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SKYFALL

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Robert Wade, Neal Purvis and John Logan
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe and Albert Finney
Studio: MGM/Columbia Pictures

“Skyfall” owes more to “The Wrath of Khan” and “The Dark Knight” than it does to 50 years of James Bond. Actually, that’s being a little negative. There are plenty of homages to other Bond moments in the film. However, M says it the best when she wishes that Bond would use the ejector seat on her. It’s not so much about the gadgets in the movie or the beloved history. It’s about knowing when it’s time to revamp a franchise.

Javier Bardem is one of the most inspired Bond villains ever, even though he owes much of his performance to Ledger’s “Joker”. However, it’s the kind of villain that Bond needs to become relevant again. Taking away the illusions of machismo and invulnerability, we need to see a Bond that can be hurt by losing his world around him. Mendes was wise to keep playing with the themes of resurrection throughout the film. From Bond’s gaping chest wound in the opening to the politics of being dead with Silva and Bond. A proud legacy will bare mistakes that require you to think upon on your sins.

Mendes pick and chooses from the literary Bond, the film Bond and all points in-between to create a needed hodgepodge. Does it matter that Bond is so fixated on his childhood home of Skyfall or his parents’ deaths. Why do orphans make the best agents? What matters is that we’re meeting a Bond that knows when it’s time to die and when it’s time become bored with death. A never-ending cycle of a British Phoenix that can’t stay in retirement because there is work to be done. The same can be said for Dench’s die-hard performance as M.

What will make “Skyfall” matter in the long-run is its ability to open the character to new audiences. I’ve spent the last few weeks introducing several people to the world of Bond and studying their reactions for my next massive character project for 2013 (Hint: Spider Project is almost done). The character works when a director and star understand Bond. Bond isn’t so much a person or a code name, but a state of mind. Building a world where stakes are constantly heightened and down time doesn’t exist is where the character thrives.

Can Mendes and company maintain that level of excitement for Bond? I doubt it, but I eagerly anticipate where Bond heads next. I find the efforts to make Bond relevant to the modern age without bogging him down in Jack Bauer low-yield dynamics to be fascinating. It’s just that even this film shows the temptation to take a hard dive into the past. Avoid the trip back to the well, Mister Bond. You’re so much better than that.

RELEASE DATE: 11/09/2012

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