November 19, 2012


Skyfall - aka James Bond 23...

I'm gonna have some massive spoilers, but I'll put them after the jump because this is one that needs to be seen fresh. The short answer is that Skyfall is outstanding. It's a spectacular, wonderful capstone to the first fifty years of Bond films, referencing dozens of old Bond tropes without using them in slavish copying, returning James Bond to his roots and setting up another couple of Daniel-Craig-Bond films with the actor, the filmmakers, the writers all at the absolute top of their games.

I don't know that it's the equal of Casino Royale, but it's close. That movie stunned because it was so different from its predecessors, so new, so rough. This movie is more familiar with Daniel Craig owning the part thoroughly and completely at this point, the writers acknowledging Bond's past and role as cold war relic, and the director feeling free to explore the important relationships in Bond's life - family in the past, M in the present, and Queen and Country forever.

This one is an absolute must-see for any Bond fan, shrinking the possible audience more so than did Casino Royale which is still an outstanding film that just happens to be about James Bond. This film is a great Bond film, both a send off to Bond's past and a reassertion of his place in the present - and future. Casino Royale was a great film that happened to be a Bond film.

If you wanna see all my other thoughts, check it after the jump...

Various thoughts in the order that they pop into my blogging brain...

  • The fight scene you see above was gorgeously set up and designed with a glass-walled set reflecting the LED jellyfish and the lights of Shanghai around the silhouetted combatants.
  • The whole movie is gorgeously shot - the above scene, the floating entrance to the casino, the burning mansion across the moor. 
  • The reveal of the Aston Martin lead to applause in the theater. Hell, I was one of the people applauding.
  • There were a dozen times during the movie when something happened - Ralph Fiennes saving M at the hearing, Fiennes being revealed as the new M, Javier Bardem's glass cage, the floating casino - that felt perfect and right and that I've apparently been missing in my James Bond movies. Who knew?
  • Damn, the thing is just a perfect Bond movie from start to finish. The villain is outstanding and in the perfect Bond style, from the accent to the fashionable suits, the overly elaborate plan and the connection to Bond's past.
  • I loved seeing Bond's return to his roots, the destruction of the family manse, the scene overlooking Glencoe. Even more important, however, was his utter and total destruction of those roots. Bond is a man without a past, a man who lives in the hear and now. The idea, by the way, of casting Connery in the Albert Finney role, by the way, is spectacular to hear about but a great idea not to have done for exactly the reason that the director brings up here.
  • Javier Bardem was spectacular. His past, his cyanide-ravaged face, his smooveness, his easy sexuality with Bond, the music announcing his helicopter entrance...all were spot-on perfect.
  • My only beef with the movie was the ridiculously well- and advanced plotted plan from Bardem's villain. The idea that he knew exactly where they were going to hold him, exactly when every train would swing by the underground stations, when the fake police cans would have to arrive to pick him up, when his henchmen should pass off the policeman's uniform.
  • If this is Judi Dench's final screen role, then it's a great one for her. Her M gets to spend time in the field and explore her fondness for Bond as her perfect agent before she takes her final bow in the series.
  • The film is reminiscent of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly in that Skyfall has notes of being a prequel, taking the James Bond that has developed over the past two films - Casino Royale being a first adventure with our new Bond - clearing the old and picking up his iconic tools - the Aston Martin, the Walther PPK, the male M, a new Quartermaster (Q). By the end of the film, Bond is ready to go.
  • I wonder how much movie time has passed between the beginning of this Bond's career - just two movies ago - and this film in which numerous characters refer to Bond as being of the old guard.
Seriously, go see this film in the theater.


thort said...

jennette and I just saw it today. I would agree, an excellent movie and a must see for all Bond fans. Our theater, too, clapped when the Aston Martin was introduced. Judi Dench did very well for someone is who legally blind, I was watching for camera angles and shots that would try to hide that fact, and I cannot recall seeing one.

PHSChemGuy said...

Dench is a pro.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the flick. I keep pushing my dad - a big Bond fan and the guy who got me into the series - to go see it in the theater.