Skyfall

Skyfall ★★★★★

I really attribute this film as really the first time I became aware of the 007 franchise. I mean I guess I knew about James Bond earlier, but this was the first Bond film in my lifetime with such a craze along with Adele's epic song for it (a very deserved Oscar win I might add). However, as someone who never saw a Bond film before I haven't seen it until today as I'm finishing the quest I started this year of seeing EVERY Bond film in chronological order. After seeing this entry I must say that I now indeed understand the hype surrounding it!

First off Sam Mendes is phenomenal in his part in the director's chair. Properly choreographed and edited gun fight, chase and explosion scenes are what sets apart the good from the bad and here we had some of the best in the franchise with the climactic battle. The highlight of all of them being the final climactic battle sequence that keeps you at the edge of your seat. These scenes' success is rooted in every shot being so breathtakingly detailed utilizing a expertly placed lighting and deliciously diverse color palate you'd swear at times this was a moving Impressionist-Era painting... but, you know with explosions and shit.

Also, aside from Mendes and the work of his cinematographer and editor is the work of his art directors and location scouts. The locations selected such as the abandoned island of crumbling infrastructure, a paper lantern lit Casino in the middle of an unknown body of water and Bond's childhood cottage in the middle of hauntingly barren English countryside will leave your jaw agape wondering if they were real.

Finally, you can't have a proper 007 film without a proper Bond and a compelling villain. Daniel Craig has proven he is one of the best, if not, the best Bond in the history of this franchise providing cold, distant personality twist with the character who's few one-liners so subtle you do actually laugh. It's when he finally cries or breaks down emotionally you truly feel the weight of what you recognize is a rare moment for him. To match him, Javier Bardem doesn't disappoint as one of the more unique villains in Bond history who drives a suspenseful narrative that keeps you glued to the screen. Add on top of that an excellent supporting cast in Albert Finney, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw as Q (and a fine one I might add) and Judi Dench in sadly her final outing as the series' best M and what we had was a film that couldn't fail.

I guess to sum it all up the flawless execution of "Skyfall" after a 5 year hiatus was just what was needed to get the public excited about this sadly inconsistent franchise again. Filmed eloquently, thrilling action sequences, a phenomenal cast, gorgeous aesthetics and a catchy Bond song make for what maybe the best film of this franchise.