I missed Skyfall in the theater and have been looking forward to seeing it on DVD. I watched it over the long weekend and was not disappointed.

I will admit I’m not a huge Bond fan. I’ve only seen a fraction of the movies, and only started going out of my way to watch them all when I became a major Judi Dench fan and realized she was M. So I’ve seen all the recent ones, starting with the Pierce Brosnan era.

So. Skyfall is both wonderful for Judi Dench fans, and terrible. I love M’s relationship with Bond. Skyfall is a gift for people who do. The story is almost Shakespearean, steeped in tragedy and high drama, with a lyrical quality that should not fit so beautifully into an all out, go for broke action movie…but it does. The action is far from skimpy. It’s so skillfully blended into the solid plot that all the disparate elements work together for a very satisfying ride.

Except for the shock and grief when M dies in 007’s arms.

Judi Dench gives an amazing performance throughout, with a wonderful swan song, so I can’t honestly say M shouldn’t have died. I can’t write about movies entirely as just a viewer. I see them through screenwriter colored glasses, and Skyfall was so beautifully written that I can’t find fault with it. Even knowing the M I started really watching it for has been replaced by Voldemort!

Besides, how can I complain when it’s given me a new must watch actor in the new Q? I actually noticed brilliant British theater trained actor Ben Whishaw in the Skyfall TV ads, and started anticipating seeing more. A gifted actor, with a range from soulful to flippant to dream ridden and many shades between, Whishaw’s Q is the best letter of the alphabet to happen to the Bond franchise since Dench as M.

If you think someone so into British theater trained brilliance can’t also be an action movie fan, think again. I love the genre, and Skyfall certainly delivers on that front as well. A thrilling chase across rooftops, Bond driving heavy equipment along moving train cars with panache, dangling from a sleek highrise elevator, defying death underwater, the best train crash I’ve seen since Super 8…these are just the sequences that stick hardest.

Awesome explosions abound. As a sportscar lover, I found it borderline painful to watch a perfectly fine Aston Martin blown to high heaven, but it was something to behold, front and center against a backdrop of stark Scottish moorland, and a bleak old house that looked as I it hadn’t been occupied in a hundred years.

Javier Bardem put the V in Villain with a capital V. I actually felt a little queasy when he removed the side of his face and revealed the depths of his twisted rage and thirst for revenge.

Oh, and that Craig fellow is my favorite Bond. With the exception of the idea of the Sean Connery incarnation. I’ve only seen him in Never Say Never Again, which I’ve heard on more than one occasion is not the best yardstick to measure that particular Bond by. I could listen to Sean Connery talk all day, so one of these day I’ll have a marathon of his Bonds and find out what I’ve been missing.

The only thing that could have made me like Skyfall any better would have been if the rumors that Anthony Hopkins would play the villain had been true.  It’s just as well probably that it was only rumors. Seeing the actors known for playing Hannibal Lecter, Lord Voldemort, and Richard II all together might have been one step too far over the intensity line, and sent me spiraling off into pondering who would win an imagined deathmatch among those three. That wouldn’t do at all. I’d hate to have missed the ethereally lovely and sometimes fragile looking Dame Judi making bombs with broken glass and determination…and a hint of wicked glee at her own cleverness.

Skyfall Official Trailer