Skyfall is the 23rd James Bond film produced by Eon Productions and released in 2012. It features Daniel Craig in his third performance as James Bond, and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva, the film's villain. It was directed by Sam Mendes and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan, and features the theme song "Skyfall", co-written and performed by British singer Adele. It was distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Columbia Pictures.
The story centres on Bond investigating an attack on MI6; the attack is part of a plot by former MI6 agent Raoul Silva to humiliate, discredit and kill M as revenge against her for betraying him. The film sees the return of two recurring characters to the series after an absence of two films: Q, played by Ben Whishaw, and Moneypenny, played by Naomie Harris. Skyfall is the last film of the series for Judi Dench, who played M, a role that she had played in the previous six films. The position is subsequently filled by Ralph Fiennes' character, Gareth Mallory, though Dench would make a brief appearance in the next Bond film, Spectre.
Mendes was approached to direct the film after the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008. Development was suspended when MGM encountered financial troubles and did not resume until December 2010; during this time, Mendes remained attached to the project as a consultant. The original screenwriter, Peter Morgan, left the project during the suspension. When production resumed, Logan, Purvis, and Wade continued writing what became the final version of the script. Filming began in November 2011 and primarily took place in the United Kingdom, with smaller portions shot in China and Turkey.
Skyfall premiered in London at the Royal Albert Hall on 23 October 2012 and was released in the United Kingdom on 26 October 2012 and the United States on 9 November 2012. It was the first James Bond film to be screened in IMAX venues, although it was not filmed with IMAX cameras. The film's release coincided with the 50th anniversary of the series, which began with Dr. No in 1962. Skyfall received widespread acclaim by critics, with its performances—particularly those of Craig, Bardem and Dench—writing and script, cinematography, Mendes' direction, Thomas Newman's score, and the action scenes receiving noteworthy praise. Earning over $1.1 billion in box office takings worldwide, Skyfall became the 14th film to gross over $1 billion worldwide, and the first Bond film to do so. It became the highest-grossing entry in the James Bond series, the seventh-highest-grossing film at the time, the highest-grossing film in the UK, the highest-grossing film worldwide for both Sony Pictures and MGM, and the second-highest-grossing film of 2012. The film won several accolades, with Adele's "Skyfall" becoming the first Bond theme song to win an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
In Istanbul, James Bond and fellow MI6 agent Eve chase a mercenary, Patrice, who has stolen a hard drive containing details of undercover agents. As Bond and Patrice fight atop a train, M, the head of MI6, orders Eve to shoot Patrice from long range. Eve inadvertently hits Bond, who falls into a river. Bond is presumed dead and Patrice escapes.
In the aftermath of the operation, M comes under pressure from Gareth Mallory, the chairman of the British parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, to retire. MI6's servers are hacked and M receives a taunting message via computer moments before the MI6 building explodes, killing several employees. Bond, who used his presumed death to retire, learns of the attack and returns to London. Although he fails a series of physical and psychological examinations, M approves his return to the field. Bond is ordered to identify Patrice's employer, recover the stolen hard drive, and kill Patrice. He meets Q, MI6's new quartermaster, who gives him a radio beacon and a pistol that will only fire when it registers Bond's handprints.
In Shanghai, Bond follows Patrice into a skyscraper, but is unable to prevent him from killing his target. The two fight, but Patrice falls to his death before Bond can learn of his employer's identity. Searching Patrice's equipment, Bond finds a gambling chip intended as payment for the assassination, which leads him to a casino in Macau. Bond is approached by Sévérine, Patrice's accomplice, and asks to meet her employer. She warns him that he is about to be killed by her bodyguards, but promises to help Bond if he will kill her employer. Bond thwarts the attack and joins Séverine on her yacht. They travel to an abandoned island off the coast of Macau, where they are taken prisoner by the crew and delivered to Séverine's employer, Raoul Silva. A former MI6 agent, Silva has turned to cyberterrorism, and orchestrated the attacks on MI6. Silva kills Séverine, but Bond captures Silva for rendition to Britain.
At MI6's underground headquarters in London, Q attempts to decrypt Silva's laptop but inadvertently gives it access to the MI6 systems, allowing Silva to escape from MI6 custody. Bond realises that Silva wanted to be captured as part of a plan to kill M, whom he resents for leaving him to die after being captured years earlier; after Silva revealed the bone damage to his jaw and skull by a faulty cyanide capsule, M had told Bond of his recklessness. Bond gives chase through the London Underground. Silva attacks M during a public inquiry into her handling of the stolen hard drive. Bond arrives in time to repel Silva's attack, while M is saved from a bullet by Mallory and then hurried from the building by her aide, Bill Tanner.
Bond takes M to Skyfall, his family estate and childhood home in the Scottish Highlands. Laying a trap, he instructs Q and Tanner to leave an electronic trail for Silva to follow, a decision Mallory discovers and unexpectedly supports. Bond and M are met by Kincade, the Skyfall gamekeeper. The trio set up a series of booby traps throughout the house. When Silva's men arrive, Bond, M and Kincade manage to kill most of them, but M is wounded. Silva arrives by helicopter with a second party and heavy weapons, so Bond sends M and Kincade off through a secret tunnel to a chapel on the grounds. Bond detonates gas canisters and retreats down the same tunnel as M and Kincade. The blast causes the helicopter to crash, destroying the house and killing all but a handful of Silva's men.
Silva survives and, spotting Kincade's torch beam, follows Kincade and M to the chapel. He forces his gun into M's hand, begging her to kill them both. Bond arrives and kills Silva by throwing a knife into his back. M, however, dies from her wounds. Following M's funeral, Eve—formally introducing herself to Bond as Eve Moneypenny—retires from field work to become secretary for the new head of MI6, Mallory, who assumes the title of M.
Why It Rocks
- Awesome score by Thomas Newman.
- Good acting.
- Nice use of Adele's "Skyfall" as the title theme.
- The film is the 50th anniversary James Bond movie.