Immersed in Blu-ray: Skyfall

Skyfall arrives this week on Blu-ray (Fox/MGM Home Ent.). No wonder it’s the first billion dollar Bond: it’s the most prestigious and dramatically rich Bond ever (under the inspired direction of Sam Mendes), the best-shot Bond movie ever (courtesy of Oscar-nominated and ASC winner Roger Deakins), and the most stunning Bond Blu-ray ever. It’s crisp, sharp, and elegant. That’s because Deakins used the Arri Alexa. In terms of audio, the 5.1 DTS HD-MasterĀ  is very dynamic .

Mendes seizes the opportunity to advance Bond’s characterization by bringing together his inner and outer worlds into sharper focus. Indeed, Judi Dench’s M, who is at the center of the plot for the first time, alludes to Bond as a present-day Ulysses fighting evil in the shadows by quoting Tennyson (“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”).

And the visual style fits in perfectly with Skyfall’s exploration of the old and new, as we follow Daniel Craig’s 007 on an existential journey that takes him to sun-drenched Istanbul, back to the gray subterranean world of London, golden Shanghai, a dead city in Macao, and back in time to his ethereal Scottish home.

In addition, Bond has finally met his equal in baddie Silva (played flamboyantly and disturbingly by Javier Bardem). Talk about a doppelganger. Like a fallen angel, Silva represents the dark side of what Bond could become after believing he’s been betrayed by M.

After completing this rite of passage trilogy, the table’s now set at MI6 for Bond to continue his spying with greater self-awareness and “with pleasure.”

The Skyfall Blu-ray also includes wonderful commentary by the Oscar-winning Mendes, known for his thorough, performance-driven approach to directing as a result of his theatrical background. He discusses everything from plotting to action sequences to casting to staying true to the Bond traditions while at the same time going deeper into 007 than ever before. We realize how the opening title sequences visually presages everything; and for those wanting to know why he abandoned the traditional gun barrel opening (he told me that it didn’t fit with the opening composition), he explains that he book-ends the movie with a symbolic gun barrel telephoto shot of Bond walking toward us and concluding with a newly-shot iconic representation tied to the 50th anniversary tag.

Look for my in-depth analysis of Skyfall and exclusive interview with Mendes in the upcoming ebook edition of James Bond Unmasked available on Amazon this fall.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Blu-ray, Books, Cinematography, Home Entertainment, James Bond, Movies, Tech, Trailers

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