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Published November 24th 2012
Did the sky fall for you?
The sky didn't fall for me and I had as much expectations as Chicken Little that it would when James Bond hit the X-treme screen. Ever since Casino Royale (CR), I've had great expectations from Craig's Bond but he never rose to meet them in the latter outings.
The plot revolves around M's ageing and consequent inability to cope with the strident requirements of modern espionage armed with dated instruments such as James Bond. She has screwed up big time by allowing sensitive information regarding identities of secret agents in volatile situations to get hacked with dire consequences. The mastermind is an ex-agent with a very blunt axe to grind.
Now Bond, presumed dead, terribly unfit with a bum wing to boot, has to retrieve the list of agents, protect M, and have sex with random women. Bond goes about each of these, except perhaps the last, in a more or less clumsy manner. I refuse to take out my disappointment on you and so will stick to a few aspects that I found most annoying even though I may have a rant the size of a tornado building up.
Bond goes on a roof top race and rampage dressed to the T in a well-fitted silk suit complete with a tie flapping about as has been the wont in Bond history down the years. Though I never had an issue with this before, I now find that it borders on the ridiculous. He looks like a runaway store mannequin who suddenly sprang to life and dashes mindlessly amok among the local crowd in Turkey.
I much prefer his avatar in CR, where he's dressed the part in casual printed shirt or worn out jumpers as a man of action is more likely to be. In Skyfall he is more or less dolled up and placed strategically on screen alongside products like the sunglasses and watch he endorses with no regard to context. Our Loss: In place of a down-to-earth brawny action guy we're given a dolled up fruitcake.
Disappointment 2 The build-up to the climactic bit has Bond lay tricks and traps all over his family home to catch the bad guy much like Macaulay Culkin did ages ago in Home Alone. Of course the mansion is in the middle of nowhere and a 4 year old will tell you the bad guy can just come and drop a bomb on it, end of story, Bond, and M. But no, the bad guy isn't smarter than a fifth grader either and just walks around the building tossing in explosives through windows. Our Loss: No adrenaline pumping action, just tossing stuff at each other and a whole lot of mindless pumping of bullets every which way but at the targets.
Disappointment 3 There is a constant reference to Bond's lack of technological skills. He is definitely labelled old school along with M. So it kinda makes him look like a moron when the bad guy who is his contemporary happily hacks into computers and can pretty much ignite bombs and rig elections anywhere in the world with his keyboard. Our Loss: An unintelligent storyline with plenty of loopholes and carelessness.
Disappointment 4 The role of Bond girl has gone from the sublime in CR to the ridiculous in Skyfall. She is there for three scenes—the introductory scene, the sex scene, and of course where she's tied up and shot dead like a dumb animal. It's so hard to believe that this is the universally coveted role for women. Our Loss: No intelligent life form present in the form of a woman.
Disappointment 5 Don't quite know if I imagined it, but Craig's dialogue delivery was stilted, forced even, almost like someone regaining speech after a stroke. Even the witty lines, what little there was, didn't come easy and roll unselfconsciously off the tongue. The same could be said for the background score that sounded like a school band hard at practice. Our Loss: Most certainly not a feast for any of the senses.
Disappointment 6 They crush Beetles as part of executing a speed chase, not the insects but the cute VW cars. I don't know if this affected anybody else but for me it's akin to hurting puppies. As part of a stunt or spectacular action sequence, they should be asked to produce a certificate that states no VW Beetles were hurt in the making of it. Our Loss: What was the point? How does it enhance spectator experience?
In short, Skyfall doesn't come together into a neat package like CR but neither is it a total pain like Quantum of Solace was; it just doesn't impress, in any way. Martin Campbell did a perfect job in CR. That set a standard that Marc Foster was totally unable to reach and now Sam Mendes has shown he couldn't either.
Craig's expressions are as clichéd as a cupboard and M looks tired, old and way past retirement age. From Calypso in Pirates of the Caribbean to Moneypenny, I don't think the move is a promotion for Naomi Harris.Ralph Fiennes, none other than the erstwhile Voldemorte, doesn't make much of a splash either on his entry into the franchise. Bardiem, a gorgeous looking individual, has been camouflaged with a ridiculous blonde wig in spite of which he comes across as a better actor and the only redeeming feature in a cliché –ridden spectacle. The only other good thing about this movie is the title song sung by Adele.
I have just returned home from watching this movie at our local cinema 3 Hours ago, and I give it 9/10 it was fantastic. I went with my older son and he also loved it and is still rattling on about it to my wife. She stayed home as she doesn't like bond movies either. Maybe you should be like my wife ,If you dont like Bond movies why do you go to them? The Roof top motorbike chase you refer to is actually real and done with stunt men without helmets, no computer generated graphics were used. and Beetles being crushed, well thats all there good for these days, It was a good ending for M and a good new begining for M. Skyfall was as good as Daniel Craigs last 007. IMHO He is the best bond since Sean Connery.
5 stars from me