Fifty years after Dr. No, the first James Bond film, 007 is back in action in Skyfall. The latest entry in the Bond franchise, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sam Mendes, departs from the brawn-and-guns type of secret agent and gravitates towards a character who reveals 007's inner demons.
The Bond franchise has always been identified with the spy's signature introduction.
"Who are you?" asks the beautiful blond woman.
"Bond. James Bond," replies actor Sean Connery as the legendary secret agent.
But the traditionally slick, unperturbed spy with the elegant tuxedos and stiff martinis has evolved into a more rugged Bond, still chiseled, but more haunted-looking.
Skyfall starts with her Majesty's Secret Service botching an operation in Istanbul. Bond gets back in action. This time, terrorism hits home.
M, the head of the foreign intelligence wing, played by Judi Dench, finds out she is the target. The perpetrator is Silva, an ex-agent with an axe to grind.
Academy award winner Javier Bardem plays Silva, who is not the typical Bond opponent. Bardem spoke to VOA about Mendes's drama.
“It took the direction of really creating characters that are more approachable, in a sense of an emotional approach. That's why there are great scenes playing in the movie, because Sam likes scenes playing in his movies, and he put the characters together in order for them to have the time to go through a process,” said Bardem.
The film also is a visual extravaganza, especially on the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
“It's hopefully to please people, to make them remember what it is, that it's a Bond movie first and foremost,” said Craig.
Unlike its predecessors, Skyfall uses gadgets sparingly, but modern technology drives the film.
Terrorism and undercover war move into cyber space, and MI6's gadget expert and computer hacker looks like a brainiac high schooler next door.
Like in all previous Bond films, sex appeal abounds. French-Cambodian actress Berenice Merlohe plays Severine, the quintessential Bond girl.
“I always felt connected with the Bond universe, with the music, which is so powerful, and the sets were unbelievable," said Merlohe.
Naomi Harris plays MI6 agent Eve, a more dynamic female character.
“A woman who is much more of an equal to Bond. She out there in the field with him,” said Harris.
Skyfall takes a more modern approach to Bond, but the film also pays homage to tradition. We see 007 driving his iconic Aston-Martin and still picking a good physical fight with traditional Bond bravado.