BLU-RAY REVIEW: Skyfall
Bond's Latest Delivers in Bullets and Brilliance...
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If you're a fan of 007, there's nothing better than the Bond theme music filling your home theater in gorgeous surround sound and that unmistakable James Bond silhouette appearing on your hi-def TV. Enter the latest in the series feature films - Skyfall - and you've got an amazing evening filled with a brilliant lead in Daniel Craig, an impressive villain in Silva (Javier Bardem) and an intense storyline which finds Bond's past revealed, present ridden with bullets and future unlikely to continue.
Before the opening credits roll, we find Bond fatally shot and possibly dead. Yeah, I didn't believe it either, but I was concerned. After all, MI6's greatest agent is down and a hard drive containing the agency's deep cover agents has been stolen. Next a cyber attack on England and a bombing of MI6's headquarters finds England with no clear enemy in sight. Of course, this means Bond turning up to save the day isn't really a surprise, though the greatest 00 agent is a bit older, a lot more tired and far less agile than before being shot and disappearing.
When we are introduced to the film's criminal mastermind, it's nothing short of awe-striking as the cyber terrorist Silva instantly becomes the most memorable Bond villain in decades. With a mischievous, deluded, demented and down-right maniacal demeanor that reveals nothing short of brilliance and anger, we find a man who's common history with Bond gives the duo an unlikely heritage, providing viewers with a glimpse at what could have been Bond's potential future - and Silva's better past - had either man not changed their ways.
The film does a great job of engaging viewers with both an appreciation of the older Bond films as well as those fans who have only picked up upon Craig's entry into the role. The last two Bond films have been well received and rightfully so; charged with the type of immediacy and tension which simply begs to be watched and then rewatched again.
In Skyfall, we find a slightly unstable and inadequate Bond, no longer working at peak performance. Likewise, we find an enemy in Silvia who's not only firing on all cylinders, but whose preplanned attacks and random wickedness reveal not only danger, but intention. It's not enough to simply feel this intensive danger either; writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan do an impressive job of keeping us on our toes throughout and director Sam Mendes injects nearly every scene with tension and angst, ensuring we're not only enthralled, but truly concerned.
The suspense and action is dynamic and fun with plenty of bullets, explosions and car chases to keep every type of movie-goer entertained. Of course, the 1080p video is gorgeous in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Colors are clear, crisp and tight with no blurring or issues whatsoever. Likewise the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track delivers on all fronts with a sound stage that puts viewers in the action and ensures none escape.
As for special features, the blu-ray includes a number that are perfect for the die-hard Bond fan. These include a commentary with director Sam Mendes which gives specific infomration about the movie's creation, edits, effects, locations and more as well as a commentary with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and production designer Dennis Gassner, which provides some interesting insight into Skyfall's creation. A 1-hour long "Shooting Bond" documentary provides some impressive bonus material, including an overview of the film's production along with insight into specific parts of the film's creation, including everything from how the villains were written and cast to how the music was choosen and so forth. A short 4+ minute "Skyfall Premiere" bonus scene comes from the film's world premiere in Albert Hall with brief interviews with cast and crew. The film's 2 1/2 minute theatrical trailer as well as a 40 second soundtrack promo spot are also included. Lastly, a number of "Sneak Peeks" are also included, previewing upcoming films and home video releases.
If you're a fan of action films of any sort, you'll love Skyfall. Not only is it a quality made Bond film, but it's a high quality film in general. It's got great character development, an impressive cast, intense action and adventure, an engaging plot and mystery to be solved. If you enjoy any of the Bond films, you won't want to miss this.
Skyfall is rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking and is available on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess Horsley