The stakes have arguably never been higher for James Bond. 007 came roaring back in the form of Daniel Craig with “Casino Royale” in 2006, with the film proving the most successful of the franchise to date, and one of the most acclaimed. But two years later, the rushed, messy, poorly directed “Quantum of Solace” arrived, and while it outgrossed its predecessor in the U.S, it fell short worldwide, and got poor reviews. Furthermore, the property was then thrown into turmoil by the bankruptcy of its parent studio, MGM. So in any year, a return for Bond would have a lot riding on it, but given that 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of the franchise with “Dr. No,” success seems to be even more crucial.
So Eon, the rebirthed MGM and Sony have spared no expense to make the 23rd installment, “Skyfall,” a special occasion, with an Oscar-nominated writer (John Logan), an Oscar-winning director (Sam Mendes) and a cast with a whole host of acclaimed talent, in the shape of Javier Bardem, Judi Dench (in her seventh, and supposedly last, appearance as M), Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Helen McCrory, Naomie Harris, Ola Rapace, Berenice Marlohe and Rory Kinnear. And after the poster was revealed last week, as of this morning, we’ve got our first look at the film in motion after the teaser trailer premiered over at 007.com.
It looks pretty excellent, all in all. It’s clear that they’re going for psychological depth, with that opening word-association voiceover (plus sly ‘Agent’ ‘Provocateur’ gag). And it’s clear that the stakes are higher than the who-will-get-a-South-American-utilities-contract plot of “Quantum of Solace.” It’s clear that the action has not been skimped on. And it’s clear, above and beyond everything else, that this thing is gorgeous. Mendes brought frequent collaborator Roger Deakins on board with him, and every frame of this looks like it could be hung on a wall (which makes the rather dull teaser poster feel like even more of a missed opportunity.) And it’s still a teaser: Bardem’s villain is only seen in silhouette, so there’s plenty more to be revealed. We hope he wears clown make-up or something.
You can catch the trailer for “Skyfall” on the big screen in front of “Men In Black 3” from Friday, and the film hits Europe on October 26th, before making it to the U.S. on November 9th.