It’s one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities on the planet; the link between east and west; and was the cultural, political and economic centre of the world for a very long time. It’s also the opening location for the newest James Bond film to hit Australian cinemas next Thursday.
Istanbul. Even if you’re not a fan of the 007 genre, it’s worth checking out Skyfall for the scenery in and around the Turkish capital, as well as in rural England.
After 50 years of James Bond, and the 23rd movie in the series, Skyfall has taken overseas box offices by storm and is lauded by many as one of the best – if not the best – yet.
But it is different. James Bond, as portrayed by Daniel Craig, is much more of a 21st century man than could ever have been imagined when the first and iconic screen Bond, Sean Connery, debuted in Dr No in 1963.
There is the classic touch from the most popular James Bond films but there is also more complexity to the characters, their relationships and their dialogues.
Today’s Bond talks of his parents, his childhood home, his age and how technology is impacting the life of a modern spy: not only is it safer to send out spy satellites and drones than a real person, but it’s also probably more cost-effective in the long run. And more shocking to those who have seen James as the epitome of fit, healthy, unassailable masculinity and irresistibly attractive to all women, the latest Bond beauty refers to him as an “old dog” whose fitness for duty is questioned.
Shock! Horror! After 50 years, maybe even James Bond ages and is, in the words of Tennyson, “not now that strength which in the old days moved earth and heaven.”
Daniel Craig plays the new age Bond adroitly. Javier Bardem is brilliant as the baddie, Silva. And the rest of the cast, led by Dame Judi Dench, deliver typically strong and polished performances.
It was Craig who wanted Bardem to star alongside him in this 50th anniversary edition. He admits to having “stalked” Bardem to appear in the film.
"I'm one of Javier's biggest fans," Craig said.
"I'm a bit of a stalker in fact, because I actually did stalk him to get him for this part - I went to a party he was at so I could ask him to do it, and he said 'yes'."
Bardem was quick to accept and eager to work with Craig and Oscar winning director, Sam Mendes, who was also suggested by close friend, Craig.
"My generation and lots of others grew up with James Bond, and it was a luxury and an honour to be invited to be in the film celebrating its 50th anniversary,” said Bardem.
With box office sales tipped to reach $1 billion worldwide by Rolling Stone magazine and others, Skyfall will be in cinemas for a while. Adele sings the title track which Craig says moved him to tears when he heard it the first time.
It opens throughout Australia on 22nd November.