The US critics got their hands on Skyfall this week, and we’ve rounded up some key praise and critique for the 23rd Bond movie, stemming from this side of the Atlantic.

Mendes and Deakins are so busy trying to be visionary that they don’t notice that characters are wandering too far from their roots, and half the time you can’t see what’s going on. A sequence in Shanghai in which Bond fights a fellow assassin against a gorgeous giant screen of jellyfish images degenerates into two anonymous backlit shadows. Silva is introduced with a shot that’s so ridiculously deep-focus, the camera work becomes a distraction. The scenes at the country house (which feature an amusing cameo by Albert Finney, trying his best to sound Scottish) are a bedlam of shadow and blasts of mustard-colored light. – NY Post

The villain is a blond-haired nut job named Silva (Javier Bardem), a cyberterrorist, and he has a grudge to settle. I’m not sure Bond ever turns on a computer, much less uses one; he leaves that to Q (Ben Whitshaw), a full-on nerd whose age and manner make it hard for Bond to, well, bond with him. – Democrat and Chronicle

Sam Mendes indulges more in mood lighting than in fistfighting. He poses Craig like a Ken doll against various exotic backdrops (Macao, Shanghai) but barely wrinkles the suits. The film’s climax, which reinvents more than one origin story (and explains the film’s title), feels satisfyingly apocalyptic, which may be a good sign. Perhaps the next Bond will do more shaking than stirring. – Newsday

Deakins, who also shot Mendes’“Jarhead” and “Revolutionary Road,” provides a varied array of looks, all of them dazzling. The MI6 headquarters, which must be moved to a hidden underground location following a vicious attack, have a crisp and stylish industrial-loft chic about them. The rugged hills of Scotland, where the final battle occurs at Bond’s ancestral home, are both wondrous and imposing; by this point in the film, “Skyfall” extends beyond the familiar confines of a spy thriller and becomes a flat-out Western. It’s a bold move. – Daily Tribune

Watching the purposefulness of this movie, the way Mendes argues for conversation and atmosphere over conventional, incoherently assembled chases and fights, I realized I was frustrated. “Skyfall” does every single thing these movies have to do (Bond’s last-name/full-name introduction, the shaking of the martini, the sport cars and sport sex; the stunts, deployment of gadgets, and camped-up villainy), and there’s little Mendes can do to enliven the familiarity. – Boston Globe

What people will cling to, however, is Craig’s subtle, performance that drips with depth as he confronts a past that would have emotionally crippled lesser individuals. Craig’s Bond has been one of the most stoic and straightforward versions of the character. The humor he brings to the role is subtle. And he says more with his non-traditionally handsome face and pursed lips than most actors say with words. His well-worn face shows hints of weariness that prove especially noteworthy for his portrayal of 007 in this particular outing. – Examiner

Further Reading

About James Bond 24 (2015)

James Bond 24 will be released in October 2015. It is produced by EON Productions, with Sam Mendes returning from Skyfall to direct. Daniel Craig is contracted for two further 007 films — Bond 24 and 25 — and will star as the British agent of MI6. Also returning from Skyfall are Ralph Fiennes as M and Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny. Although it is unconfirmed, many expect Rory Kinnear to reprise his role as M’s chief of staff. Roger Deakins, cinematographer, and Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, screenwriters, will not return. The screenplay is being penned by John Logan.

About Skyfall – James Bond 23 (2012)

The new Bond movie will star Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney and Judi Dench, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. The 007 screenplay will be written by regular James Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, working with John Logan (Gladiator & The Last Samurai). Director of American Beauty and Road To Perdition, Sam Mendes will be directing the new James Bond movie. MGM and Sony Pictures Entertainment in a joint statement on 2nd June 2011 announced that “Bond 23″ will go on release in the UK on Friday, 26th October, 2012 and in the USA on 9th November 2012. The first major announcement from EON Productions and Sony Pictures came on 3rd November 2011 in London when the principle cast was announced, along with a rough plot line. In Skyfall, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.