The sumptuous visuals of “Skyfall” make the 23rd James Bond film a natural for Blu-ray. Sam Mendes directed what has ended up being the highest-grossing Bond film of all time. It's a return to form for the franchise after the slight misstep of “Quantum of Solace” and comes close to matching the highs star Daniel Craig reached in his 2006 near-reboot of the franchise, “Casino Royale.”
For the 50th anniversary of Bond in films, “Skyfall” pays homage to the British special agent's history. The storyline works on both a straightforward and symbolic level, as Bond is portrayed as an aging throwback to a simpler time.
Javier Bardem is Silva, a creepy hacker with a grudge against M (Judi Dench). His techno-future works against Bond's bulldog-with-fists approach. The film stays just on the edge of realism throughout, heightening the tension. Silva's dark reflection of Bond raises some interesting moral dilemmas for those on both sides.
The cinematography of Roger Deakins is an impressive reason to spring for the Blu-ray. Deakins' work from the intro of the film to the explosive climax makes this film one of the most visually opulent entries in the Bond oeuvre. A fight sequence shot entirely in silhouette, in front of flashing LED billboards and lighting, will be remembered as a Bond classic.
Berenice Marlohe is relatively limited in her appearance as a Bond girl, but Naomie Harris acquits herself well as a field agent working alongside 007. Ralph Fiennes is solid in a smaller role as Gareth Mallory, and Ben Whishaw plays a cocky, tech-savvy agent who takes on the role of a young Q.
“Skyfall” continues Craig's transformation as Bond from the face-first basher we met in “Casino Royale” to the more sophisticated spy agent remembered from the character's long history. “Skyfall” is a great launching point for new Bond adventures, ideally starring Craig, who has reinvigorated the long-running character.
Extras include commentary with director Sam Mendes; commentary with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and production designer Dennis Gassner; “Shooting Bond,” an hourlong documentary on the making of the film; and short cast and crew interviews from the film's London premiere.
The Blu-ray edition also includes a DVD and digital copy of the film.
— Matthew Price