For any long running movie franchise to survive, it has to constantly adapt.  The James Bond series has done so several times over its remarkable 50 year existence.  ‘Skyfall’ features an abundance of what made it so popular whilst progressing towards the future.  With Daniel Craig again portraying the smartly suited adventurous rough diamond, no doubt Bond’s creator Ian Fleming would be pleased his secret agent continues to endure.


When a computer drive containing the names of every British agent is stolen, James Bond (Daniel Craig) is tasked to retrieve it.  Willing to do anything to help his boss M (Judi Dench) 007 goes on the hunt.  During his search fellow agent Eve (Naomie Harris) and the mysterious Silva (Javier Bardem) appear. Holding the key to the puzzle, Silva tests Bond’s resolve like no other villain before with M’s past affecting the future of Her Majesty’s best agent.


‘Skyfall’ has all the hallmarks of the Daniel Craig era.  Full of tough, gritty action, almost believable villains and drama, his fans should enjoy his third Bond outing.  Whilst some have disagreed with this new direction it has breathed fresh energy into 007’s continuing adventures.  The latest deftly mixes old elements with the new with a mostly engaging screenplay.  Whilst occasionally sequences don’t make much logical sense, it moves at a cracking pace and has a hero more reliant on his wits than gadgetry.


Director Sam Mendes is well served by a production up to the usual series standards.  The top-notch cinematography, amazingly staged action and Thomas Newman’s evocative soundtrack make ‘Skyfall’ stand out.  This is an unpredictable Bond film where anything happens and usually does with the performers eagerly throwing themselves into the fray.  Bardem shows great menace as the sinister baddie with Craig commendably doing his best in allowing some humour to creep into his usually stoic hero.


Celebrating fifty years of ongoing success is an achievement any series should be proud.  ‘Skyfall’ ultimately succeeds due to its adherence to the traditional formula whilst breaking new ground – ensuring Bond’s cinematic heritage has a solid basis from which to last for many years to come.


Rating out of 10:  8


Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Recent headlines featuring the ‘Twilight’ franchise’s two leads have made the traumas their characters face look easy.  Such has been the frenzy surrounding these films every move they make is thoroughly analysed.  A shame the movies themselves weren’t given the same questioning gaze as they’ve been among the worst made.  Pumped out along the Hollywood production line at a furious pace, this alleged final chapter should leave fans with tears of sadness with others crying ones of joy.


Turned into a vampire like her love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), Bella (Kristen Stewart) begins her new life.  Recently giving birth to their daughter, she hopes life becomes calmer.  Sadly this never happens when the Volturi hear she has a child.  Mistakenly believing the human baby is an immortal, the evil coven set out to destroy all she holds dear.  With the help of the Wolf Pack, including Jacob (Taylor Lautner), they make a final stand against their enemies in a bloody fight to the finish.


‘Breaking Dawn’ Part 2 will make tons of cash no matter what anyone says.  Which is frustrating as it’s just as badly acted and poorly directed as the others.  Dragging sequences beyond their life, ‘Breaking Dawn’ easily could have been one movie.  But money rules in Tinsletown even if it’s difficult seeing why this vampiric Mills and Boon has been so wildly popular.  Perhaps it’s the glossy fantasy some people enjoy although the romance and soft rock soundtrack sadly fail to cover the lack of genuine passion of its monotone heroes.


By far its biggest sin is the absolute cop-out of an ending.  Having set up a massive battle between all sides, what transpires is a huge let-down.  This failure to have the courage of its convictions is a symptom of the series overall.  Safe, inoffensive and much ado about nothing, its ending is less than satisfactory.  Unlike the final chapter of the Harry Potter franchise, this entry again proves 21st Century Hollywood is a creative waste-land compared to golden eras of decades gone by.


With news the series may live on after this ‘final’ chapter, one should heed this cinematic threat.  Its producers seem more than happy to milk this cash-cow for all its worth although hopefully its maligned stars can rest in peace even if this franchise doesn’t.


Rating out of 10:  1