First review of Skyfall: Bond is back and he's more dangerous than ever
22:23 GMT, 12 October 2012
Bond is back and he's more dangerous than ever but so is M who is the most ruthless character in Skyfall.
As played by Dame Judi Dench, the security services chief is like a lioness in winter as she prowls her office ordering an agent to 'take the bloody shot', a move that puts Daniel Craig's craggy James Bond in grave danger.
A sinister force from M's past, played with delicious relish by Javier Bardem, has stolen the identities of M's agents.
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He's back: Daniel Craig returns as 007 in Skyfall
This Bond adventure directed by Sam Mendes is pure classic 007 fare , back on firm footing after the less than memorable Quantum of Solace.
Skyfall was a fantastic combination of 007 meets Bourne meets Spooks meets Home Alone.
Graham, Rye who has published the Double-O-Seven Magazine for 30 years, hailed the film as 'brilliant' and said it's 'up there in the top five of all the 23 films made in the world's most famous film franchise'.
When I asked how many stars he would give Skyfall out of five he said: 'That's not the right number.'
He waited a beat and declared: 'It's a 10 star Bond film. It's up there with the best of them.'
opens with a bravura kick-ass pre-credits sequence that could win a
best short all-action Oscar all by its beautiful self if such an award
Dench's M is in for the kill from the get go.
Love interest: Tonia Sotiropoulou plays one of the Bond girls in the film as the agent sips on a Heineken beer
Bond pleads with her to let him help an agent who's bleeding to death. 'You don't have the time.
'Leave him', she demands.
Then there's marvelous action mayhem in a Turkish bazaar with cars and motorbikes screeching up stairs and raising the roof on rooftops.
But M's in no mood for pussy-footing around as she monitors events from her office back at HQ.
She's squeezing the trigger by remote
control, her eyes are like steel and she means business because she
knows the game's up if the agent identities get into the wrong hands.
Great actress that she is the dynamic Dame still knows how to raise a laugh or two even though M's in a thundering mood.
'Where the hell have you been', she snaps when the poor bloke pitches up after taking a bullet for his country.
For a bit he's homeless. He's at M's residence and he informs he that he'll stay at an hotel.
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'Well,' she roars,'You're bloody well not sleeping here.
Judi has been in command as M since Goldeneye in 1997 and this is the best she has ever been in the role.
She's in a bit of a hole with Bardem's Silva after her, plus Ralph Fiennes' intelligence committee chief on her back and Helen McCrory's government minister annoying her at a select committee hearing.
Two new operatives, played by Naomie Harris and Ben Wishaw, help 007 tool up to get after the bad guys and I have to tell you that Bardem turns Silva into one helluva Mr. Bad-ass.
He's kinky with it too, well into stroking what he fancies – including Bond , for heavens sake!
Mendes and his screenwriters, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan have invested the film with some action sequences and some cute one-lines.
Evil: Javier Bardem plays Raoul Silva
Some of the best come from Albert Finney who plays Kincade the keeper of Bond's Highlands childhood home ,Skyfall.
Bond informs Kincade that he should stay out of the forthcoming firefight .
'Try and stop me you jumped up little s**t,' is Kincade's icy response.
It's like a grown up Home Alone as Kincade and M prepare all manner of booby traps for the bloody reckoning with Bardem's Silva.
Mendes has done a marvelous job and Craig is superb — looking super cool in a Tom Ford suit– as a Bond who's still looking suave after 50 years giving pleasure to all.
Peter Taylor, Sony UK's managing director took to the stage before the 2 hour 20 minute film started to ask us, as the first audience in the world to see the film, not to give away any major plot points away.
I'm happy to oblige although over a year ago I did reveal a major point involving Naomie Harris. I won't repeat it but suffice to say we'll be seeing Ms Harris again.
The film began a few minutes late because all 1,600 seats at the Odeon Leicester Square were filled and it took a while for the security team to take our phones, BlackBerries, iPads and so on. Some dummies actually took along digital cameras. Sony weren't taking any chances on pirates getting their hands on Skyfall when it doesn't even open for another two weeks.
Ten security guards patrolled the auditorium with digital night vision goggles to check if anyone was daft enough to copy the film.
The two so-called Bond girls played by Ms Harris and Berenice Marlohe are flirty but they're not used here in the usual kind of 'rumpy-pumpy' way which I think is progress, of sorts.
Graham Rye of Double-O-Seven magazine said the film was so good because producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli had assembled what he called a 'dream team'.
He explained: 'They've got a dream team together again. In the 1960s when Dr No was being put together you had a world-class director in Terence Young, Ken Adam doing design, Ted Moore as cinematographer , and Peter Hunt doing the editing.
'The thing is: They understood Bond .I think that sometimes directors are hired who don't understand Bond.
'Well, in Sam Mendes you have a man who understands what makes Bond tick and Wilson and Broccoli have got a fantastic team to work with him from actors who are at the top of their game.
'To a good team of writers like Neal Purvis, Robert Wade andJohn Logan , then you've got Roger Deakins who's a legendary cinematographer, Dennis Gassner as production designer, Stuart Baird as designer and the legend that is Gary Powell doing all the stunts. That's a dream team', Rye continued.
Well, certainly a class act.
I plan to see Skyfall a few more times before the year's out.
Nothing can beat a landmark, classic James Bond picture.
They don't come around all that often.