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Skyfall (2012)
Rated PG13

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Javier Bardem

Rating:
****1/2
out of
*****

James Bond has been an iconic character for 50 years. To celebrate his golden anniversary, Bond returns to the screen in what may be one of the best films in a series that's seen as many ups as downs.

Daniel Craig returns for the third time as the legendary Agent 007 and, as in his previous two outings, he makes for a great incarnation of the character. Although some fans thought he may have been too grim for the role, Craig lightens up a bit in Skyfall.

This time around, MI6 faces a threat from a cyber-terrorist who seems to have a personal vendetta against M (Dame Judi Dench). As usual, Bond is the only agent on the roster who can step up to the challenge. He gets some assistance from a new Q (Ben Whishaw) and a sexy assistant partner, Eve (Naomie Harris, 28 Days Later.)

Director Sam Mendes, best known for American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, proves himself a fine action director. Skyfall features some classic Bond action moments, particularly the opening set-piece, that features a rooftop motorcycle chase that climaxes with a fist fight on a train.

The script, written by Neil Purvis, John Logan, and Robert Wade, also provides plenty of nods to Bond's 50th anniversary with some subtle and not-so-subtle references to past Bond adventures that manage to never feel forced or ludicrous. Well, as non-ludicrous as you can get with the over-the-top situations in which Bond finds himself.

And, of course, a Bond film needs a great villain. Javier Bardem is perfectly cast as Silva and he provides some excellent scene-chewing moments.

Whether or not Skyfall is the best Bond ever -- as the advertising copy proclaims -- is debatable. However, it's safe to say that Skyfall is one of the most entertaining movies of 2012.

Trivia: For the motorbike chase in Turkey, Coca Cola was sprayed on the tarmac of the streets in Istanbul to keep the bikes from sliding. Ironically, Coke is not an official product placement in the movie (but there is a Coke Zero ad marketing campaign that ties in with the movie).   (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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