CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After the failure of "Quantum of Solace," a truly amazing James Bond film wasn't just necessary, but mandatory, for the franchise's future. Luckily, with help from director Sam Mendes, Eon Productions fulfilled every Bond fan's hopes with "Skyfall." And so this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the first 007 movie, "Dr. No," fans everywhere were treated to what may go down in history as one of the series' best entries.
The only complaint I have is that although the Bond girls (Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe) were interesting, no time was given to explore the possibilities of them. Still, this is OK because it's another woman who is the focus of 007's attention: M (Judi Dench), the head of MI6, whose life is threatened by former agent Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
Plot wise, that's all I'll say. "Skyfall" is best enjoyed the first time knowing nothing but that small synopsis.
When it comes to performance, every actor on the screen was top-notch. Daniel Craig may one day be considered the best Bond, beating the original 007, Sean Connery. At one point, Silva has Bond in a situation that makes Bond so uncomfortable and you know he has no idea how to get out of it. Silva also evokes fear like no other Bond villain has done before. These two reasons along with Javier Bardem's performance will put the character down in history as the best Bond villain.
Judi Dench has been playing M since 1995's "GoldenEye" and never has the role received this much attention. Although "Skyfall" is a Bond movie, the story very much revolves around M, who's obviously scared and worried throughout the film. She's the only authoritative figure in Bond's life, and you can tell in his protection of her that he truly respects her.
Behind the camera, director Sam Mendes, known mostly for the Oscar-winning "American Beauty," was able to blend action and drama like no other Bond film has done. He also creatively inserted references to prior Bond films, including use of the Aston Martin DB5 from "Goldfinger."
Earlier this year, film fans went crazy for Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," saying it's use of 70MM film proves film is better than digital. "Skyfall" cinematographer Richard Deakins proves this to be false. Using all digital cameras, he created the most beautiful movie of the year.
All in all, "Skyfall" is a masterpiece, combining visually stunning action, heart-wrenching drama and the dry humor the series is known for.
I have hopes of it winning Oscar glory, but I'm not letting them get too high since the Academy usually tends to look down upon action movies. I don't need it to win awards to know what it is, though: one of the best, if not the best, of the 23 movies in the franchise's history.