Skyfall, the 23rd official Bond movie, was a tremendous outing for Daniel Craig’s 007, with a fantastic cast and a simple but relevant story keeping everything going. Most notably it really dug into the characters and gave the film a depth that has seldom been witnessed in the Bond franchise; demonstrating that Craig is an incredible Bond and has got many more films in him yet.
With its blu-ray and DVD release just around the corner, thoughts will soon be turning to Bond 24. If the producers want to top Sam Mendes’ brilliant instalment they’re going to need to deliver something equally special, and looking back through what did and didn’t work in the three previous Daniel Craig Bond films might be a good place to start.
So here’s five things Bond 24 can learn from Craig’s previous 007 outings…
5. Use Of Action Sequences Will Make Or Break The Film
The best Bond movies are those which have the perfect balance of story, action, humour, romance and style; getting this balance wrong will result in a poorer film. Casino Royale demonstrated perfectly how to thread exciting and memorable action sequences throughout the movie without drowning out story or substance. Particularly memorable is the opening free-running chase which takes us through a town, to the vertigo inducing crane fight and finally comes to an explosive end in the Nambutu Embassy. It is huge in scale and concept yet directed with enough skill and flair that you never feel at a loss as to what’s going on.
Quantum of Solace, on the other hand, served up an abundance of unmemorable action sequences, one after the next. The opening half-an-hour or so of the film is especially crammed with these sequences; leading to the opening feeling more like a string of set-pieces as opposed to the sense any form of narrative is driving the film. Neither are any of these scenes as effective or memorable as the opening chase in Casino Royale or as tense as some of Royale’s later battles. One of the biggest problems was the director’s decision to use the fashionable shaky-cam approach with brutal editing, meaning huge chunks of the scenes become unintelligible blurs; things might be whizzing past, giving the audience motion sickness, but who cares if you don’t have a clue what’s going on. In fairness Quantum of Solace improves as the film goes on, calming down in both pace, as the narrative begins to take the lead, and in the direction of the action set-pieces, which become easier to follow.
Skyfall thankfully was much closer in direction to Casino Royale, with the action being exciting, easy to follow and driven by the narrative. The opening sequence in particular is probably the most exciting action sequence of last year as the scene evolves as it progresses, with each step becoming slightly crazier and more exciting than the last. Equally the final claustrophobic battle at the end is tenser than just about any other Bond action sequence, and simply demands your attention.
The lesson here for Bond 24 is simple, the best action sequences should be easy to follow, push the boundaries and not feel superfluous to the main story but instead push the narrative forward so the audience are engaged.
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