Bond's still licensed to thrill . . .

HAPPY 50th birthday Mr Bond and what a celebration it is shaping up to be.

With the imminent arrival of the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, released perfectly to coincide with the character’s 50th anniversary on screen, here is a sneak peek at the 23rd film in the series which started way back in 1962 with Dr No.

Skyfall sees Daniel Craig return for the third time as the British spy and he is backed up by 007 regular Dame Judi Dench as his boss M and the return of gadget master Q, this time played by Ben Whishaw.

He is also joined by the star of No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem as the movie’s big bad guy with the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Naomie Harris also filling out the star studded cast.

The film is directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes and the famous title song is by Adele.

The plot of the film sees a hard-drive which lists all NATO operatives undercover in terrorist organisations stolen, and used to make M — the head of British Intelligence — look bad.

Though not in peak condition after a near-death experience, secret agent James Bond sets out to recover the drive, which leads him to mystery man Silva (Bardem), who has a revenge scheme in mind.

Despite not being on general release until next week, the film has already been critically lauded and is expected to be a box office smash.

After the poor Quantum of Solace, hampered by a poor script as a result of the writers’ strike in the US, and financial problems for MGM, the studio that makes Bond, it seems as if Bond is now back on track and the latest film may even top the five-star Casino Royale which saw Craig debut as 007 in magnificent fashion.

With locations spanning across the globe, a thrilling sequence set in the London underground and a gutwrenching climax, it seems that Skyfall will be a fitting present to celebrate the suave spy’s 50 years on the big screen.

With Craig signed up for at least two more Bonds, it seems that we have yet to see the end of the Aston Martin-driving, Walter PPK-wielding, ladies’ man and what a good thing that is.

Pardon the cliche but I am sure that the film will leave everyone shaken not stirred and see a big long line forming to wish Mr Bond a very happy birthday.

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