Hmmmm.... Mixed thoughts on this. Some really nice changes, but also some unfortunate ones.
Adele's theme is great. One of the best bond themes in my opinion - I don't understand why this was changed. This is obviously a preferential thing though and the replacement was well integrated.
Product placement - gone. As is the CGI comodo dragon, the overblown car chase at the start, the cringy shave scene, and various bits and pieces of poor dialogue. The fight on the ice is fairly silly, but still fun. Cutting it out makes the Silva's death seem ever so slightly anticlimactic (no classic final one on one fight), but it isn't essential and for the most part wasn't missed.
Now, about Silva - I don't have a problem with him. I don't think his performance is over the top. He's just an eccentric, unhinged character, and this is a bond movie... The bad guys should be larger than life. Cutting his introduction and performance was not only jarring and noticeable (I watched this with 2 others who were definitely taken out of the experience by it), but it robs him of necessary character development and devalues his character. Similarly with the train crash dialogue - this shouldn't have been shaved down.
These 2 simple changes are what makes it hard for me to decide whether or not I would recommend this edit. If someone has never seen the original, I probably wouldn't, but it's definitely worth a watch for those who would like to see many of the other cringy elements removed.
Video/audio - excellent. No complaints there.
Visual editing - very good, apart from what was mentioned.
Audio editing - nothing noticeable. Soundtrack changes seemed to fit.
Narrative - suffers a lot in my opinion, due to the bad guy trims. There's a lack of weight to his motives and cutting his introduction makes him very unmemorable.
Enjoyment - 8. I like this film. This may be my go to version, I'm not sure. I'd have to watch the original again. More than likely I will have to do my own edit at somepoint as this did not leave me satisfied.
Skyfall was a mixed bag. Most of it is wonderful (and a great improvement over the utter mess that was QoS) but some bits leave you wondering how on earth they ever made it to the theatrical release.
Overall this is a very good edit - and much better than my attempt at seeing what I could do - but is perhaps too severe in some places and not severe enough in others. Although the music changes are generally a definite improvement, I liked the original title tune more than the replacement here. I even miss a couple of the one-liners that have been cut, like the wing-mirrors one. I'm also uncertain about losing most of the villain's introduction, partly because the pair's willy-waving about who's the hardest does lead onto the (also cut) line about the waste of whisky.
Most importantly, we're still asked to believe that the villain's great plan is to be captured by MI6, knowing that - somehow - Q will be stupid enough to allow the captured laptop access to the MI6 network so that every door in the new HQ will open. One basic bit of computer security or one ordinary lock on a cell, and the film's nearly an hour shorter...
Back to the good stuff, losing the product placement is very welcome and the final fight makes as much sense as it's ever going to. The commentary is worth listening to as well.
I could write an essay on the multitudinous reasons why I think 'Skyfall' is one of the worst Bond movies ever made. But I'll try to just confine myself to the things that LastSurvivor improved and the things he could have maybe fixed. You might be asking, why would I download an edit of a film I hate? It's a fair comment but LastSurvivor is great faneditor, so I wanted to see what 'Skyfallen' was all about.
First off the "Could have been improved" section...
The cinematography is absolutely hideous, so it would have been nice if LS had attempted to correct that a bit. However, I suspect that the colours have been pushed so far into the realms of insanity that they can't be brought back to reality. Oh look the silver Aston Martin is neon-blue, oh look that grass is neon-blue, oh look that guy's skin is neon-blue etc etc. As a Director, I can't stand Sam Mendes but at least his previous films usually have "They look nice" going for them.
Not a single element of the plot makes any sense and the attention to detail is totally absent. Just one example: When Bond is given his father's "old hunting Rifle"... it's not a rifle, it's a bloody shotgun! There are a few points where extra trims could have been made but to be fair, the only way to fix everything, would be to erase the film from existence.
Now the things that are improved...
The insane levels of 'immersion-destroying' product-placement have been toned down a lot. So the worst offenders like the VWs shout-out and Bond drinking a Heineken are gone. But Tanner can still be seen drinking a Heineken... while at work... just after his boss has been nearly asssasinated... because we'd all do that!
Adele's drab rhyming-dictionary title-song is gone and replaced by an inspired new piece. I was a few seconds into the start before I'd even realised it had been changed. Fantastic seemless work. The added/changed music throughout is genius and the joins are invisible. The music work is probably the best thing about the edit.
The cuts for pacing are also invisible but the improved feel of the film is obvious. Most of the 25 minutes that are removed will not be missed by anybody. Mendes making the longest-ever Bond movie out of such an action-free script was self-indulgence at it's worst. Thanks to LS, that is reigned in a lot.
Many of the key misjudged elements are removed, toned down or improved in some way. The uneasy "rapey" yacht scene is largely fixed, the CGI Komodo Dragons are gone (Shame the CGI Scorpion is still there though) and Bond being an a**hole after Severine is shot. The use of the gunbarrel opening is of course absolutely brilliant!
Lastly a few of things that didn't work for me...
The blur-crossfade into the first shot of Silva didn't look right. Since the audio carries accross the transition anyway, a hard cut would have looked so much more professional IMO. I felt too much of Silva was cut so his character lacked the impact that he is clearly supposed to have. Bardem's OTT camp performance was a rare highlight for me in the original film. The heavily zoomed shot of Bond just after Severine's death was a bit jarring (LS doesn't say if this edit was based on the Blu-Ray or DVD), I'd have thought that a zoomed HD shot would have cut quite well with the SD DVD presentaion. However the thing that got removed by this zoomed shot had to go, so it's easily forgiven.
In conclusion, if you love this film, this edit will be your go-to version. But also, if like me, you hate it, then it'll still be your go-to version. Because when I'm in the mood for a Bond-athon, at least I won't have to sit through the original cut ever again. I can pop in LastSurvivor's zippy upgrade.
Skyfall can be best described in the actual movie, "A Rubix Cube That Keeps Fighting Back", it presents a great deal of editing challenges to smooth over and perfect certain over-excesses in narrative and set-piece structure, and here Lastsurvivor does his best to present a leaner, more efficient production. His choice of song for the opening credits has been an ear-worm for me since I first saw his samples and Bond avoiding an encounter with hulking henchmen and terrible CGI dragons is most welcome and he makes his appointment without much fuss, a little bit of a grounded moment in Bond never hurts.
There are some areas I felt could have needed more work, Silva's first scene is transitioned into awkwardly with a slight blur in imagery, and there are slight audio dips when Bond is contemplating shooting at Severene, and again before the helicopters arrive to assist Bond. However, I loved his little touch with Bond now feeling slightly moved. This is a character we saw go through two movies of morning someone he got intimate with, so caring more about scotch is out-of-character for this take on Bond.
Aside from that, everything else worked well, and I like Silva taking the initiative and blowing the tunnel without that cartoonish goading. Guy has a job to do, faux pleasantries should not be a pastime.
Catchy tune, slimmer package, Skyfall is one of my faves because it represents a creative challenge, and Lastsurvivor is one of our top challengers