The embargo (sky)fell early on the twenty-third official James Bond film, which doesn't open until next week in the UK and early November in the US, but has already received its first wave of reviews. So far, the initial response to 007's latest outing should leave Bond fans neither shaken nor stirred, nor assorted other horrible James Bond puns that I am incapable of resisting because I am a terrible human being.
The film, directed by "American Beauty" and "Away We Go"'s Sam Mendes, once again stars Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming's James Bond 007, gentleman spy and connoisseur of fine martinis and whatever beer product-places its way into his heart. In "Skyfall," Bond is on the trail of a cyberterrorist named Silva (Javier Bardem), who has a score to settle with Bond's boss, M (Judi Dench). I don't know anything other than that, but it's a Bond film so I assume he also: drives at least three absurdly cool cars, sleeps with at least two absurdly hot women, and says at least one absurdly silly thing right after he kills someone.
Formula service aside, the critics are — at least so far — quite taken with "Skyfall." You'll find links to fifteen of their reviews below, almost all of them positive — with lots of praise for Bardem (apparently going almost the full Dr. Evil), Mendes' stylish direction, and Roger Deakins' moody cinematography. These reviews would be good for a prestige picture — for a Bond film, they're downright impressive. We'll see what the rest of the press corps thinks when they get a look at "Skyfall" closer to its release. At this point, "Skyfall" is still for their eyes only. (To repeat: horrible James Bond puns, terrible human being, etc.)
Early "Skyfall" Reviews
"I plan to see 'Skyfall' a few more times before the year's out."
"'Skyfall' is big, beautiful (due to cinematographer Roger Deakins) and badass, thanks especially to director Sam Mendes and all he brought to it."
"Works terrifically well up to a point. Except that 'Skyfall' then falls prey to a common failing of many 50th birthday bashes: it allows sentimentality to cloud its judgment and loosen its tongue."
"Sam Mendes’ frequently dazzling, utterly audacious entry in the franchise has less in common with its much-loved predecessors than Christopher Nolan’s 'The Dark Knight.'"
"It's taken 23 films and 50 years to get Bond's backstory, but the wait was worth it."
"'Skyfall' is a supremely confident movie from a confident director."
"At the very least, it makes clear that after the disappointment of 'Quantum of Solace' that Bond is back."
"A serious and spectacular show."
"Cool but not camp, respectful of tradition but up to the moment, serious in its thrills and relatively complex in its characters but with the sense of fun that hasn’t always been evident lately."
"This is, for me, Sam Mendes best work as a movie director."
"A great British bulldog of a movie."
"'Skyfall''s clean, direct narrative, blistering action sequences (a neon-lit Shanghai showdown deserves to be singled out) and strong performances across the board elevate it to the upper end of the Bond movie spectrum."
"On his third outing Daniel Craig's Bond finally feels like he's come into his own."
"After an unfortunate stumble with the clunky ‘Quantum of Solace,’ 007 is back with a thrilling adventure that manages to be both classic Bond and a top notch modern action film."
"A flawlessly assembled thrill ride with a cast to die for and a nakedly emotional undertow."