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Movie Review

Skyfall also known as “James Bond 23,” “Bond 23,” “Sky Fall,” “Skyfall: The IMAX Experience,” “007 - Operação Skyfall,” “007 - Skyfall,” “007: Operación Skyfall”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson

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Primary Audience:
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Action Adventure Thriller Drama Sequel IMAX
2 hr. 13 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 9, 2012 (wide—3,400+ theaters)
DVD: February 12, 2013
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Relevant Issues
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spies in the Bible

Featuring: Daniel CraigJames Bond
Helen McCrory … Clair Dowar
Bérénice Marlohe … Sévérine
Ben Whishaw … Q
Ralph FiennesGareth Mallory
Javier BardemRaoul Silva
Naomie HarrisEve
Judi DenchM
Tonia Sotiropoulou
Albert Finney … Kincade
Ola Rapace … Patrice
more »
Director: Sam Mendes
Producer: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
more »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

Choosing your favorite James Bond movie is similar to choosing your favorite style of music. It can depend on your age, mood, or even extenuating circumstances. In the 50 years of this franchise, Agent 007 has taken many forms, played many different identities, and stopped many a super-villain. Some fans revere the Bonds of old: a super agent with unbelievable gadgets, campy dialog, and a penchant for saving the world without wrinkling his tux. For those viewers who like their Bond gritty, realistic, and character-driven, “Skyfall” may rank as the best of the lot.

In this newest incarnation of Bond, directed by Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”), we find an aging agent 007 (gasp!). He is considering retirement after a mission goes south, but is drawn back to MI:6 by a terrorist attack that many think is an inside job. While not at his best, physically or mentally, Bond has to save the agency while going head to head with a maniacal villain, not bent on world domination (double gasp!), but on psychological revenge.

Giving away any more of the plot details would ruin much of the fun for Bond aficionados. Suffice it to say, “Skyfall” showcases the same quality of “Casino Royale”, and makes the abysmal “Quantum of Solace” a distant memory. New director Sam Mendes injects new life into a franchise that seems ageless, while also keeping the new direction of Bond that began once the role was inhabited by Daniel Craig. Craig isn’t the stereotypical 007, but he definitely makes the role his own. Gone are the specific drink orders, exploding pens and invisible cars. These things are replaced with a trained killer with a single gun, who will let nothing get in his way. Also, worthy of note is the performance of Javier Bardem as the villain, Silva. Bardem makes his character stand out, and is effectively creepy as an atypical Bond villain.

If you’re interested in seeing “Skyfall”, chances are extremely high that you are at least somewhat familiar with the James Bond franchise. If so, you know what to expect when it comes to content issues in the film. The newest Bond installment continues the tradition of the series, showcasing fun action scenes, but also inappropriate sexual content. The language is kept to a minimum, but Mr. Bond is seen with no less than three women in various stages of undress. The scenes never last long, but implied casual sex between the protagonist and numerous partners is a very unfortunate aspect of this series that keeps the films from being good-natured, family fun. Also, worth mentioning in “Skyfall” is the violent content. Because this new Bond takes itself more seriously, the killings are less “cartoonish” in style and instead much more realistic in nature. “Skyfall” is an intelligent, well acted, and expertly crafted entry into the canon of James Bond. Like most of the other films in the franchise, there are some content issues that could possibly mar the film’s entertainment value. For fans of the series who enjoy a serious, stone-cold agent, the newest installment of Agent 007 may very well be their favorite.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—“Skyfall” becomes the 23rd in a series of spy genre Bond films in which so many have been produced that it has its own sub-series. The Daniel Craig series portrays the Bond character as a Bourne-like invincible with the remarkable ability to self-heal from the worst of calamities. In “Casino Royale,” he brushes with death due to poison, only to be brought back by the woman who later betrays him. In “Skyfall” Bond actually appears to die,— and from the looks of it does. No matter, the invincible Bond persists and with his return thrusts the Bond genre sub-series into a new dimension— a borderline fantasy where logical explanations of events are curiously left to the imagination. It is not beyond the imagination to wonder if this miraculous turnaround is the parting shot of Bond at his best.

In fact, a major theme coursing through this saga is—retirement. Both Bond and his matriarchal counterpart, M (Judi Dench), confront their own apparent uselessness in the new spy age. Disenfranchised by the new upstarts of MI6, they are cast as washed up and at the end of their careers. The audience is placed in the juror’s box and, ironically, many in the audience are on trial themselves, as the original Bond generation faces literally its own retirement. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—M. H., age 60
Positive—This is a really good James Bond film, if there is such a thing. Well-written plot that has the usual complexities, but not impossible to follow. For me, Daniel Craig is the true 007, with his gritty determination to fulfill his mission and his ingenuity in staying alive. He is attractive and smart and likable. All the espionage thriller elements are presented in this movie with hectic speed. It’s not for the squeamish. This is a very satisfying James Bond movie with loads of suspense.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Halyna Barannik, age 66 (USA)
Positive—Wow, this movie had a lot action and suspense. Yes, there were a few sexual scenes that didn’t show much, just knowing they were doing it or getting ready to. And he was with what, 3 different women through the whole movie? Totally uncalled for and not necessary, at all. Annoying they have to do this because the action totally carries it. Bond has always been a “player,” so I wasn’t surprised, it’s just not needed and with 3 different women in one movie?! Pointless. The action and story was good though, and I don’t recall much cursing at all, just lots of violence.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I had watched “Skyfall” with Christian friends… I was pleasantly surprised that this Bond movie not only had substance over current “Action / Adventure” films, but it had “realistic” special-effects. With the exception of the “Take the shot” scene at the beginning of the movie (a good movie would never dare to kill off the hero at the beginning), the movie was suspenseful and unpredictable. Profanity was kept to a minimum. The showing of skin was about the same as a 60s—70s Bond movie. There was no overt nudity. Just showing a woman’s body silhouette briefly. There were exotic scenes of foreign countries which really elevated the movie’s filmmaking quality.

***SPOILER*** The themes can be: “The enemy is from within” and “There is redemption if you seek it.” Examples: M (Judi Dench), in charge of MI6 was under fire from her superiors to “voluntarily retire” in 2 months because she was deemed too old to effectively do her job. However, she refused to step down, completed her task and vindicated herself. James Bond (Daniel Craig), after being shot and survived was deemed unfit for duty. He failed his physical, psych eval and firearms training. However, he was able to perceive behavior in others what the average MI6 agent can not. And in the end, he singlehandedly outwitted and defeated the bad guys. Q (Ben Whishaw) was perceived as too young to be Quartermaster but he proved himself to be very capable of supplying the services James Bond needs at the time Bond needs them. Sévérine (Bérénice Marlohe) was controlled by the people she worked for through fear. Eve (Naomie Harris) was reassigned because she followed orders and Silva (Javier Bardem) was unwittingly betrayed and used as a bargaining chip to gain the release of other MI6 agents. It was interesting to see how the characters of Silva and Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) developed when both had similar horrific experiences. Supposedly, both were captured and tortured by foreign agents for months. Silva turned against MI6 and wanted to hurt M. Mallory stayed loyal to MI6 and wanted to help M. Bond initially felt betrayed by M but later forgave her and did his utmost to protect her.

I suppose the moral lesson here is: Tragedies may either make a person bitter or better. The choice is up to the individual.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Keith, age adult (USA)
Positive—Between the three 007 flicks which Daniel Craig has acted in, “Skyfall” is definitely the best hands down. There is a well developed plot, amazing scenery, formidable villains, and a lot of action. Javier Bardem plays the main antagonist in the film; some movie lovers may be familiar with his roles in films such as “No Country for Old Men” (2007) and “Biutiful” (2010). If you’re a die-hard James Bond fan, I would definitely recommend watching it in theaters; it will be money well spent. As for the moral value, if one goes into the film expecting some sort of biblical moral lesson, it’s not very likely that they will find it in an espionage thriller such as this, since James Bond has a very high reputation for wearing fancy suits, shooting guns, drinking expensive alcohol, driving fast cars, bending the rules, and having sex with young beautiful women. “Skyfall” can, however, be seen as a movie about good vs. Evil. I would say it’s fine for people 16 and up to watch this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Paul, age 23 (USA)
Positive—I’m not a big James Bond fan, and I also didn’t know what the story of the movie was before going in. So I was going in for a treat. And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was very well done. For Christians, this movie may have its action and love scenes, but it’s very clean throughout. Nothing over the top. The cinematography is beautiful. And all the actors do a great job. The movie has story and character depth, so there’s several lessons. And good morals can’t be expected from a James Bond movie, considering he’s a spy who kills. But, hopefully, my fellow Christians understand he IS the good guy and has to kill to protect the good people. The movie is a bit of a drag, it felt so long. But almost every scene was entertaining. I don’t recommend this movie to kids.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Michael, age 18 (USA)
Positive—I thought this movie was great. I’m not a huge Bond fan (I haven’t seen all the past movies), but I thought this one was one of the best I’ve seen. I felt compelled to respond briefly to a comment made by another poster, who gave the film a negative review (without seeing it). He said that the Bible says (he put it in quotes, just like this) “do not look upon the nakedness of another woman”. The fact is, the Bible does not say this. I searched several different versions, just in case I was wrong, but it’s not there. In fact, the Bible does have a lot to say about “nakedness”. As everyone knows, the Song of Solomon is full of detailed intentionally sexual references to female body parts, but that’s hardly all. Read your Old Testament. I’m not trying to advocate “anything goes”. But the Bible does not hold back in depicting things just as they happened. Any film version of the Bible that adhered closely to its source material would have to be rated “R,” or in places even “NC-17.” There is a place in narrative art to depict things we would not approve of, in order to make a story connect with the hearer/viewer’s feelings and passions. And connecting in this way is what art always tries to do.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Timothy Blaisdell, age 49 (USA)
Positive—There honestly isn’t enough words to say how incredible “Skyfall” was in comparison to the other James Bond films. I’ve seen both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” (both with Daniel Craig as James Bond), and I must say the latest installment, “Skyfall,” tops both of them. I say this because, while “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” were pretty good, I thought they were a little TOO serious. In the previous films, we were never really introduced to Bond as more than a lover and an MI6. In “Skyfall,” I saw more of the James Bond that showed, yes, a trained killer, but also someone who we got to see as if he was a real person, with REAL emotions, and real weariness.

The action was good, the acting was great, and the content was a little dirty (the violence about the same as the previous installments, and the sexual content a bit too much). What the film also added was humor. Whether it was intentional or not by the writers, I’m not sure. However, it was clean humor that fit into the film perfectly. Overall, I was pleased with “Skyfall.” It showed heart, while keeping James Bond the character we remember. A good film but definitely not for children. Adults and fans of the other James Bond movies (and even the originals) will not be disappointed. Thanks MGM.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—Note: I saw SKYFALL via XFinity On Demand today. After reinvigorating the James Bond franchise for a fifth time with “Casino Royale” and then inexplicably fouling itself with “Quantum Of Solace” (including what I think is the first bad theme song for a James Bond movie), the series is back on solid ground with the latest installment. Not only is there an excellent script in place, but also very good actors, well-choreographed action sequences, strong character development and a theme song reminiscent of “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “License To Kill” (the latter being my personal favorite James Bond film).

Biblically speaking, the action sequences are considerably amped up from the level of all the previous James Bond films (excluding the last two), but the violence isn’t graphic. Language is minimal in this installment (it’s usually never been that much of a concern with this series), and sensuality is limited to two brief scenes. However, there may be another scene that qualifies as almost erotic, and which I will discuss in my next sentence.

The main reason I didn’t see this film in theaters is because there’s a scene where the villain caresses Bond’s chest and legs (and possibly his groin off-screen, where the camera focuses on Bond’s face); that may be interpreted as a homoerotic overtone, but I personally thought of it as a form of psychological torture, ala The Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Look at that scene any way you want. There are some very nice surprises in store for fans of the franchise…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—D, age 27 (USA)
Neutral—If you think that a homosexual, Hispanic, Joker (Batman style) type villain vs, James Bond would interest you, then this film may. Otherwise the film strays from the traditional plot to one of fighting terrorists (not an Islamic terrorist—we couldn’t have the realistic scenarios of 007 vs. USSR of the 1970s by portraying the most common real genre of (Muslim) terrorist today—we wouldn’t want to offend with the truth now would we?) that doesn’t come from a particular geographically located government more similar to recent 007 movies, but obviously unlike those cold war editions. Overall, I was not all that impressed. Oh yes! There’re the obligatory action and fighting and chase scenes, but (slight spoiler alert) don’t anticipate any new neat gadgets or impressive special effects, because this movie doesn’t have any. Knowing what I know now, I’d have waited for the DVD, so I could eat cheaper popcorn and take my pee breaks in my own toilet while the pause button is pressed, even though I’d not be missing anything new if I didn’t, because there really isn’t anything new. You won’t be missing much if you just skip it all together, unless you have to watch every 007 that comes out.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Bob, age 49 (USA)
Neutral—It wasn’t nearly as bad (content wise) as I thought it would be, but it still contained some language that could’ve been avoided. I was rather relieved that there were no GD bombs or any abuses of Jesus” name. God’s name was abused a few times and one abuse of Christ’s, though. The violence wasn’t too graphic, either. The most graphic scene was when a guy got stabbed in the back. This film is loaded with explosions, as well. But, of course, the sexual content could’ve been avoided with two scenes of implied sex (there wasn’t much shown, and both scenes were brief, but the audience knows what happened).

However, the story still had a pretty good moral to it, which is a plus. This film did have a solid script and some great editing, as well. The actors were top notch, and Sam Mendes really delivered with his direction. It’s a great addition to the Bond franchise, but I can’t recommend it for anyone under the age of 14 or 15, due to the sexual content, violence, and language.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Curtis, age 20 (USA)
Neutral—I watched this movie because my husband wanted to see it. (He’s not a Christian.) I kinda like Bond movies, but I’m not a “fan” or anything. This was a good story. I liked the plot. I did NOT like the casual sex, the homosexual villain, or the fact that the plot was so predictable. From a Christian standpoint, the movie was terrible. From a Hollywood standpoint, it was a 8 out of 10.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Chrystal, age 36 (USA)
Negative—Honestly? I didn’t like this one nearly as much as “Casino Royale” or “Quantum of Solace.” I’m probably going to be one of the five people who feels that way, but I do. For two reasons—and I hope that I was tired at the midnight showing doesn’t count. First, I just don’t like it when remakes series do that thing where they try to “nod” or “salute” or just be the old series. I’ve seen a little of the other Bond movies—with Bronsnan or Connery. And I just loved how fresh and sharp and “real” the “Casino Royale” remake felt. This movie gave some major nods back to the old Bond shows, and I just don’t like that old, cheesy feeling. But most people will probably love it.

Second, this just didn’t have the character development and personal plot for Bond that “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace” did. In “Casino Royale”—Bond is this kind of fresh, eager agent, happy to kill for Queen and country. He meets Vesper, amazingly falls in love, despite being so cold and hard, and then is seemingly betrayed, turning him cold and bitter and burned. But he truly showed care for Vesper, and it was a nice little part of the movie. “Quantum of Solace,” he’s struggling to get through that. There are some mandatory Bond seducing a girl scenes, but they have some point, as you feel like Bond’s trying to get forget, get by. And then things are resolved, he tracks down the man who betrayed Vesper and caused her death, and finds Solace. He can trust people, life has meaning, all that. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Andrew, age 21 (USA)
Negative—Booms. Blasts. Women. M and Q (and Moneypenny). Not many gadgets. A creepy bad guy. This Bond shows more of his backstory than most 007 movies combined, but it still does not jettison the blatant sex present in the movie; the obvious casual sex scenes are still out of bounds, as they always have been. The homosexual vibe when the bad guy was talking to Bond on the island was also out of bounds. No matter the story, the drama… anything. Is God pleased? No. It’s as simple as that.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Casey, age 47 (USA)
Negative—This is absolutely the worst Bond movie ever, and I’ve seen them all. In “Casino Royale” we were introduced to a young Bond who had not yet developed the sophistication of Connery’s Bond. Now, in “Skyfall” we are told he is old and needing to retire???… Historically, Bond is engaged in major world threatening issues. ***SPOILER*** In “Skyfall” his task is to save the head of MI-6, but she dies anyway. ***END SPOILER***

The bad guy is really not so bad and was made that way by his treatment when he was with MI-6. He is a sympathetic character. The movie was slow moving and introduced nothing new for the viewers. The chase scenes were all tired, and we’ve seen them all before. A fight on top of a train and needing to duck under tunnels. WOW. Never saw that before (/sarc off). more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Ken, age 60+ (USA)
Negative—While this movie is certainly well made and well acted, I was disappointed by the language that has never been in a previous James Bond film to my knowledge. The use of the “f” word by M towards the end of the movie, and the “s” word by the new Q seemed so very much out of place for the Bond movies. It was quite disappointing. While the casual sexual exploits of the Bond character are tiresome, I hate to see the legacy of the 007 movies tarnished because of certain words now being used that were “taboo” the last 50 years!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Bill H., age 51 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I know lots of people on this Web site are going to say that this movie has “extreme violence” and “graphic sex” but just being realistic, it doesn’t. All the sex in this movie, is James makes out with two girls for three seconds each. No nudity in either. As for “graphic violence,” its a little bit grittier then the older Bonds, but its still not graphic. Now lets talk about the good. Some other movies show Bond as a mindless killing machine, but in this it shows that he has a heart, and he cares about people who are important to him.

***SPOILER*** M is dying in James’s arm, and Bond begins to cry. It shows that Bond isn’t just a spy, but a person who cares about others. ***END SPOILER***

This is my favorite Bond. (I’ve seen “Dr. No,” “To Russia with Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice,” and “For Your Eyes Only”), and, believe it or not, this is one of the ones with not a lot of sex. I highly recommend this movie to kids older than 11. I also like the throwbacks to the old Bond movies. Watch the movie, and you’ll see what I mean.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tyler, age 13 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—For the Christians who choose to live by Biblical convictions this move is very offensive. See, God is right, and we are wrong, and the only time we are right is when we agree with Him. The movie has a nudity. Even if it is 3 seconds. And what does the word of God say? “Do not look upon the nakedness of another woman…” pornography comes in various styles and shapes. What’s wrong is wrong. And just because evil is 3 seconds long doesn’t make it right.
—San, age 34 (Thailand)

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