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Agent 007 is Back in the New Heart-pounding Thriller 'Skyfall'

Movie Reviewof the new Bond Film - Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes star in the Sam Mendes' movie.

Just 50 years ago, British Agent 007, James Bond, stepped from the pages of Ian Fleming's books onto the screen in the person of Sean Connery. Since then, Bond has been shot, kidnapped, tortured, betrayed and beaten. He has seduced legions of women, saved the world, disrupted would-be dictators and left a trail of dead bodies that could be stacked from Istanbul to Paris. 

And he has used and discarded mountains of cool gizmos and machines.

The latest Bond adventure, "Skyfall," has the secret agent (Daniel Craig) protecting his friend and supervisor M (Judi Dench) from a would-be assasin (Javier Bardem) who wants revenge. Here's what the critics are saying:

To borrow a line from Depeche Mode, death is everywhere in "Skyfall." James Bond's mortality has never been in such prominent focus, but the demise of the entire British spy game as we know it seems imminent, as well.

Still, this 23rd entry in the enduring James Bond franchise is no downer. Far from it: simultaneously thrilling and meaty, this is easily one of the best entries ever in the 50-year, 23-film series, led once again by an actor who's the best Bond yet in Daniel Craig. So many of the elements you want to see in a Bond film exist here: the car, the tuxedo, the martini, the exotic locations filled with gorgeous women. Adele's smoky, smoldering theme song over the titles harkens to the classic 007 tales of the 1960s, even as the film's central threat of cyberterrorism, perpetrated by an elusive figure who's seemingly everywhere and can't be pinned down, couldn't be more relevant. Christy Lemire, Associated Press movie critic

 

The freshest thing about Skyfall is its embrace of its own old-fashioned values. It's a movie in which the villain's secret weapon is a server farm, in which the high-tech gizmos proffered by the new, hipster Q (Ben Whishaw) are quickly discarded for old-school tools. In the body of 43-year-old, visibly graying Craig, Bond's advancing age is played as both an obstacle to surmount and a virtue. Between the action sequences, the pleasure lies in observing impeccably dressed Brits exchanging barbed witticisms — making it, basically, Downton Abbey with cybercrime and shower sex. Karina Longworth, LA Weekly

 

If "Skyfall" is the new 50, James Bond is handling it remarkably well. Five decades after the first cinematic incarnation of 007, novelist Ian Fleming's agent provocateur, the spy-craft in the new film is sharper, the intrigue deeper, the beauties brighter (more brain, less bare).

And yet if I'm not mistaken, there are perilous emotional peaks and valleys along with all that bloody cheek. Daniel Craig's Bond is not quite as detached, his martini not quite as dry. Even the villain, a masterfully menacing Javier Bardem, is an emotional wreck whose angst is actually explored. Indeed the entire film is shrink-wrapped in self-examination that somehow manages not to dint, much less destroy, the explosive fun. Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

Instead he [Director Sam Mendes] honors the contract that the Bond series made with its fans long ago and delivers the customary chases, pretty women and silky villainy along with the little and big bangs. Whether Mr. Mendes is deploying an explosion or a delectable detail, he retains a crucially human scale and intimacy, largely by foregrounding the performers. To that end, while “Skyfall” takes off with shock-and-awe blockbuster dazzle, it’s opulent rather than outlandish and insistently, progressively low-key, despite an Orientalist fantasy with dragons and dragon ladies. As Bond sprints from peril to pleasure, Mr. Craig and the other players — including an exceptional, wittily venal Javier Bardem, a sleek Ralph Fiennes and a likable Ben Whishaw — turn out to be the most spectacular of Mr. Mendes’s special effects. MANOHLA DARGIS, the New York Times

"Skyfall" is rated PG-13, but parents are strongly cautioned. It runs 2 hours and 23 minutes. 

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