Bond reflections and 3.67 reviews of Skyfall - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
10Nov/120

Bond reflections and 3.67 reviews of Skyfall

Favorite Bond - Pierce Brosnan

Favorite Bond Film - GoldenEye for the “realistic” films, Live and Let Die and You Only Live Twice tied for the “fantasy” films.

Thoughts on the previous Daniel Craig Bond Films - While neither were as memorable as previous entries int he series, I liked how they attempted to make Bond more “realistic”; taking away his Q-toys, giving him less gimmicky villains to fight, etc. I also like how they turned Bond into less of a suave ladies man and more into a psychotic killer.Skyfall is a film at war with itself. On one hand, it's your stock Bond formula: Mysterious villain is threatening the world, Bond has to rise to the challenge, sex and violence ensue. But unlike other Bond entries, the film seems far less concerned with saving the world from terrorism and more with delving into the complex relationship between James Bond and M, as well as the haunted pasts that simultaneously drive and destroy them.

The (largely) unspoken struggles of these two is ultimately what really drives the film. Skyfall does a fantastic job of developing the backgrounds of both M and Bond without devolving into tedious dumps of exposition, or ever feeling like some campy “lost origin story.” It makes both Bond and M seem like real, living people, not just caricatures.

The cinematography is gorgeous, and there's a real emphasis on isolation and loneliness that is depicted in both the desolation of the locals as well as the deliberate, almost melancholy movement of the camera itself.

It isn't even the 2 ½ hour running time that necessarily drags the film's tempo down, nor is it the lingering shots of Bond or M silently stewing in their private torment. Shockingly, it's the action sequences. For all their pyrotechnic bluster, the action sequences in Skyfall don't feel genuine. They feel more like a scrap thrown to the audience that demands something explode, or see Bond get laid, every twenty minutes: They are terse little exchanges that seem to go through the motions as quickly as possible in order to get back to the meat of the story. The sole exception for this is the climax, which feels far more personal than Bond's ultimate encounters with villains of the past.

Overall, I enjoyed it, although I think I would have enjoyed it even more without the “traditional” Bond trappings.

Favorite Bond - Roger Moore

Favorite Bond Film - Goldfinger

Thoughts on the previous Daniel Craig Bond Films - I've seen them. I barely remember them, but I've seen them. Probably.
Yeah, it's another Daniel Craig Bond movie. Despite the heavy themes this go around (Terrorism! The end of empire again/anew!), thankfully those behind the scenes have deemed this one to have a bit of a sense of humor.

Director Sam Mendes has assembled a first class crew and essentially made one of the more daring takes on the franchise in its 50 year history. That being said, all of the clichés remain: when Bond is smirking and we see a martini being shaken, it's there to poke at our collective memory. James Bond is James Bond, and it doesn't matter if he was an orphan or Little Orphan Annie, we pretty much know everything we're going to know about him.

So when the last half of the movie is set in his ancestral home in the Scottish highlands, it gets skittish. Bond's attachment to M and her grim realization that setting up mommy issues in most of the 00 agent core may be a bad idea in retrospect are played for the long haul, and, despite the excellent performances, still a little yawn inducing.

The film is nowhere near as interesting as when the villain, Silva, is on screen, a complete mess of a man and the pseudo-son that M had abandoned in the charge of her duties. Javier Bardem can chew the scenery like few others.

But it's still a barrel of clichés, and it's too sluggish. At this point, we're pretty much done with the 'Bond Begins' Daniel Craig universe, but at the very least this is the best of the lot.
Favorite Bond- The one and only Sean Connery

Favorite Bond Film- From Russia With Love

Thoughts on the previous Daniel Craig Bond Films- I thought Casino Royale came at the right time to shake up the formula of Bond films. Daniel Craig made an interesting, bruiser of a Bond and I even enjoyed Quantum of Solace not so much as a separate movie but as an epilogue of Royale.
Maybe it has been the weeks of build-up with everyone saying BEST. BOND. EVER. but the movie left me under whelmed. What the movie does well (cast, direction and the gorgeous way it was shot) it does really well. The problem comes in during the many lulls of this film. It takes forever to introduce the very interesting villain and then saddles him with the least interesting evil plot ever.

Most frustrating of all the movie comes alive every once in a while with the humor and charm you expect from the series, especially with Silva’s “interrogation” of Bond, but then becomes super serious again with Judi Dench or Daniel Craig looking over the horizon and thinking of past days.

The ways they add the Bond tropes in but in a different light were interesting but also felt a bit too much like the writers were taking whole pages out of the Nolan Batman playbook. I enjoyed the fact Judi Dench played the main Bond girl and was given things to do the realistic way the villain owned a island made me chuckled but the main problems is we have now had three movies were the end promises the next one will get back to basics and they keep lying. I don’t need laser powered moon weapons or jetpacks but I would like the charm of Bond back. These movies have been described as “Bourne Bond” and “Batman Bond”, all I want is good old Bond.

Favorite Bond- Pierce Brosnan

Favorite Bond Film- The World is Not Enough

Thoughts on the previous Daniel Craig Bond Films- I was smitten with Craig's Bond the first time I watched Casino Royale, but when I revisit the film it's determination to be a realistic-as-possible Bond film drags it down a bit.  Royale is still a good film, the same thing can't be said of the mess that is Quantum of Solace.  I understand the way it bookends the opening film but the necessity of a whole film as an epilogue is a bit much.  Craig himself has proven capable, if not very memorable, in the role.

Unfortunately I can't give a full qualified review as tragedy struck during my screening of Skyfall.  Just as Bond reached the bottom of a particularly slippery escalator chase and his feet hit the ground the power system of central Ohio, run entirely by easily tired gerbils and string, went out.

Que sera sera.  But what I did get to see of Skyfall was the best Bond film of the Craig era and a strong representation on why Bond films are so emblemetic of the era they were produced in.  Earlier this year we had Tom Hardy's Bane in The Dark Knight Rises as what I imagined a male homosexual Bond villain would be like.  Now Javier Bardem shows up in full theatrical flair licking what's left of his teeth and lips while lasciviously rubbing against Bond's legs.

For the old image of Bond as the consummate ladies man and killer, it was a lot of fun to see the tables turned in a more progressive direction, and echoed Sophie Marceau's torture of Brosnan years ago (though with a Bond as game as we should have suspected).  The rest of the film deals so much more directly with the issues of our time - terrorism, cybersecurity, societies entrenched in endless wars - in the other plot points that I missed the nuance of those scenes of this Bond trying to figure out how he can live in a society changing without him.

Ultimately I think my opinion will be more aligned with Jacob's.  The action scenes were gorgeous and, in the case of a silent tower chase, positively elegant.  Craig still hasn't made too much of an impression on me as Bond since he is just a man at service to his ruthless id, but that fits in more with the tableaux of this generation of Bond films than as stand-alone stories.  I very much look forward to finishing the film but I must admit I am a bit perplexed how it could end up in Scotland - but at least there will be one surprise in store.

Posted by Andrew

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