Thursday, 1 November 2012

SKYFALL - HAS THE SKY FINALLY FALLEN IN ON BOND?

 
 
"The best BOND yet!", claim some reviews of 007's latest blockbuster
 biggie. Is it? Well, to be honest - no, it isn't - not by a long chalk. It is
entertaining however, and well worth seeing, but the plot is rather flimsy
and Bond comes across as somewhat inept, failing to prevent the deaths
of two people who were relying on him for protection.
 
 
The movie revolves around a tale of revenge; of one man's quest to
exact retribution upon the person he believes abandoned him to a fate he
somehow miraculously survived. In that sense, the premise is hardly epic
in scale, but Bond plots have never been anything more than a convenient
peg on which to hang some spectacular scenes, and in that respect the
movie does not completely disappoint. The views of Shanghai are
simply stunning and almost worth the price of admission alone.
 
 
The pace does drag in spots 'though, and the finale on the Scottish
moors seems out of place. When the source of the movie's title is finally
revealed, the viewer's reaction can be nothing more than an incredulous
"Is that it?" Also, Bond's plan to use a certain VIP as bait to lure the villain
into his clutches is simply ridiculous. By isolating the person from adequate
security and relying only on himself to deal with the team of killers he had
expected to pursue them, his judgement is seriously open to question. As
such, the conclusion is inevitable, and 007 deserves to be forcibly retired
for his sheer inadequacy in the art of strategic planning.
 
 
DANIEL CRAIG is fine when it comes to portraying Bond as a nigh-
unstoppable juggernaut of destruction - his 007 can certainly handle
himself in a fight. When SEAN CONNERY made his debut in DR NO
back in 1962, some critics dismissed him as nothing more than "a thug in
a dinner-suit". Craig fits this description even more than Connery did,
but where he is less adept is in capturing the qualities of elegance and
sophistication that Bond is also supposed to possess. In that sense,
his Bond comes across as a much more one-dimensional character
than that of any previous actor before him. 
 
 
However, the movie's main defects spring from Bond's 'reboot' in
CASINO ROYALE - a totally pointless exercise which resulted in more
problems than it could ever hope to resolve (whatever they were meant
to be). The biggest mistake with that movie was in not replacing JUDI
DENCH at the same time Craig assumed the role of 007. Had that been
done, the many paradoxes which now abound simply wouldn't exist.
Dench's M was firmly rooted in previous Bond continuity with PIERCE
BROSNAN's four movies, even referring to her "predecessor" in one of
them. The 'new' direction now means that she couldn't have been M
when Bond was a more seasoned assassin than he is now.
 
 
Another mistake was placing Bond at the point in time he had just
joined the double-0 section. If that aspect of Casino Royale were to be
removed, it would make no noticable difference to the movie as a whole.
All the producers had to do was introduce new actors in the roles of Bond,
M, Q and Moneypenny at the same time. As it is, Skyfall's nod to previous
Bond continuity in regard to the ASTON MARTIN is perplexing. Clearly
Bond is referencing GOLDFINGER, but didn't he just win the DB5 (with
Jamaican number plates) in a card game in Casino Royale? It just makes
no sense, and results in the same state of confusion that DC COMICS
perpetually inflicts upon their readers whenever they revise the origins
of their heroes every few years.
 
 
It's interesting to note that, had CUBBY BROCCOLI still been around,
Craig would never have been given the role. Cubby had a thing about an
actor embodying the physical aspects of the character; Bond had to be over
six foot and Craig is only about five-ten. Apparently, LEWIS COLLINS
was passed over for the part in the 1980s because he didn't 'measure up' in
the height department, so it seems Barbara Broccoli has abandoned her
late father's standards in regard to casting. Cubby even once lamented
Connery's baldness, saying: "It's a shame Sean lost his hair", but that
at least was something the make-up department could remedy.
 
 
So - Skyfall - hit or miss? Hit, but far from being the definitive Bond
it's being touted as. We can only hope that, with the introductions now
out of the way, when 007 returns in his next cinematic outing, it'll be the
ruthless, witty, elegant and sophisticated Bond we've come to expect from
the older movies; not the morose, surly, and - it has to be said - totally
incompetent (but lucky) rookie we've seen in the last three.
 
 
Agree or disagree? You have a licence to comment - use it.

11 comments:

Dougie said...

I saw it on Sunday afternoon and I was hooked by the visuals, from the titles onward.
With regard to "DC continuity", being of a fannish mind, I decided the Aston Martin was Bond's father's car. But I agree that this guy can't be a "Cold War dinosaur" although Ralph Fiennes solves that problem in the end.
Acting-wise, fruity Bardem reminded me of Cesar Romero's Joker. I have never cared for Daniel Craig, who is wooden and looks like a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I am in a minority here: especially when my mum, now 80, demurred: "He's really not ugly!"

Kid said...

I must admit that, for the most part, it WAS visually stunning - up until the end in Bond's ancestral home. Then it looked more like something out of Dr Finlay's Casebook. I also found it amusing that quite a few characters seemed to display a tendency to stand with their feet four foot apart. Who did the storyboards - Jack Kirby?

Love SMS said...

We saw it with loads of hope. The 1st 50 minutes is pure Bond; but after tht the movie sags...Sam Mendes v cleverly posted that "Train top fight shot clip" 2 months ago vetting the appetite of millions (and so million saw it and are watchingit - making millions for this movie); BUt really plainly speaking - The last 1 hour (In Skyfall Villa) are one of the most predictable ./ rather boring screenplays sequences. Dont get me wrong; DC as Bond is great / charming, but the movie is a Ripoff - we felt cheated, all of us infact who had gone..But one thing its much much better than QOS,

moonmando said...

I like the realism DC brings to the part in the respect that when he bleeds he bleeds and when he battles it out in his fight scenes,he really does look like he is not only dishing it out but can also take a pounding as well.He`s more of a bruiser than previous Bonds.
That being said,i felt that the level of realism was taken too far in Skyfall by allowing our hero to go way too long without a shave,and also developing an unhealthy addiction to the hard stuff,thus seriously affecting his abilities as a super agent.
I expect Bond to maintain his suave sophistication even when he`s facing adversity.That to me is what makes Bond,Bond.
In future therefore,could the producers please allow Bond to have his shave,shower and a shit before he goes before the lens.

Kid said...

Shave, sh*t, shower and sh*g even. Then maybe he'll lighten up a bit.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Saw this on Tuesday (and I'm glad I didn't read your review before then!) and really, really enjoyed it.

Of course it isn't the best Bond ever (that'd be Live & Let Die or License to Kill), but it's the best of the Daniel Craig ones, definitely.

Your argument against Judi Dench as M... When Casino Royale was out and I saw Judi was still in it, I assumed that "James Bond" was a code name given to every agent who takes up the 007 title - suggesting that Pierce Brosnan was either dead or retired. With that in mind, I was half-expecting Brosnan to appear as the disgruntled former agent as the enemy in this film!

Kid said...

Best Bond films ever (in order of release) - From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Live & Let Die.

Licence To Kill? Piece of pish - Dalton just didn't cut it as Bond. Best thing about it was the screen time given to Desmond Llewelyn as Q. Craig's best film is still Casino Royale. In my humble opinion of course.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Live & Let Die - I love it for the crocodiles and the witch doctor.

License to Kill - I love it for the sharks, the truck chase, Bond feeding a henchman to a drawer full of maggots, and Bond killing someone with a lighter.

It's all about "those moments" with Bond films and those bits from License To Kill have stuck with me since I was... 8 years old?

Kid said...

I'd been watching Bond films for about 27 years by the time Licence to Kill came out. Apart from Dalton having no charisma and looking as if he couldn't fight sleep, there was nothing in it that hadn't already been done (in one form or another) in earlier Bond (and other) movies. Live & Let Die is a cracker 'though.

Anonymous said...

Bond's failure to prevent the deaths of people who depended on him is a convention of the movie series, and has some precedent in the books. (Jill and Tilly Masterton, Tracy, Vesper). I suppose you could make a case that 007 is a spy, not a bodyguard.

Kid said...

However, in the instances you mention, events sort of sneaked up on Bond, who was unprepared and not expecting trouble. (Whether he should have been is, of course, another discussion.)

With M, however, that wasn't the case and he was acting in the role of bodyguard in that instance. She was killed because of his incompetence. When he was captured and taken to the villain's lair, he had almost an army on call, yet he couldn't arrange that in M's case? Sheer ineptitude.