'Skyfall' Bond 'Bourne' again
There will be explosions.
There will be death-defying acts.
There will be hand-to-hand combat.
There will be shootings.
There will be nods to iconic James Bond imagery and set pieces: a spectacular opening credit sequence with a title song by a popular recording star (here it's Adele), the silver Aston Martin DB5, the jangly guitar and brass instrumental theme, the martini (shaken, not stirred), the tuxedo, and scenes in MI6 headquarters, a casino (Macao) and a bedroom.
There is all of this and more in "Skyfall," directed slickly, swiftly and extravagantly by Sam Mendes ("Revolutionary Road," "Jarhead," "Road to Perdition," "American Beauty") from a screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote several previous Bond film screenplays, and John Logan ("Gladiator"), based on the characters created by Ian Flemming.
"Skyfall" is sure to please die-hard James Bond fans, as well as fans of Daniel Craig, assaying the role of the iconic British Secret Service Agent 007 for the third time. Craig took over the role with "Casino Royale" (2006) and followed that with "Quantum of Solace" (2008).
High-tech gadgets are particularly absent from "Skyfall," with Bond issued a pistol and a miniature radio tracking device.
"Were you expecting an exploding pen? We don't really go in for that anymore," Q (Ben Whishaw) tells Bond.
With Daniel Craig as James Bond, who needs gadgets?
With "The Bourne" series (2002, '04, '07, '12), the James Bond franchise has had to reboot itself to stay ahead of the, ahem, spy game.
The "Skyfall" plot hinges on a pulled-from-the-headlines storyline: that of cyber-terrorism and the bombing of the London tube (subway) system.
A hacker named Silva (Javier Bardem) has compromised the computer files of M (Judi Dench) and is posting the names of British agents, ala WikiLeaks, for all the world to see.
Daniel Craig is hardboiled, likeable and as buff as a Muscle Beach bodybuilder as James Bond. He lets his eyes and petulant pout do most of the talking.
Javier Bardem plays a credible villain, almost, but not quite as spooky as the one he played in "No Country for Old Men," for which he received the 2008 supporting actor Oscar.
Albert Finney appears late in the game and is charming as a Kincade, a crusty Scotsman.
The so-called "Bond Girl" has been downplayed with Bérénice Marlohe as Severine, a love interest-damsel in distress, and Naomie Harris as Eva, a British agent.
The real Bond Girl here is Dame Judi Dench (1999 "Shakespeare in Love" supporting role Oscar recipient), magnificent as M, the head of the British spy agency.
Eve is to return in the next installment, as will Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), a British agent on the rise.
Yes, there will be another James Bond film.
A concluding statement, commemorating 50 years of James Bond films, tells us so.
Screenplays for Bond films 24 and 25 are underway.
"Skyfall," MPAA rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13) for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking; Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller; Run time: Two hrs., 23 mins.; Distributed by Sony.
Credit Readers Anonymous: During a key point in an action scene, the song, "Boom, Boom, Boom," written by John Lee Hooker and sung by The Animals, is played.
Box Office, Nov. 16: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" opened at No. with a huge gross of $141 million. "Skyfall" fell to No. 2, $41.5 million, $161 million, two weeks. "Lincoln," expanding wide, was No. 3, $21 million, $22.4 million, two weeks.
4. "Wreck-It Ralph" to No. 2, $33.1 million; $93.6 million, two weeks; 5. "Flight," $8.6 million, $61.3 million, three weeks; 6. "Argo," $4 million, $92 million, six weeks; 7. "Taken 2," $2.1 million; $135 million, seven weeks; 8. "Pitch Perfect," $1.2 million, $61.1 million, eight weeks; "Here Comes the Boom," $1.2 million, $41 million, six weeks; "Hotel Transylvania," $900,000, $143 million, eight weeks;
Unreel, Nov. 23:
"Life of Pi," PG: Ang Lee directs the adventure drama based on a best-selling novel by Yann Martel about a young man who befriends a Bengal tiger during an epic journey.
"Hitchcock," PG-13: The biography centers on the story of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife, Alma Reville (Helen Mirren). The drama also stars Scarlett Johansson (Janet Leigh) and Jessica Biel (Vera Miles).
"Rise of the Guardians," PG: When an evil spirit attacks Earth, the Guardians protect the children. The animated family adventure fantasy features the voices of Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin and Chris Pine.
Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes
Read previous movie reviews by Paul Willistein at the Times-News web site, tnonline.com. Email Paul Willistein firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook.)