Saturday, 27 October 2012
Believe the hype! This is soooo good I've seen twice in two days. Imax first time around, then 4K Digital projection - which to my eyes delivered a better picture. If sound is your thing go Imax and get your butt kicked. If it's visuals, find a good digital screen.
Promise - no plot spoilers.
Director Sam Mendes has delivered a transformation of the Bond franchise breathing so much new life into it that it's now set up for at least another 23 films. It's Bond folks - but not as we know it. This is a Bond for this generation fighting adversaries who are unknown and who inhabit the shadows. Yes we get the big cityscapes: Istanbul, Shanghai and Macao by night but most of the action takes place in Westminster and in this Olympic and Diamond Jubilee year, London looks good.
This film is essentially about inheritance and resurrection. It's about the legacy of one generation being handed onto the next. The inheritance is personal for both Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Judy Dench) - doubly so for Bond. The way in which the contemporary espionage and terrorism landscape is redrawn by this film brings it bang up to date - and mercifully not a religious extremist in sight. Gone are the gimmicks of magnetic watches and exploding pens - these are times for cyber gadgets and nimble and fast typing fingers. We are introduced to a new Q (Ben Whishaw) who challenges both Bond and the old order. We are given a tour-de-force performance by Javier Bardem who plays the baddie Silva, with a steely campness.
There is plenty of action in this film - it moves along very rapidly and its 143 minute runtime is a pleasure. Mendes has put together a story with real weight which delivers characters that are three dimensional and who have more depth than we are used to seeing in a Bond movie. Once or twice the plot twists are a little predictable - but it's not a problem. Adele's belter of a theme is unmistakably Bond and the opening sequence is very creative and more about Bond rather than simply silhouettes of naked girls (well for the most part) - which is fitting for the way Bond is portrayed in this outing. Product placement is annoyingly very evident.
In this 50th year of celebration of Bond movies, there are clever nods to previous Bond films. I'm sure I missed some but look out for parallels with scenes from Goldfinger, Moonraker, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun. There are fewer "Bond girls' and gratuitous sex and this film has less violence than the last two Daniel Craig outings. All of which is good.
I don't think I'll go for a third day running tomorrow - but save my pennies for the Blu-ray when it's released - maybe just in time for Christmas. This is a great film and I'm going to give it 9/10! Do go and see it.