tale, nor is it an adventure film that shows Robin’s daring exploits as the infamous fugitive of Britain. This is an origins story, explaining the evolution of Robin Longstride into Robin the Hood. I wouldn’t say it is the best origins story, but it is most definitely a movie of epic proportions!
Before I begin this review, let me explain a bit about myself. I am a Harry Potter fanboy/purist. I have read every book more than once, seen all the movies (both great and greatly disappointing), and have been greatly inspired by this wonderful series that the extraordinary Jo Rowling has created for us. What began as a child’s tale in the first book, the series has evolved into a mature, dark, and sorrowful story that shows us what true evil is – and how love can conquer all.
I will be judging this movie on 6 different levels: acting, casting, accuracy to the book, music, and visual effects, and cinematography/locations. I do not claim to be an expert of cinema, nor do I claim that my opinion is the only one out there; for that is precisely what this review is – my opinion. I am simply giving my thoughts and first impressions over the movie. Whether or not you agree is another matter entirely.