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This definitely feels more like a good old fashioned Bond movie than either "Casino Royale" or "Quantum of Solace" ever did. There are multiple reasons for this but the foremost one is that the Bond character himself feels like a far more seasoned secret agent.

"Casino Royale" and also "Quantum of Solace" were prequels to the series, in which Bond also got setup as a character. He was still a bit of a rouge and obviously new to the business, while in "Skyfall" he obviously had plenty of missions behind his name already and all of the familiar trades his character is known for are pretty much all present in this movie as well. While in essence this movie is still being a part of the 'prequel-series' as well, it leans more toward- and also includes the things that made the older Bond movies special and great to watch. "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace" tried to do new things and new directions, with all of its characters. Some of its worked out fine but there was always something missing from it. Something that truly made it a James Bond movie. Something that Sam Mendes managed to find and include in this latest Bond outing.

Looking back at it, I believe the first two Bond movies with Craig tried to force too much drama and depth with its main character upon us. This movie in a way is even more dramatic than any of the other Craig Bond movies but it at the same time is more subtle and therefore also more effective with it. And don't worry. Even while this movie has plenty of depth to it, it never turns into a sappy, dramatic movie. On the contrary! It has plenty of comedy and action in it, which again, is part of the reason why it feels more like a good old fashioned, entertaining Bond flick!

So Bond returns to old form in this one, making me hopeful and excited again for all of the future Bond movies to come!

It still remains odd that a director who is know for dramatic and more quiet and subtle movies and stage-plays got picked to do an entertaining and action packed Bond movie but Sam Mendes definitely did a great job with the movie and I can definitely see and understand better by now why the producers and studios picked him and thought he would be the right choice for this particular Bond movie.

Not that everything is perfect about it though. It's a bit surprising to see how the big and spectacular action sequences didn't appeared to be troubling Mendes but how the small action set-pieces appeared to be far more difficult for him to handle. Or well, perhaps it isn't surprising at all, since it's fair to assume more people were involved with the setup and shooting of the big action moments, while for the smaller moments Mendes was left more on his own. The fist fights and minor shootouts come across a bit messy but luckily there are few moments like this in the movie and they don't ruin the important parts and aspect about the movie, or that particular one scene.

Another thing that felt a bit lacking at times though was its pacing. It's unevenly paced mostly. The movie at moments goes to fast and glosses over things too easily, while at others it's moving to slow and you are just waiting for something good to happen again. Perhaps this also has more to do with its writing. The story in essence, with its main plot line, really is a quite simple and straightforward one, that besides is nothing we haven't seen before, in a similar genre movie. The movie still manages to present itself as something original and interesting as well, which is in my opinion mostly due to Sam Mendes his storytelling skills.

Another thing that makes it apparent how somewhat lacking its writing was is its main villain. Javier Bardem is awesome, his character however isn't. The character isn't even in the first half of the movie, which perhaps was supposed to add to his mystery but I just don't think his character got written solidly enough to make a true great impact on the movie. There were some interesting dynamics between him and certain characters they could had touched upon but the movie only seems to scrape the top of it and never goes all the way with it. At least not far enough for my liking. A shame since, again, Javier Bardem himself did an absolutely great job!

Because Sam Mendes was the director, there is very little wrong with this movie visually. It's actually a beautifully and classy shot movie, with some great cinematography by Roger Deakins. It's never too artistic and never gets into the way of its storytelling but I do believe that the persons who are looking for something that's a bit more special and beautiful to watch, this is a perfect movie. It might be true though that people are going to complain about the many camera tilts in the movie. Personally I liked it and it helped to create a certain style and atmosphere for the movie, which I thought was an effective one.

All in all I think this is a great movie, that marks the end of the reboot/prequel series and returns to old and more familiar Bond grounds, with its characters, gadgets, action, comedy and whatnot's. Esepcially the ending, which I won't spoil for you, makes it apparent the series is completely returning to its old formula again for the new, coming Bond movies, which I, for one, am very excited and happy about!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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