Scott Anderson’s review published on Letterboxd:
I have never been a fan of the whole James Bond thing. Around the time I saw the second Pierce Brosnan entry, I walked out of the theater and decided I was no longer interested, and I had not been back since. The whole formula of dude gets a new mission, gets gadgets, sleeps with 2-4 different women, gets in fight with lowly henchmen bad guys and wins, gets in fight with big main bad guy and has a much tougher time but still manages to win, roll credits? I find that to be extremely boring. Yes, I understand I basically just described a Batman movie as well, and I loved the Nolan trilogy. Shut up.
I think someone should try a totally different take on a Bond movie, a gritty story about him taking one year off for a little bit of relaxation, and we get to learn all about his personal life when he isn't sliding down shit while shooting shit. Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases because he got a call from a former partner that she is positive, writing checks for child support even though Roger Moore was the one who fathered the kid, that sort of thing. Maybe go a James Bond is Howard Hughes route, have him locked in a room urinating in jars for a month or so, until M comes to visit him and urges him to get some help. If you're reading this Sam Mendes, give me a call, I can float some more of this brilliance by you.
Alright, time to talk Skyfall. I bet you have read (who am I kidding, no one will read this nonsense) the first two paragraphs and thought, what is this hogwash, this Shanderson fella gave Skyfall 4 stars?!?! Why is he complaining so much?!?! Well, the reason I even gave Skyfall a chance was because of the overwhelming positive feedback I had heard after it was released, so I figured if I was going to jump back into the Bond pool, this was the film to do it with. It was a good choice, because this was a really solid, enjoyable film.
The opening scene of the film, I had one of those eye roll moments. Great, James Bond is fighting a guy while standing on top of a train, how original. Somehow though, the sequence did manage to feel fresh and exciting because it was executed extremely well, and ended on a note I wasn't expecting. Then it went into the opening credits sequence with Adele playing, and I realized it may only be 12 or so minutes in, but I was enjoying the hell out of it already.
I still had the same issues with Skyfall that I do with the whole Bond concept in general though. For example, does him sleeping with various women actually add anything to the story, or is it just to keep that Bond tradition alive? Trust me, I am no prude, I will pretty much watch anything if it actually carries the story along, but I felt like this could be a tighter film with better pacing if it avoided having like three different typical Bond scores another hot chick scenes. I'm sure for people who are huge fans of the entire film series of the character, these are just a part of the whole experience, something that is needed for him to be Bond, but for me it sort of killed the momentum of film.
That aside, Skyfall is a terrific film because Sam Mendes directed the hell out of it, with actors giving great performances across the board working off an excellent script. I actually had forgotten Javier Bardem was in the film because he isn't even seen for the first time until halfway through, but by the end, Christ I was glad to watch him do his thing. His work in No Country for Old Men to here in Skyfall, I will be on board for anything if his character is creepy and evil, especially because both performances were so totally different, yet so incredibly special and memorable.
Before I wrap up this far too long review, I can't not mention the cinematography of this film, which in my world was the star of the show. Just brilliant to look at for the entire run time, incredible frame after incredible frame after incredible frame. That scene with him lurking in the shadows watching Patrice work, the neon glow of lights reflecting off the glass that surrounds them? Oh my lord I was in heaven, my rods and cones asked me to pause the film when it was over so they could write me a thank you note for that sequence.
I had a blast watching Skyfall. Perhaps my whole Bond song and dance will be stepping aside so I can catch the next one when it is released, if it is anything like what I saw here, count me in.