Blu-ray Review "Skyfall"

Actors: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris
Directors: Sam Mendes
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Fox/MGM
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Run Time: 143 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I have to admit, I did not see “Skyfall” in the theaters.  In fact I am probably one of the very few that didn’t.  The 23rd Bond film has been critically acclaimed and grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide at the box office making it the biggest hit of the franchise.  It also highlights the celebration of 007’s 50th anniversary. Does it deserve all this attention and success? You bet your ass it does! This film really delivers everything you could ask from a Bond film and I have to say Daniel Craig IS James Bond.  I know, I know Sean Connery is a legend but Craig has really taken over this role quite well.  Before I saw this myself, I heard that people were calling it the best Bond film to date and I thought that was hard to believe.  But I got to tell you…it is really it. Believe it or not, “Skyfall” is the best Bond film to date.  Of course the classics are classics and they will always hold a special place in my heart, this film really knocks you off your socks and delivers exactly what at James Bond film should be.  Highly recommended if you haven’t seen it already.

Official Premise: Daniel Craig is back as James Bond 007 in SKYFALL, the 23rd installment of the longest-running film franchise in history. In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M (Judi Dench) is tested as her past returns to haunt her. 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. When Bond’s latest assignment goes gravely wrong and agents around the world are exposed, MI6 is attacked forcing M to relocate the agency. These events cause her authority and position to be challenged by Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. With MI6 now compromised from both inside and out, M is left with one ally she can trust: Bond. 007 takes to the shadows – aided only by field agent Eve (Naomie Harris) – following a trail to the mysterious Silva (Javier Bardem), whose lethal and hidden motives have yet to reveal themselves.

Fox/MGM has delivered a spectacular Blu-ray for this release with a nice combo pack:
Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy and Ultraviolet. I see myself revisiting this quite often on Ultraviolet while on the go. The 1080p is one of the best I have seen in a while formatted with an 35MM aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Since the film was really in a 70MM IMAX-format, I would love to be able to see that version be released one day as well like “The Dark Knight” did on the Blu-ray.  Originally, I was hoping for a 7.1 surround track but that was not the case. But it doesn’t matter since the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track included will knock your socks off literally.  Whether it is the action or the car chases, they all sound amazing. Even right down to the dialogue and the subtle hints of the score. Really superb.

The special features are a nice but not stunning like the film itself.  It kicks off with two commentary tracks, with the first with director Sam Mendes. You can really tell that really loved working on this and he was involved with every aspect of this film. The next track is with the Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and Production Designer Dennis Gassner, not my favorite of the two for sure but some decent information is shared here. The real meat of the extras is “Shooting Bond” which is an hour of featurettes about the production. It can also be put together as one long featurette, which I preferred, instead of 14 individuals.  It cover everything from Bond himself to Q to villains and the action, of course. There is also some short footage from the Skyfall Premiere at the Royal Albert Hall.  Lastly there is a theatrical trailer and brief Soundtrack Promotional Spot rounding out the extras.

CD Review “Skyfall: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Author: Thomas Newman
Release Date: October 22, 2012
Label: Sony Classical
Tracks: 30
Running Time: 77 minutes

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

2012 brings us the 50th anniversary of 007 James Bond.  When it comes to James Bond, the music have always been so important.  The theme songs are always memorable and epic. But even beyond that the scores have to move along the film with a specific feeling.  This score disappoints quite a bit and doesn’t really scream “Bond…James Bond”. The score does run almost 80 minutes over the 30 tracks but I just wish it was more effective throughout instead of just 80 minutes of dull music. “Breadcrumbs” is the best track on here but that is one because it is a homage to past Bond scores.

Firstly, let’s get the cat out of the bag and point out that Adele’s title track is not on this score.  Right off the bat, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth.  That track would have been a nice kick-off for this album and an incentive to purchase this score.  I understand they want to sell some singles for the track but I would have liked it to also be included here.  Secondly, I am not a fan of Newman’s score at all. He is typically a very well respected composer but I enjoy his scores like “American Beauty” and “The Shawshank Redemption”.  They have this  certain quieter and simple feel but still very epic.  “Skyfall” tries to be epic and ends up just feel like it is trying to hard.

Track Listings
1. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
2. Voluntary Retirement
3. New Digs
4. Severine
5. Brave New World
6. Shanghai Drive
7. Jellyfish
8. Silhouette
9. Modigliani
10. Day Wasted
11. Quartermaster
12. Someone Usually Dies
13. Komodo Dragon
14. The Bloody Shot
15. Enjoying Death
16. The Chimera
17. Close Shave
18. Health & Safety
19. Granborough Road
20. Tennyson
21. Enquiry
22. Breadcrumbs
23. Skyfall
24. Kill Them First
25. Welcome to Scotland
26. She’s Mine
27. The Moors
28. Deep Water
29. Mother
30. Adrenaline

Film Review “Skyfall”

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 23 minutes
MGM

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

One of the things you learn as a film critic is to always hedge your bets. Which is why, six years ago this month, I called ‘Casino Royale’ “possibly the best Bond movie ever!” Thank goodness for the word “possibly.”

In the 50 years since James Bond first hit the big screen in “Dr. No” there have been 22 official films in the series, each one contributing SOMETHING to the legendary life of 007. This week, film #23 takes a little bit of everything that makes the Bond series great and rolls it up into a perfect holiday package called “Skyfall.”

A member of a terrorist organization has stolen a hard drive from a secured lap top. The hard drive contains the true names of every undercover NATO agent in the world and their release. Tracked down by MI6 agent James Bond, the baddie runs, soon finding himself in a motorcycle chase. Across the tile roofs of the city. As the chase continues on top of a high speed train, Bond’s partner in espionage, Eve (Naomie Harris) takes aim at the two on top of the train through the scope of her rifle. Afraid to shoot for fear of hitting Bond she is snapped back to reality by the stern voice of M (Dench) in her earpiece, commanding her to “take the shot!” Cue the opening credits.

After the step back that was 2008’s “Quantum of Solace” (though in defense of the film it should be noted that, due to the writer’s strike, a completed script was never delivered), Bond and all the members of Her Majesty’s Secret Service return in a film that skillfully balances the old school workings of past 007 adventures with the futuristic world of 21st century cyber terrorism. From the title song, performed in the style of the great Shirley Bassey by this generations great songstress, Adele, to the reintroduction of Q to a ride in the classic Aston Martin DB5 from “Goldfinger,” there is plenty in “Skyfall” to take fans down memory lane. The great reminders of the present day begin with Daniel Craig. In my review of “Casino Royale” I noted that his performance was exactly the way I imagined when I read the original Ian Flemming novels. While Sean Connery will always be the first (and the best) Bond, in the span of three films Craig has made the character his own. I would not want to be the actor to assume the role from him 15 years from now (Craig just turned 44 – Roger Moore was 57 when he did his last Bond film, “A View to a Kill”). Also strong are two Oscar winners – Dench as 007’s boss, M, and Bardem as Silva, a former MI6 agent seeking revenge on M for what he feels was her betrayal. With a head of bleached blonde hair Bardem seems to be channeling Raul Julia from “The Adams Family.” But in a really creepy way that makes him one of the most memorable villains in the series history.

Action-wise the film is among the best of the year. While director Mendes is best known for intense and personal dramas (“Revolutionary Road,” “American Beauty” for which he won the Best Director Oscar) he has also shown some flair for action and pacing in the past, most notably with “Road To Perdition,” the film that really introduced Craig to American audiences. As Bond makes his way across the globe the action follows, including a fierce hand to hand battle high above Shanghai, illuminated only by the constant neon glow of the skyscraper lights, a scene that is one of the highlights captured by cinematographer Roger Deakins, a long time collaborator with the Coen Brothers.

A film that’s right up there with “Casino Royale” (no wagering, please) I am pleased to say that from a scale of zero to five stars I give “Skyfall” *****

007 Prize Pack Giveaway: Win an Official “Skyfall” Poster and T-Shirt [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

 With the debut on November 9 of the 23rd James Bond adventure, “SKYFALL,” Media Mikes has teamed up with MGM and Columbia Pictures to present THREE lucky 007 fans with an official “SKYFALL” poster and T-shirt. All you have to do is let us know who your favorite James Bond actor is.  Do you go old school with the suave but deadly Sean Connery? Perhaps the gadget filled films of Roger Moore are the ones you love most.  Or the brooding, always serious Timothy Dalton.  Those are just three of the six men to have played James Bond, along with George Lazenby, Pierce Brosnan and the current man with the License to Kill, Daniel Craig.

Feel free to let us know WHY your Bond is the best as well.  Three random winners will be chosen from all entries.  This giveaway will be open until November 11th and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email. Good luck!

In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Release Date: November 9, 2012

Complimentary Passes to an Orlando, FL Screening for “Skyfall”

For your chance to receive event passes, log on to www.GOFOBO.com/RSVP
Enter RSVP code: MEDIAMUAR7
Wednesday November 7th, 2012,
Winter Park, FL
Passes are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Ben Whishaw
Directed By: Sam Mendes
Release Date: November 9, 2012