Now Playing: Sky-fail

I feel that I must preface my ‘Skyfall’ review with my personal opinion of the James Bond franchise so that you know where I’m coming from. If you’re a die-hard Bond fan, then it’s more than likely that you’ll disagree with every word I say. Just remember that I’m picking on the series and ‘Skyfall’, not you and your opinion of 007.

I love both ‘Casino Royale‘ and ‘Quantum of Solace‘. I see them as one big movie that tells the deep and unpredictable origins of James Bond. With the same leading man, I expected ‘Skyfall’ to follow the same rebooted formula of those two. With that in mind, nobody wanted to love ‘Skyfall’ more than I did, which is what makes it the biggest disappointment of the year. ‘Skyfall’ doesn’t follow through with the good things that the last couple of Bond movies had going.

I understand that many long-time Bond fans have had their gripes with the Daniel Craig 007 series thus far (more so with ‘Quantum’ than ‘Casino’), but I haven’t. In fact, I’ve enjoyed the last two more than any of the 20 titles released before them, with the exception maybe being ‘GoldenEye‘. I don’t mean to insult any of you or your love for Bondage (I have my own baggage to deal with), but I believe that Bond had been modernized and made human (albeit a brutal human) in a way that none of the old films did. The corny unrealistic fluff that I don’t like from the old films had been drastically trimmed down. Everything that I didn’t love was made better through the Daniel Craig reboot, until now. As if The Powers That Be behind the franchise want to apologize to the old fans that haven’t enjoyed Craig’s stint so far, ‘Skyfall’ slips back into the nearly brainless mode that most of the previous 20 films functioned on. I’m not saying that old Bond is awful, because it’s not. They’re popcorn movies. But for me, ‘Casino’ and ‘Quantum’ took the franchise to a new level, a level that The Powers That Be now deem too highbrow for the average Bond fan.

Because my hatred for ‘Skyfall’ is along the lines of Josh Zyber’s loathing of ‘Prometheus’, we decided to keep this review spoiler free and post all of my nitpicky complaints for a no-holds-barred opinion post that will run on Monday. For now, suffice it to say that the movie’s nearly two-and-a-half hour runtime is unwarranted.

Everything that Daniel Craig’s series had going for it is undone here. As if to say, “Sorry for the last two,” ‘Skyfall’ features female characters with stupid names, one-liners and all of the other lame elements that ‘Casino’ and ‘Quantum’ removed. And just like a bunch of the other 20 Bond flicks, ‘Skyfall’ takes the franchise to the forgettable and formulaic standard that, personally, requires me to be ignorant to good filmmaking to enjoy. I don’t want to have to shut off my brain to enjoy a Bond flick because I didn’t have to with ‘Casino’ and ‘Quantum’, but that’s what ‘Skyfall’ would require of me – and I’m not willing to settle for that.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆


  1. I enjoyed it for the most part, but whenever the movie was not being Chris Nolan Batman serious, Bond & Co. seemed to be winking at the audience a la Roger Moore.

    Staying spoiler free on ‘Skyfall’, ‘Die Another Day’ is a Bond movie that begins seriously including even the opening title sequence, only to later become stuck with loads of wistful series references (and made unwatchable by the Halle Berry and Madonna characters) until the movie turns into CG wind surfing and diamond face, etc. and it is all about as serious as Zorn or Drax. That was only two movies ago!

  2. Luke Hickman

    Im in the minority here, which I why I open with a disclaimer. I have yet to meet another person who feels the same way I do.

  3. CK

    By the looks of your review, it would appear that anything the secret-agent action genre might have gained from the Bourne movies may have been lost, but, considering the success of what they did to Mission: Impossible with Ghost Protocol, we really should have seen the shift back to the goofy, brain-shut-off end of the spectrum coming.

    This review has brought down my expectations for Skyfall a bit (which might be a good thing), but I’m still looking forward to seeing it; even if it sounds like they’ve done the same thing to the James Bond franchise that they did with Mission: Impossible. Hopefully it won’t be that bad, though.

    • Mike

      There is nothing goofy about this film. It’s an extremely intelligent movie. I strongly encourage you to go see it for yourself.

  4. I can’t even process this review.

    Let’s just say that Luke and I are looking for completely different things in a Bond movie. This is easily a Top 5 Bond film, and by wide margin the best of Daniel Craig’s so far.

    • Ted S.

      Josh even though I disagree with you on Prometheus, I totally agree with you on this one. Skyfall’s easily Craig’s best Bond and it’s on my top 3 favorite Bond film of all time.

    • Ben

      While I don’t know if this is the best of Craig’s films by far, I do think it is the best, and I thought it was an easy top 5 Bond film. I thought it was a great blend of the old with the new (of course, this theme is hammered through your head in the film with the old dog, new tricks).

      Bardem was great too, first memorable villain in quite some time for the series.

  5. Shannon Nutt

    Since Luke told us where he’s coming from, here’s my stance:

    Up until now, Timothy Dalton was my favorite Bond and THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS my favorite Bond movie (with GOLDFINGER and ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE rounding out the top three). I’ve never been a particular fan of Craig or his two previous flicks, although I enjoyed them more than most of Pierce’s four entries (with the exception of GOLDENEYE).

    SKYFALL trumps them all…and it trumps them by being both a great movie and the most NON-Bond movie to date. If CASINO ROYALE was a reboot, SKYFALL is both a finale and a restart to the 22 Bond movies that proceeded it. It will read oddly to those who haven’t seen the movie yet, but the film manages to wrap up everything that’s come before and re-launch it freshly all in 2 and a half hours.

    Craig simply OWNS the role here and has finally staked his claim as the best Bond ever (sorry Sean!). It’s the most human Bond we’ve seen on screen since, well, George Lazenby…with the exception being Craig is actually an actor who can pull it off.

    This is really the first Bond movie where the characters (yes, even the villian) don’t seem like comic book characters and actually seem like real human beings.

    The only downside here is I have no idea if they’ll ever be able to top it. It’s not just the best Bond movie in a long, long time (if not the best ever), but one of 2012’s best films, period. It’s a remarkable triumph.

    • flskydiver

      I also believe ‘The Living Daylights’ was the best Bond film ever. It doesn’t hurt that I am gaga for practical stunts with real stunt people, especially involving airplanes and parachutes.

      Kinda why my second favorite Bond film was ‘Casino Royale’ (with Craig), and I absolutely despised the logic and physics defying digital effects cheese of ‘Quantum of Solace’.

  6. Mike

    Just got back from the theater and was about to say everything Shannon just said perfectly. This is the best film in the series and an exceptional espionage film in general. I want to go back and see it again right now.

  7. ‘Quantum of Solace’ is Craig’s ‘Moonraker’. Seeing ‘Skyfall’ was such a relief. They took the camera away from Marc Forster, thank goodness.

    ‘Skyfall’ is a great mix of new badass Bond from ‘Casino Royale’ and old Bond from ‘Goldfinger’.

    Luke I just think you need to understand the role of Bond more and revisit the later Bonds. The problem in the last few years is that for some reason we thought that Bond should be an action hero above all else. He’s never been Jason Bourne and he shouldn’t be. Bond is much too clever for all of that. Sure he knows his way around action and can beat the stuffing out of people, but the real Bond would rather not.

    And calling most of the 20 previous films “brainless” is really short-sighted. There’s a reason why Bond has stayed around so long.

  8. Alex WS

    I don’t see how this is a review. You basically say that you don’t like the movie (which is okay), but fail to produce arguments. All the text contains is a summary of your history with Bond movies, and what you expected from Skyfall. Simply stating your feelings doesn’t do much for a reader if you’re unable to explain WHY you feel them. And it is perfectly possible to do so without including spoilers (like most professional movie reviews do). Unless you intend to simply list the scenes you dislike with the phrase “I hated when…” in front. Again, saying WHAT you didn’t like isn’t valid criticism. I don’t need a movie blog in order to have a person tell me his feelings about individual scenes; that’s basically how any average movie goer describes his experience: “It was really lame when James Bond shot the shark.” Not exactly insightful commentary.

    • Ask Josh – my first review was a million words long and completely spoilerific. This is the highly trimmed down version. You’ll get the rest of my thoughts, my complete and fluid string of thoughts, on Monday.

      • Alex WS

        As I said: Good reviewers manage to point out flaws without spoiling the story elements. As it stands, the text is a pretty useless rant in my opinion.

        • Alex, cut Luke some slack until Monday. This is not the whole review that he wrote. I made the call to hold back the majority of his text until after opening weekend, and just cut to the chase with the initial review. You can let him have it when the follow-up piece runs. 🙂

        • Sorry you don’t like it. Like I said, this review went through a couple fast edits and revisions and it was a race against the clock.

          I don’t think that you’re understanding what I’m trying to do with this review. I know that my opinion of the franchise is polar opposite most opinions out there – which is why my dislike of the film is against the grain. If you don’t look at the franchise the same way I do, then you’re going to love the film. I wanted something like the last two movies – Skyfall isn’t it. I don’t care for many of the old flicks, so the last thing I want to see is one of those.

          If you understand where I’m coming from, then you’ll understand why I feel the way I do. Get it?

          I knew that my feelings about Skyfall would stir up some heat. Such is the case when someone doesn’t like something that everyone else love. Good thing we are all enabled to our own opinions.

          • flskydiver

            I just wonder how anyone who really liked ‘Casino Royale’ didn’t hate ‘Quantum of Solace’.

            As a direct sequel beginning just minutes after the first film ended, the two films should have blended seamlessly into each other. But the change in director’s was disastrous. Quantum was a mess. Frantic editing with zero skill, not allowing the viewer to have a clue what was actually supposed to be happening; cheesy effects; unbelievably contrived turns of plot (they just happen to bail from the DC3 right into the underground cave with all the water?)

            Quantum was awful… I hope Skyfall is NOTHING like it.

    • Alex, Luke wrote a much, much longer review that really dug into everything that he didn’t like in the movie, but we trimmed it back to hold until Monday, in order to give people a chance to see the movie before Luke tears it apart.

  9. Charles M.

    I don’t think people’s problem with Solace was that it was too high-brow. More like the opposite, really.

  10. I am the first one to admit that my opinion is nothing like the rest of the critics. Without a doubt, I know that anyone affectionate with 007 is going to love ‘Skyfall.’ However, people like me who don’t unconditionally love the series, who haven’t loved Bond until Craig came along, aren’t going to enjoy seeing this brand new Bond go retro. Had the owners of Bond waited until a new actor was playing Bond, it would be one thing. But as-is, ‘Skyfall’ feels like it’s meant to erase ‘Casino’ and ‘Quantum.’ I feel like those two were building up to something big, but instead of getting a climactic rise to a potential trilogy, we’re given something completely different. I wanted something else from ‘Skyfall.’ I expected it to commit to what was established with ‘Casino’ and ‘Quantum.’ Now can you understand why I was ultimately let down by ‘Skyfall?’

    • It’s interesting that you hated the movie because of the retro elements. When I saw the movie, I though every reference to the old movies were there to make a clear statement that old Bond cliches and gadgets would be gone forever.

  11. Mike

    I don’t know any true Bond fan who loves the films unconditionally. There is NOTHING retro about this movie. They even make a point of saying that today’s villains are not countries, they’re individuals, which makes them harder to track down and stop. This is a thoroughly modern take on a timeless character.

  12. Drew


    You’re not addressing the point that Alex is making. Nobody should be giving Luke any slack until Monday. The point that Alex is making, is that a well written, proper review, can rip a film to shreds, without containing any spoilers. I’m sure Alex understands that this isn’t Luke’s whole review, that you made the decision to hold his entire review back, until Monday. In this case, that’s irrelevant.

    Luke’s review should have been able to tear the movie apart, and provide justification for his dislike of the film, without containing any spoilers. We understand that Luke is very green, and that gaining the ability to do this comes with age and experience, but it’s a valid point, nonetheless.

    Whether the review that Luke originally submitted to you was 800 words, or 8,000, it should have had no problem ripping the film and providing reasons why Luke hated it, without spoiling anything.

    • Ian Whitcombe

      Drew, I think another distinction needs to be made between non-spoiler reviews that were conceived and written as such and something like this that underwent very last-minute editing.

      I’m sure if Luke had enough time to re-write a second non-spoiler review, he would have.

      However, in interest of absolute honesty and to back up Drew a bit, I find that I can see your criticisms in Luke’s praise of The Dark Knight Rises and his panning of Flight. As with most reviewers (veteran and green) many seem to do their best work when they are given a movie that falls between the spectrum of “clearly good” and “clearly bad”.

  13. Beckner

    This review is so ludicrous, I don’t see how it has any place on this site… and I’m sure I will feel the same on Monday. Sometimes, rogue reviews aren’t vanguard, they are simply incorrect. It’s like when a 12 year old tells you the Beatles suck.

  14. Shannon Nutt

    I get the feeling that the majority of Luke’s disappointment comes from the fact that he was looking for something that this Bond film didn’t provide, while the vast majority of us are thrilled with it for the same reason…we weren’t expecting what we got. I saw it for a second time today and am still amazed at how well it’s put together.

  15. Barsoom Bob

    I was very fortunate to see to two movies this weekend. One, I thought was going to be serviceable, the other I was expecting to be very exciting, a good rush of fun and gravitas.

    Sorry to say this, but Luke is right. I was shockingly let down by Skyfall. Despite all the inside jokes, this was curiously not fun. Very poorly written with an uninspired story and even the action set pieces weren’t really fun. Craig wasn’t really his Bond or Connery’s Bond either. I don’t know what he was in this movie but my main impression of him in this movie was, ” Oh look, he can do the Tom Cruise open handed running thing ” , which was not really a plus to me. My wife was falling asleep and my Bond buddy friend had the same reaction as me. I am shocked by this, this is mid tier Bond.

    The other movie I saw was an advance screening of Life of Pi at the Museum of the Moving Image followed by discussion with the screenplay writer. This is the movie that I thought was going to be serviceable and it blew me away. As stunned as I was at not digging Skyfall that much, I was stunned in a pleasant way by how good this movie was. Just beautiful, stunning 3D and the story is not quite as simple as it appears. Remarkable movie.

  16. Tim H

    Harsh! Saw it twice over the weekend. Loved every minute of it. Bond is back and it’s my favorite of the Craig ones so far.

  17. Ed

    I have to say I’m surprised so many people like this film. If i had to describe this film it would be “consequenceless” everything that happens fits together less like a puzzle and more like a buffet.

    It’s hard to talk specifics without getting into spoilers. However I think there’s one part of the movie that doesn’t really reveal too much of the plot but signifies this recurring theme of things just happening.

    Bond comes back from a rough start at the beginning of the film. In order to go back in the field he has to take a series of tests.

    It’s here we learn that bond has “lost a step” for more on this theme see just about every action movie that’s been made lately. What’s further more by the time you see his trouble with marksmanship you realize that Bond definitely shouldn’t pass and yet of course he does.

    This I don’t have a problem with. The problem I have is later Silva (the bad guy) reveals to Bond that he failed these tests that supposedly he passed.

    Am I to believe that bond is stupid enough to think he legitimately passed? Because that doesn’t seem like Bond at all and the revelation has almost no effect on him.

    So it has no effect on bond…it had no effect on me as the audience. So all in all it just felt as if the entire sequence was unneeded.

    the movie feels very long and I think it’s for things just like this. stuff the movie wastes its time on but provides no real payoff.

    This is far from the worst movie of all time. It’s not even the worst bond movie. But it amazes me how many people seem to love it.