Skyfall

On Saturday Radka and I went to see  Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. I enjoyed it. Daniel Craig’s 007 was physically convincing and seems to me to be closer to Ian Fleming’s original concept of “a blunt instrument employed by a government department” than any previous Bond (even Connery’s, who was just too charming), the locations were stunning, the ladies were beautiful, the stunts astonishing. In short it was pretty much all I could want or expect from a Bond movie.

Javier Bardem’s villain, Silva, was both camp and frightening, a combination that is difficult to pull off but which he managed very handily. He suffered a little too much from the modern movie supervillain’s omniscience for my liking– being able to predict what would happen at one point right down to placing explosives to derail a tube-train to forestall Bond’s pursuit as he escaped through subterranean London. This is the only real criticism that occurred to me at the time and, let’s face it, a Bond review is probably the wrong place to quibble about a lack of realism. 

The set-pieces were jaw-dropping, particularly an assassination attempt on top of a skyscraper in Shanghai that took place to the flicker of gigantic neon signs– very cyberpunk. The climax, set in a cold and chilling-looking Scottish Highlands, worked very well. I found the ending quite moving and got a certain nostalgic thrill out of the reappearance of the Aston Martin I remembered having as a Dinky toy when I was a kid. (It may just be my memory playing tricks  but I would swear it was a different colour though.) 

This was very much a changing of the guard movie– I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers– and it was about as thoughtful as a Bond movie is ever going to get on the subject of mortality, heroism and the ruthlessness needed for command. A couple of new versions of old characters are introduced and it looks like the reboot begun in Casino Royale is well and truly done now. If you like Bond movies you’ve probably already seen it but I just thought I would add my voice to the general chorus of approbation.

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Comments

  1. I felt exactly the same way. Apart from the plot hole you mention, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The opening scene over the rooftops was absolutely stunning too.

    • Yep– the motor-bike chase over the roofs of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul was great. Forgot to mention I’ve actually been to a couple of the locations– the aforementioned Grand Bazaar and the glen where Bond and M stop on the way North. I would like to hit Shanghai and Macau some day as well, hopefully avoiding falling into a pit full of Komodo dragons.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed it. There was an incident of staggering character dumbness (wandering around flashing a torch when evading pursuit on a coal cellar at midnight, especially when you’ve been the gamekeeper in said coal cellar for decades, and would know your way round it backwards in the dark, and why, exactly, are you the only person on the moor who NEEDS a torch and etc. etc.). There were also two moments which I thought were bad characterisation, but are actually staggeringly good characterisation. I’ll hit return a few times as a SPOILER WARNING……
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    I was surprised when Bond chooses not to intervene (twice) to attempt to save someone from being shot. Not very heroic, I thought, moan moan moan… And then realised that, quite literally, Bond is not being paid to save anyone, unless it helps his mission. He SHOULD be as cold as that, showing no interest in anything that doesn’t further his mission. Cold, yes, not star-like behaviour, but spot-on characterisation.

    • Now that you come to mention it, the flashlight incident was a bit naff, with an air of being done because the plot demanded it. That said, at that point I was not too bothered. It was pretty obvious where the story was going.

  3. It seems people all seem to agree it was good, but then pick out different plot holes.

    The one that bothered me the most was the code decryption not being done on a separate system, unconnected to the main one. Seems like obvious standard procedure?

    • Agreed, Gavin. I am not the world’s greatest computer security expert, as Q was supposed to be, but I would not have attached Silva’s laptop to the MI6 network in order to decrypt it, particularly given Silva’s proven MO. Then again, the plot would have hit a brick-wall if he did not :).

      • There was a lot of that – which I was prepared to put up with because I was enjoying the ride. Funny that the biggest pills to swallow – the torches for me, the omnipotence of the bad guy for Bill, and the computer hygiene for Gavin, were different for each of us.

  4. i think alot of criticism craig got from fans when he first did james bond…,.. was that he was blond haired and blue eyed, and james bond is historically black hair fella…. i think that was actually the main criticism

  5. I was hoping the flashlight scene was a diversion like it was attached to an animal then i realised no they were that dumb to use a flashlight when a illuminating fire from the manor was clearly bright enough to get to the church

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