Looper & Skyfall

This weekend, I had the chance to enjoy two stellar new movies – Looper and Skyfall. Here’s my take on these films.

Looper (2012)

Wow, what an intense and alluring sci-fi thriller. This movie is set in 2044 and follows Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a mob hitman who eliminates people from the future sent by the mob through a time machine. It just so happens that Joe’s contract is terminated, so his future self is sent back in time for Joe to kill. Except old Joe escapes, and the rest of the story is a whirlwind of flashbacks, new developments, and a jaw-dropping finish.

Oftentimes, I gauge how great a movie is when I completely lose track of time. For Looper, what felt like 30 minutes was actually two hours, and I was continually drawn in by new twists and turns in the storyline and the great work by the actors and actresses (props to Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis for playing each other so well). The action was definitely there and not over-the-top, serving to enhance the storyline. The supporting actors were great, too, especially the kid who plays Cid. I’d keep an eye out for that one in future movies.

The film manages to take an overdone motif (time travel) and completely cast it in a new and believable light. Overall, a compelling story, great action, and solid work by the cast.

Skyfall (2012)

The first Bond movie in four years, Skyfall does a great job setting up the franchise for the new web-connected generation. The storyline revolves around a botched hard drive recovery and major hackings of British intelligence service MI6. For the first time, the villain attacks the source, and Bond and his cohorts must figure out how to combat the new age of cyberwarfare.

I really enjoyed this movie because it was very relevant to modern times. The film does a great job contrasting the old and the new, from technology to ideology. This world is a new world, filled with doubt on how the old guard can handle villains who do more damage sitting in front of a computer. Even Bond’s traditional role is cast into light, and we root for him throughout as he struggles to find relevance.

I think the take-home message of the film is that times are changing, and it’s just as important to embrace the past as it is to embrace the future. There are nice little touches here and there showing this – from the appearance of the classic Aston Martin DB9 to Bond’s retreat to his childhood Scotland home in light of a new Q who looks like a modern-day hipster (and hacks) and a villain who releases classified information on YouTube.

Daniel Craig does a solid job in this movie, emanating his usual tough-guy aura and also demonstrating some impressive adaptation. Skyfall’s villain has definitely got to be one of the franchise’s best, and funniest. And M (Judi Dench), who gets a lot more screen time, shows just how great of an actress she is.

I’d rank this one up there with some of the best Bond movies, and I’m glad the producers breathed new life into a classic and respectable movie franchise.

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