Skyfall on DVD/Blu-RaySkyfall, the third 007 movie starring Daniel Craig and the 23rd James Bond film overall, begins in traditional fashion – with a delightfully ridiculous chase scene.
A mercenary has absconded with a computer chip containing the identities and location of all the undercover agents on the British intelligence payroll. This seems like an egregious security oversight – really, they're all on one chip? – but Bond doesn't have time to complain. In a terrific action set-piece, Bond pursues the bad guy in a chase involving motorcycles, Istanbul rooftops, and an earth mover driving over a train. A moving train.
This is the kind of haywire action spectacle you're paying for with a movie like Skyfall – new to DVD and Blu-ray in a generous retail combo pack stuffed with bonus materials. For visual design and F/X geeks, it's a lot of fun. The appeal of watching Skyfall on the big screen is letting the state-of-the-art action movie magic wash over you. The appeal of watching it again on the small screen is toggling over to the DVD extras and learning just how the filmmakers managed to pull it off.
The rest of Skyfall plays out in the familiar rhythms of the James Bond Movie, albeit with some minor-key variations. The plot centers around 007's stalwart handler M, the steely intelligence chief played by Dame Judi Dench. Later developments bring us into Bond's origin story, and his ancestral home in Scotland. Sins of the past come back to haunt both of our heroes, most alarmingly in the person of villain Raoul Silva, played by a slithery Javier Bardem.
Silva's interest in M is quite personal, it seems. (His interest in Bond maybe more so, as demonstrated in a playfully erotic interrogation scene.) Silva is the latest incarnation of that spy movie staple, the rogue agent who turns on his handlers and knows all the tricks of the trade. Also on hand: Ralph Fiennes as an MI6 honcho, Ben Whishaw as gadget-wrangler Q, Albert Finney as an old Bond ally, and the celestially beautiful Naomie Harris as a fellow field agent.
All the other requisite components are in place. The deadly hardware, the perilous tradecraft, the exotic locales – a network of tunnels beneath London, a neon-drenched Shanghai. Craig continues with his muscular, brooding take on 007 and director Sam Mendes stitches it all together with assured, glossy aplomb.
There's really nothing to complain about: Skyfall was one of last year's best movies and hardcore fans will have a good time seeing it again and rooting around in the bonus materials.
Extras: The DVD/Blu-ray combo pack features a digital copy of the film, two commentary tracks – one with director Mendes, the other with producers and designers – plus 14 different behind-the-scenes features on everything from the the title sequence to the future of the franchise. Actually, I do have one complaint: Several of these features clock in at two minutes or less.
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Note: This was written by Glenn McDonald, a Digital Crave contributor.
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