Skyfall ★★★½

Premieres. The red carpet. The "champagne" and strawberries. Ticket tearers in their best suits. Crowded house! It really gets me in the mood, in moments such as these, movies are really best enjoyed at theaters.

It's always something special with a new Bond film. Everyone has an opinion. Will he be cool? Tough? Witty? All of the above? And in later years, I believe the expectations have been raised higher beforehand to whether the film itself will turn out to have the necessary qualities. There are also higher expectations towards the current director. Will he bring something new to the table regarding Bond's character, his background and personality, or will he weave the well known, familiar pattern. This time, in fact, family is a key word. Because director Sam Mendes opens a door to the past, to Bond's childhood and heirloom.
Before that final climax, however, we get to tag along on the usual trip around the world chasing badguys. Evil adversary this time is played by Javier Bardem. He does it well, at least at first, a bit theatrical perhaps (ain't most Bond crooks?) but quite creepy. Later, when there's running and shooting and mayhem, he becomes more ordinary.

In between all these I experienced the film to drag a bit more than I hoped for. It's too slow in parts, although there are some beautifully filmed scenes - the Shanghai skyscraper sequence is borderline arthouse but maybe not what you're looking for in a James Bond movie. So, what about the new regulars - Ben Whishaw as Q? Can he replace Desmond Llewellyn? Of course he can't, and it's still far too early to say if he can make the role his own. He has the talent, but as much as the script tries to make his part substantial, I think he remains a bit anonymous. Moneypenny was a surprise, though. A more actively serving Miss Moneypenny could be a nice addition in coming sequels.
But one thing is certain - I'm going to miss Judi Dench.

Skyfall didn't totally convince me. Sam Mendes - your best film still is American Beauty. Can you really direct action? Again, I'm not convinced. It was nice to hear a Thomas Newman score again, though. Always liked those.

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