Back when the Bond franchise celebrated its golden anniversary in 2012, Eon wanted to mark the occasion. After a four year gap, we would be getting another film: Skyfall. Daniel Craig would be returning for his third outing as 007 with director Sam Mendes at the helm.
Before the press conference announcing the film, rumours were spreading that Mendes would cut out any action scenes. To my relief, he put this myth to rest.
I had nerdgasms when the trailer came out, when I heard Adele's theme tune, and even when they released clips of behind the scenes. Then the film was finally released. It had a high score on IMDB. It was getting positive reviews even though I don't rely on critics. On social media, Skyfall was getting a mixed bag of opinions. Some said it was terrific; some said it was awful; some said it was average. Then it was my turn. I had booked a ticket to see it in IMAX — that's how much I was looking forward to seeing it.
When I came out of the cinema, I couldn't help but feel somehow underwhelmed by it. While I enjoyed watching the film, I expected a lot more. The more I thought about it, the more I realised why. While it's popular among Bond fans, unfortunately, I cannot agree.
My first problem is with the action. I will say that the chase sequence in the pre-credits sequence was impressive — and did get my hopes up. Unfortunately, a lot of the following action scenes didn't live up to it, chiefly because they were too brief. The fight scene between Bond and Patrice in the skyscraper in Shanghai, while visually stunning, would've been a lot better had it been longer. The same goes for the gunfight at the inquest hearing back in London.
Another problem I have with Skyfall is the story. It seems rather weak compared to a lot of the other Bond films. The first half of the film seems to be about the theft of the hard drive containing the list of agents, and then halfway through, it's forgotten about, and suddenly turns into Silva seeking revenge on M.
It also lazily borrows from other films and just sows them up together. The stolen hard drive echos the beginning of the first Mission: Impossible.
When we meet Silva for the first time, it transpires that he was a former MI6 agent wanting revenge. This bears a resemblance to the character of Alec Trevelyan from GoldenEye, who also happens to be a former MI6 agent wanting revenge.
You may think that Silva planning his capture and then escaping was exciting. But it was a rip off of The Dark Knight where the Joker plans precisely same thing.
In the film's finale, Bond takes M to his childhood home: deja vu if you're a fan of Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
There are other points that I feel are negatives for Skyfall. I didn't find Silva as menacing as people made him out to be. They tried to give him a backstory, but it felt underwhelming compared to Alec Trevelyan. They also tried to add a backstory to Severine's character, but this was wasted due to her little screentime.
I can't help but feel that Sam Mendes is in a way responsible. His background is in English theatre, and although his previous films are pretty good, he leans more towards arthouse than mainstream cinema. I felt this showed in Skyfall.
I will admit there are some positives to the film. It was a good idea to have a part of the movie set in London. I liked Ben Whishaw as the new Q and Ralph Fiennes as Mallory. Judi Dench was great as M, as she always has been. Craig once again delivers a solid performance as Bond. Naomie Harris as a field agent and then revealing herself to be Moneypenny at the end was a pleasant surprise. It was nostalgic to see the Aston Martin DB5 back. Adele's theme song was great.
Someone once asked me which Bond film I would change the most, and my reply was Skyfall. So here's what I would change: A couple of other action scenes could've been added to, such as a gunfight on the island with Silva and his henchmen. Maybe a car chase while Bond is going after Silva when he escapes after attacking at the inquest. I would also cut out the whole bit where Bond has to go through the tests, checking his fitness.
I would've also drastically changed the story and Silva's backstory. Instead of the hard drive containing a list of MI6 agents, it could have held a weapons programme that M was responsible for overseeing. Silva, a computer hacker and programmer, was hired to create the programme and used it to facilitate a very controversial mission for MI6.
When Silva hears about darker intentions, he refuses to cooperate and goes against M, who then removes him from the mission and has him compromised. As revenge, Silva steals the programme and uses it to attack not only M but MI6 as well.
So, those are my views on Skyfall and what I would change about it. Many would disagree with me, but I thought SPECTRE was a far better film, with a better story, better action, and better character background. And yes, that includes the foster brother subplot! I just hope that Bond 25 lives up to Bond 24.
Amalan is a junior doctor living and working in Watford. He has been a James Bond fan since the age of 13, which led him to becoming a big film geek.