As for the film itself, it definitely lived up to the hype. And in spite of my telling a friend that I was half-hoping it was a dismal disappointment so that I could entitle this review, "Skyfail", it couldn't have been further from the truth.
There were so many images vying for our attention, it's hard to keep them straight -- Daniel Craig/Bond running ( I love watching this man run)! Q's hair! Kooky/blonde Javier Bardem! Voldermort in suspenders! Did I mention Daniel Craig running...?
And I must agree with Entertainment Weekly's assessment of the exquisite Judi Dench as M: "the ultimate Bond girl" -- she had more chemistry with the superspy than the other two Bondbos combined (who apparently come without hips now!). She meets him quip-for-quip and has no time for his BS, but under her tough-as-nails exterior, you know she's fond of him and you can see parts of them in each other.
There is also a grittiness to this Bond, that I also admired in Casino Royale. In spite of his constant state of coolness and impeccable wardrobe (Q must have designed those pants too, because there's no way trousers that tight can see that much action without so much as busting a seam), James is still a man. And not a young or infallible one, either. I love that we're allowed glimpses of his physical pain and emotional/mental frustration underneath that smooth surface - to see a man struggling to adapt to a strange new world instead of sadly becoming a relic from an old one.
From an abandoned island fortress, to an exciting chase through the London Underground, and a thrilling showdown in the wild, barren beauty of the Scottish highlands, there is no lack of action. In fact, one of my very few complaints about the film is Albert Finney's inability to know when to turn off a flashlight (or 'torch' as Banana calls it). You'll see what I mean. ...Oh, and good luck getting that damn Adele song out of your head. ****/5
...And in case you're feeling nostalgic for Casino Royale, here's the review I did for Daniel Craig's Bond debut back in double-o-six.
When Daniel Craig was chosen to be the next James Bond, many were disbelieving, if not outright opposed to the idea, not unlike the reaction to a little-known actor from down under, chosen to play Wolverine in X-Men. Hugh Jackman's career turned out okay, don't you think? I for one, was delighted. Craig is quiet, intense and oh-so-skilled, and while the piercing blue eyes and cut physique don't hurt, his greatest feat in the film is bringing humanity to 007. While most of us are familiar with the car chases, disposable hotties and countless gadgets associated with Mr. Bond, we know little of his origins as a spy and this helps to fill in some gaps. Eva Green is sassy and lovely and Judi Dench as 'M', is her incomparable, tough-yet-classy self. This is gritty, dirty, real-man Bond action, with tailored suits and gorgeous locales. Note to self: move to Spain, learn to play poker and buy a red dress. Plus, I love watching the guy run. Straight Flush.