Monday, November 12, 2012

*No Country for Old Bond

Skyfall (2012) - Mendes
Ever since 007 franchise decided to 'go back to its roots' with Daniel Craig as a no-nonsense, cold blooded MI6 killing machine, the makers were left with fewer and fewer options. The world is changing: the machismo, sexism and patriotism all sound as unattractive and outdated as the word 'computer'. It's been harder and harder to differentiate this blunt instrument from any other Bourne action hero types. So it has to be and only can be a character study even if it means sacrificing sex appeal and glitz. Because its breakneck speed though, to keep up with other actioners, the character arc and whatnot can't be stretched out long enough for them to keep Craig as Bond. And as much as I'm excited about the rumor that Idris Elba as the next Secret Agent, I am very sad to see Craig go. In my humble opinion, Craig has been the best Bond ever.

Mendes and the team sets out what maybe the last Craig 007 the same way as Rocky 4. Hardly any older than his counterparts in their primes (I remember one 80s Sean Connery Bond movie where they make incessant jokes about his age), Skyfall starts with picturesque Istanbul setting where he gets shot off of the moving train. Hard to believe Daniel Craig as an aging, failing Bond, considering Roger Moore's never athletic flabby Brit-twit JB. It's all about honor and code and stuff. Monstrous Silva (scene chewing Javier Badem), an ex-secret serviceman, has it out for M (Judi Dench, playing mother of all mothers). In order to protect her, 007 first has to go off the grid and do Driving Miss Daisy routine to Scotland, then do an OK Corral style shotgun battle. I was half expecting either Eye of the Tiger or Hank Williams to kick in.

But it's no less fun than the previous two. OK maybe a little less. It's also the first time anyone notices the cinematography (shot by Roger Deakins) in a Bond movie. Shanghai and Macao never looked better. The final showdown in misty Scotland, backlit by burning mansion is perhaps second best this year, losing only to another Scottish movie, Wuthering Heights.

*the title courtesy of Robbie Bruens.

1 comment:

  1. HA You stole my title. I am still using it when I post my reaction on A Gilded Planet. Maybe a link would be in order for my name? Not like I don't already get enough hits from your sidebar link... Seriously though, I'm flattered that you used it.