The original Annie came out in 1982 and starred Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks and comic legend Carol Burnett as Mrs. Hannigan, this remake has made a couple of odd choices in their replacements where Jamie Foxx is in the Warbucks role, as Will Stacks and Cameron Diaz is in the Burnett role. Granted, Finney was also an odd choice back in the original film but he did, at least, look like the comic book character. To be fair, the real star of this re imagining of an old favorite, is the young actress playing the lead role, Quvenzhané Wallis, who is stepping into the tap shoes of Aileen Quinn. This 11 year old possessor of a huge amount of talent, fills the shoes of the original Annie with relative ease and it is her performance which impresses the most.
Directed by Sam Mendes and starring Daniel Craig as 007; Skyfall is the 23rd Bond film and Craig’s third outing as the “super spy.” While I was not overly keen on Adele’s theme song for the film, the opening did not disappoint as it featured some pretty great white knuckle action from the first frame.
I was really looking forward to the Blu-ray release of the film and I managed to get the last copy in HMV. But I was a bit annoyed that there were no special features on the disc. But having said that, the film looked brilliant and the cinematography was spectacular to say the least.
I was really looking forward to seeing Javier Bardem as the “big baddie” Silva. I’ve been a fan of this man since he played the sinister Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. His performance in that film was chilling and he did not disappoint as Silva in Skyfall. He has jumped to the top of the league as the best Bond villain ever.
I was amazed at Albert Finney as the gamekeeper Kincaid. I did not recognise him at first, but when he opened his mouth, despite the Scottish accent, I knew it was him. What a delight to see him still proving that at his age, he’s still got the ‘chops.’
The film looked brilliant and the soundtrack was great, especially after the second half of the film got under way. There were some spectacular stunts for this film and the scene with the London tube train was memorable and will be hard to beat.
The only problem I had with the film was the first half. Sam Mendes seems to have confused slowness with grandness. He worked tremendously hard to make the 23rd Bond outing look epic. Unfortunately epic does not equal slow or meandering. I was actually getting bored and we had not even met Silva yet.
However, once he came on board, the film picked up pace nicely and cracked along. The speedier and more action packed second half saved the film by just pulling it back from the precipice of diffidence. When things began moving and bringing Bond back to his roots by including some traditional Bond music and a bit of the old 007 ingenuity, it felt like we were back home again.
But the film did open with a great pre-title sequence that offered more action than most film’s set-pieces. Once the opening credits finished the film, as I said above, slowed down to a crawl. I am sure that the director felt that this leisurely pace was necessary for the “slower” members of the audience to catch everything, but those of us with a higher IQ it was too slow.
Daniel Craig gave, as usual, his all for God, Queen, country, and M. He still manages to make Bond seem bigger than life and brings a roughness mixed with the smooth edge of diamond tough suaveness that brings Sean Connery to mind.
But where the “original” Bond was flippant, Craig is not. His humour is drier and much more subtle. We can only hope that he “stays’ as Bond for at least a few more films. He is the last of the male stars who can pull it off.
For excruciatingly slow pacing in the first half of the film, I’ll have to give the film a 4.5 stars out of 5. Close, but not the full cigar, Mendes.
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