Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Best Of British.
143 Minutes. Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whisaw, Albert Finney & Judi Dench. Screenplay: John Logan, Neal Purvis & Robert Wade Director: Sam Mendes.
It's been a great year to be British...a great couple of years in fact for Great Britain pride. Following the Royal Wedding last year-of the worlds most famous celebrity couple-the Queen started 2012 with a Diamond Jubilee. This same 2012 which recently saw England's capital London hosting an incredible, inspiring Olympic Games where they really took home the gold. The Queen isn't the only one celebrating 50 years however. The nations leading man and the worlds most famous spy James Bond turns 50, although he's switched between many ages over the last half century from Sean Connery and Roger Moore, to George Lazenbery, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. What a year for Ian Fleming's Bond to mark his half-century too, making it a double celebration with Her Majesty by parachuting into the Olympic Stadium with her in true 007 style.
Daniel Craig, yet again on Her Majesty's secret service, shows he has the classic style and the gritty substance to be a modern day killer with a license. It's a real shame his contract is almost up, but the rumors through the wire of current Brit-hit man, 'Luther' detective, 'Thor' gate-keeper and classic American television veteran Idris Elba are ones that could be very interesting and inspired. After remaking 'Casino Royale' and re-branding Bond with a 'Bourne' again style in 'Quantum Of Solace', Craig takes it higher with 'Skyfall'. Where this picture hangs next to the years favorite franchise films 'The Avengers', 'The Hunger Games', 'The Dark Knight Rises' and of course the yet to be viewed 'Hobbit' remains to be seen. Still, this might just be one of the best Bond's ever right there with 'Live and Let Die' and the original Bond, Sean Connery's best.
Director Sam Mendes really knows how to bring the picture perfect ('American Beauty') and the brutal reality ('Revolutionary Road') out of things and he re-charges this super spy show like 'Ghost Protocol' did for 'Mission: Impossible' last fall. With amazing 'Road To Perdition' (a film where Craig and Mendes previously collaborated) gun action this machine is a rapid, surefire hit. With a updated 007 that harks back to the homage of the greats this 50 year celebration looks to bring in the big six zero numbers. Also amongst exotic and exciting locations in Europe and Asia, James is brought back home and to the roots via London for a perfect, capital exclamation of action in the city of 2012.
Still it's the villain of the piece here that is the real draw and homage. Complete with self-righteous smarts, a lot of camp and vamp and a platinum, eighties blonde haircut which makes his 'No Country For Old Men' do look like a super-cut, Javier Bardem may just be Bond's greatest, cruelest and craziest adversary. He's more than a tribute to the baddies of eighties and decades past, with a little snapping nod to Jaws. He's a scheming villain who could even avenge Loki as bad-guy of the year. Silva is so good his name should be Oscar. Expect more awards for the acclaimed Spanish star. If you thought Javier was great at being bad in the classic 'No Country' then wait until you see this one..."Mommy has been very bad".
The Bond gir...pardon me women are a pretty good addition too. From the beautiful femme-fatale Bérénice Marlohe to Naomie Harris' chemsitry filled return to the silver screen, (she had a gold year in 2006 with a hot summer of 'Miami Vice' and 'Pirates Of Carribean-Dead Man's Chest'). Still the ultimate woman in Bond is national treasure Judi Dench and the legend is yet again the perfect mother in M, shouting, swearing and even gun-toting in a way that would make her 'As Time Goes By' fans drop their biscuits in their tea. With all that and support from a man who could play Bond himself what more could you ask for? What best of British film could you do without Ralph Fiennes? Now who does he play? Felix? Another double-0? All you need to know is he's brilliant yet again in this secret service masterclass. The rebirth of Q in the young, recognizable face of Ben Whishaw (with 'Star Trek' like familiar character introductions) and the re-introduction of the gorgeous gadgets keeps this clever film ticking over like a slick watch. Desmond Llewelyn would be proud.
All in all Bond is back with a bold bang ready to leave you shaken AND stirred. From top British singer and worldwide superstar Adele's triumphant theme song to tube stops that move at a rush hour action pace, this film is a network of thrilling twists and turning amazing action sequences. Taking ques (no pun intended) from everything from 'The Dark Knight' to 'Home Alone' of all films this film has one hell of a third act to follow. Even four years and four Bourne movies couldn't stop or spy Bond. 007 is fit for active duty and you can be sure Daniel Craig will return to rule Britania once again. What a 50 years its been. Here's to 50 more. Now how about that Martini? TIM DAVID HARVEY.