It is one of the longest running discussions surrounding the Bond movies; who is the best Bond?
For the majority, it is simply a question of “who you grew up with.”
However, what director Sam Mendes has done with Skyfall is very clever; he has taken the best elements that previous Bonds were known for, blended them together with the modern, gritty impact that Daniel Craig has made and produced what is arguably the greatest Bond movie ever.
It has the originality of Connery, the humour of Moore, the hardened steel of Dalton’s vision and in Craig’s performance it modernises the amalgamation of them all which actually can be seen in Bronsnan’s earlier portrayal.
A botched assignment leaves field agents and MI6 itself gravely exposed to attack.
This failed mission sees “M”, once again played perfectly by Dame Judi Dench, and her department under siege from both an external force and the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Mallory (Ralph Fiennes).
Her only ally that she can trust is Bond and though he is not perfectly calibrated, he is still of course an effective instrument that she can use.
Together with another field agent, Eve (Naomie Harris), Bond follows a trail back to its source and the enemy is revealed to be the damaged Silva (played supremely by Javier Bardem).
Roger Deakins’ cinematography is exquisite; the neon-lit Shanghai is beautifully presented and the fight sequence in silhouette is amazing to watch.
Thomas Newman does a great job with the score, with cues from the original Monty Norman and John Barry tunes perfectly executed.
The story by Neil Purvis and Robert Wade makes Bond more believable as a human.
He is a highly skilled assassin but he is still a man that can be damaged both physically and mentally.
This was an element that was sorely missing at the end of the Brosnan period and showed why that particular Bond had fired his last bullet.
Perhaps it seems such a good film because Quantum of Solace was a step down from the excellent Casino Royale.
It is certainly a factor, but not the whole story.
What I do know is this; if you could take Skyfall in your hands and squeeze it, the essence of Ian Fleming would drip out, land on the floor and form the shapes of the actors who have played Bond.
James Bond will return.