There is a backstory to this. Mistaken as being dead (M, his boss, even wrote an obituary), Bond returns when there is news of a blast in the Intelligence Office Building. Since he had disappeared for several months, a surprised M (Judi Dench) asks him to undergo the mandatory tests before he can resume field duty. He fails all of them, but M (the dissatisfied Prime Minister’s office claims she is sentimental about him) lies her way to putting him on the job.
Even though he is told that “it is a young man’s game”, Bond remains every bit as charismatic as always, though—the blue eyes twinkle through the fashionably full-of-lines face, the body very worked-out.
M, on the other hand is going through tribulations of her own, as the PMO suggests she should think of “retirement planning”. The minister tells her she is imagining the world today as still being in the “golden era of espionage.” Now Bond and M, both being viewed as outdated with their capabilities getting questioned, are determined to get to the bottom of the attack.
That the attack was a cyber terrorist attack that neither of them understand is an added minus. With the new office (in an underground garage) M and Bond set to decipher the attack and the reason behind it. In doing so, they enlist on their team members so young, they “still have spots on their face”.
The film is visually stunning (cinematography by Roger Deakin). From the opening credits portion to the fight against blinding lights in a Shanghai building—the film is a visual treat. The sweet-and-sour altercations between Bond and M remain the film’s highlight.
M, brutally straightforward as always has the perfect ally in Bond, who understands her completely and remains unwaveringly loyal. Note the humorous scene where they discuss the obituary M wrote, or when M, on hearing Bond’s childhood story, says that ‘orphans make the best recruits.’
The romance is there but only skimmed over. This is a film about Bond and M— no one else counts. It’s no wonder that Indians love the Bond franchise so much. There’s so much Bollywood in this film— from the larger-than-life villain to the sentimental scene where a character is dying. The finale however, is uncharacteristically melodramatic, and therefore uncomfortable.
Daniel Craig makes for a formidable Bond and is even better than in the last film. Along with the tough guy act, Craig also manages to bring about warmth and humour in the portrayal. Judi Dench is a delight in the film as she flits between being the outspoken boss and handling wily politicians.
As the Bond franchise celebrates its golden anniversary, Skyfall makes you believe in the franchise. Watch it and only one the big screen! Sam Mendes, take a bow!
Rating: Three and a half stars