Released just in time for the franchise’s 50th Anniversary in 2012, Skyfall is quite simply a perfect Bond film. Under the directorship of the sublime Sam Mendes, it’s a film with everything that makes for a good 007 adventure – jaw dropping action set-pieces, high personal stakes, inventive plotting, a memorable villain and a sense of style and confidence that would put the swaggering figure of James Bond himself to shame. Now, as part of the Bond 60th celebrations, EON and the Royal Albert Hall have collaborated to bring this anniversary bonanza to the big screen once again, only this time with the accompaniment of a full live orchestra.
Initially, one might wonder how well Thomas Newman‘s score would translate to the live concert experience. After all, it is fair to say that the score for Skyfall is a tad more restrained than other bombastic Bond scores of films past. Yes, the classic theme arrangement and the big adrenalised pieces are in there, but the score goes for a subtler 60s spy thriller approach for the most part, with quieter foreboding moments and long moments of build, that on initial listen may not seem as suited to the concert format as other Bond stalwarts John Barry or David Arnold‘s scores so often do. More stirred than shaken, if you catch our drift!
Suffice to say though, Skyfall in Concert proves to be the best way to fully appreciate and bask in Newman’s sumptuous, layered score. Performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in sync to the picture, the score comes to life even more so than in cinemas or on television, and as a result the experience of watching the film is elevated to dizzying new heights. The score’s more brooding moments come to the fore in ways they quite simply don’t in a normal viewing situation, whilst the more swooping and exotic pieces in Newman’s music are given even greater emphasis than the normal viewing experience allows. The epic pre-credits sequence is a perfect example of this, with its building sense of danger and loud, bombastic Bond theme flourishes permeating through the many punches, crashes and impacts of the action onscreen, whilst the closing climactic scenes featuring M (Judi Dench) and Bond (Daniel Craig) are all the more moving and powerful as the live music washes over the audience.
Introduced on the night by none other than Sam Mendes himself, who shared his experience of making the film with Thomas Newman, Daniel Craig and the cast & crew, Bond fans were well and truly catered for at this excellent celebratory event. Much like it did when it first premiered ten years ago, Skyfall thrills and entertains in the tradition of all the best Bond movies, and with the added bonus of a live score accompaniment it did so more than ever. Should EON and the Royal Albert Hall see fit to offer further concert screenings of the film in the near future, it’s certainly a must for any 007 fanatic!