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LYT Review: A Contrarian Take on “Skyfall”

Imagine, if you will, that at a key moment in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane had taunted his black-clad foe by suddenly singing “Da na na na na na na…BAT MAN!” Or that Officer John Blake, on discovering the Batcave at the end, had exclaimed “Holy subterranean lair!” It would have certainly gotten a cheap laugh, reminding people of the Batman they liked before. It might even have been some audience members’ favorite moment. Yet by any sensible story standard, it would have been out of place. Skyfall features more than one analogous bit, and while it did make me smile during what was otherwise a more tedious film than I’d hoped for, it just doesn’t say much for a new Bond film when the only fun parts are those that blatantly smack you in the face with a reminder that there are previous movies in the series you like better.

Calling this a Bond film is less accurate in many ways than calling it a Sam Mendes film, and if you like Sam Mendes (he of American Beauty) as a director, that’s good news. I liked him in person, and he seems thoughtful – but with the exception of Jarhead and some parts of Away We Go, I find his work tediously “artistic” in an overly obvious way. By the third or fourth time in Skyfall that I saw a medium shot of a character, often from behind, in a large empty room to signify their isolation, I wanted to scream, “Enough already!” When one such character, having made a tough decision, looks out the window and it immediately starts to rain, I half-expected a black plastic bag to float elegantly by in the wind.

The story wants to have it two ways – it’s both an origin story and a “gettin’ too old for this shit” movie in which Bond goes back and forth between, say, Chris Pine’s proto-Captain Kirk, and William Shatner’s “still got it, but barely” Wrath of Khan old Kirk. We are constantly told that he’s aging, out of shape and alcoholic (thankfully, no cheap gags about 007 at a 12-step meeting; Wreck-It Ralph pretty much owns that routine), even though continuity-wise, this ought to still be one of his first major missions… and Craig is notably younger than some previous Bonds were in certain movies. It’s as if, after reclaiming the title Casino Royale for the official franchise, the Broccolis wanted to remake Never Say Never Again as well – a movie, that, by the way, managed to still be fun even while dealing with an aging Bond worried about the future.

The opening sequence is the most classic part, with an exuberant chase that includes Bond swinging around a giant backhoe that’s having to hold together a moving train, and a culmination that sets up a way for Bond to disappear forever should he so choose. Events transpire to bring back our hero when MI6 and M (Judi Dench) herself come under attack from a powerful cyber-stalker who happens to have a very old grudge against her. Barely passing the physical tests, Bond resurfaces for love of boss and country, teamed with field agent Eve (Naomie Harris), with whom he does have a delightfully playful banter – their dialogue scenes together are among the film’s highlights, and their unconsummated (on-camera, anyway) shaving scene is one of the hottest moments ever in the Craig movies.

Even though he doesn’t actually show up until a good hour or so into the film, it’s no spoiler at this stage to say that the villain is Silva (Javier Bardem), who’s sort of the anti-Bond, a former agent gone rogue who appears to be as flamboyantly gay as Bond is heterosexual – though the only plot purpose to this is a lone gay-panic joke that Bond deftly reverses. Nonetheless, I’m surprised GLAAD isn’t up in arms at Silva’s mincing manner.

Far more troubling, though, is the secondary Bond girl of the story: Severine, played by Berenice Marlohe. Her backstory is one of an underage sex worker, rescued by Silva to basically do his bidding. She wants Bond to save her, but instead he uses her sexually to get to Silva. Consent or no, there’s something icky about that, especially when we consider the time Roger Moore did the right thing and kicked a too-young girl out of his bed in For Your Eyes Only. Craig’s Bond is supposedly cold, but that level of manipulation – especially if you’ve ever known somebody who actually has been abused – does not sit easily. (Then again, I suppose if you’ve ever known anyone killed by a spy, Bond probably really sucks for you.)

Yes, the title “Skyfall” is explained, and it’s more of a shrug than a revelation, kicking off a segment that plays more like The A-Team than Bond and features an unusually useless Albert Finney. Some have made the case that, like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Bond is a singularly ineffective hero here, such that everything would have happened more or less the way it does without him being in the picture. I don’t think that’s the case because Bond is integral to Silva’s revenge (if not entirely crucial), but I do think the his plan feels overly similar to Loki’s from The Avengers, hinging on a similarly pointless moment of deliberate capture. Ben Whishaw’s younger Q makes sense in this context as a hacker, more so than Bardem, though I am sorry not to see John Cleese back.

Oh, but what about that cinematography by Roger Deakins, which everyone is going out of their way to mention? Color me a little less than overwhelmed – when a key moment depends upon two men fighting in silhouette and you’re supposed to be rooting for one of them but cannot tell which he is because photographing the shadows in front of the pretty skyscraper is more appealing, you’ve lost the point. It’s never a good idea to imagine what motivates other writers, but does anybody else get the sense that Deakins is being name-dropped so much in reviews because he’s one of maybe three cinematographers the average writer knows by name, by heart? Janusz Kaminski and Wally Pfister would be the other two, BTW.

Skyfall isn’t without its charms, most of which would be the actors, including a barely mentioned Ralph Fiennes. And it’s certainly better than the middle two Brosnan films. But just as Marc Forster went off the rails in Quantum of Solace during that silly horse-race juxtaposition, so too does Mendes go overboard with the deconstruction/dysfunction. Auteurs doing Bond may be a fun new gimmick – and one that seems to be working financially and critically. But for my tastes, it isn’t in the franchise’s best interests.

It would seem that is ONLY my taste, however.

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  2. Boris says:

    Another question, how on earth did Silva get a bomb inside Mi6?
    I also liked the point made above about the mission being a failure – 007 goes out a whim (Tanner and Q complicit) and head of the agency ends up dying and he just turns up again and M’s says ‘here you go old boy get to work’, wtf? At least have another crappy parliamentary hearing so Bond can trot out a bit of Tennyson.

  3. JimmyMackey says:

    I saw Craig give Bond a wince when his one night stand is shot, but he plays it well for Silva who wants a reaction out of Bond, only he doesn’t give Silva the satisfaction. It does seem strange though that Craig’s Bond is shown as so cold, but yet he visits the sentimental home he grew up in where his parents were killed, while showing unfaltering love towards “M.” As a tribute to Skyfall, I watched the previous Craig 007 movies with my DISH coworker last week and I can’t wait to order the others in the series from my DISH Blockbuster @Home subscription. We’ll watch two movies a week until we have watched all 22 in my home theater. I love that I get all of my movies delivered to my door each month for one flat fee with DISH and I don’t have any overage fees since I can return my movie anytime I want.

  4. zaza says:

    Review is not harsh enough. Character logic: Bond watches 4 people, at least 3 of them innocent, die instead of intervening. 2 security guards as he follows the assassin all the way from INSIDE the airport to his target, the target whom we never know, and Severine (Bond could whip around quick-like and kill all the bad guys AFTER she died but not beforehand–filmmakers had to prove Silva was a BAD bad guy). If this was purposeful to make Bond beyond cold but immoral, bad choice; if it was laziness, I want a refund. Even the dumbest security agents would have searched Bond to find the radio IN HIS POCKET! Severine wants to be rescued but puts up no argument to betraying Silva–“my character has served her purpose, time to die” she seems to be thinking. Dullness: The setup and payoff of his gun’s ID check matched the dullness of many lines: Q: “Bring them back undamaged.” Bond: “Brave new world.” Severine: “I feel naked without my Baretta.” And on and on, snoooore. But the worst and most obvious item was Silva wanting to be captured. So stale and derived from Joker in “The Dark Knight” and Loki in “The Avengers” (also copying “The Dark Knight”) and other movies. Laughably poor was Bond running to Silva’s cell to find he’d escaped–without showing how he got out and past multiple armed guards. You can hear the filmmakers saying “eh, that’s good enough, people know this kind of thing happens in a Bond film.” The trailer for “Iron Man III” disappointingly shows Stark’s HQ being destroyed ala Batman’s in “Batman & Robin” AND “The Dark Knight Rises,” so ho-hum to that “big, dramatic moment” already. Audiences know all it takes to fix is a cut in the final minute to his HQ being rebuilt better than ever.

  5. Michael says:

    Luke, well said and thanks for not following the sheep on this one. We waited 4 years for this movie? And what about the 2 jobs in the movie industry that they forgot to hire – Screenwriter and Editor (2h 25 min long, very long).

    Other missing element in addition to the ones you mentioned is Bond Humour. Craig can only play the constipated looking straight man. The humour comes from M (“What are you going to do, eject me”?) and even movie Bond jumps on the outside of the Underground Train. (“He’s keen to get on that one”). Real Bond’s DELIVER the humor, they don’t RECEIVE it! Please let this be Craig’s last Bond!

  6. rst says:

    3. Do you really need to choke somebody underwater? What’s the point of keeping them from breathing when they can’t breathe anyhow?

    did bond choke with his leg to make the BG use his hands so he couldnt prople himslef to air??

  7. rst says:

    could the dark knight stuff be dropped please?? christ.

    i was disappointed with the is bond film. i like daniel craig overall as a bond. the physicality and fighting are better with craig when a blunt instrument is needed. instead of exploding pens new updated gadgets can be integrated into the films to keep the bondenss/mi6 aspect of the series intact…. infrared raybans or encrypted signal jamming cufflinks or something.

    i miss some of the brosnan cheezit nd the the one liners should become somewhat more risque to keep the teenagery stuff out

    i enjoyed the supporing cast and fell that they were an attribute but would have preferred somethign else from the dialogues

  8. Also Nate says:

    Can someone explain what it means that there was “no REAL Bond Girl” in this movie? Severine doesn’t count because she gets killed?Does Moneypenny not qualify because we never actually *see* them in bed together, because I think it’s extremely strongly implied . . . .

  9. richard says:

    I, too, was underwhelmed by ‘Skyfall.’ This review encapsulates my thoughts today as I was in the theater watching Mendes’ movie.

  10. Croooozer says:

    An awful piece of work, a waste of time and an insult to the Bond brand and past films of exemplary status.

  11. Gleb says:

    Agree with the majority of this review. I especially felt that the first half of the movie was pretty good, especially the Turkey sequence but the second half just completely dropped the ball. The conclusion in Scotland was especially poorly done and out of place. Overall the plot was poorly written with way, way too many plot holes, and I still don’t understand why they had to make Silva gay – I’m not homophobic but his queer look just took away from making him a more menacing, dangerous villain.

  12. Matthew Scot says:

    One thing I find interesting about the first three “Craig Era” bond films is that they have been rolled out over a period of six years. Contrast that to the first four Bond films which were produced and released in little more than three years: Dr. No in October ’62 through Thunderball released in December ’65. The Bond phenomenon could not have been bigger during that period of time. 1967’s “You Only Live Twice” was a decent enough film, but the franchise had cooled off in the two years between films. That is exactly what is happening today… there is no great anticipation about “the next Bond film.” QofS almost carried it off, but was such a cookie-cutter action film that it left me very disappointed. It is the single Bond film I have seen only once, and have no desire to see again. That said, I believe that Daniel Craig plays an excellent Bond, and Skyfall serves to set up a potential for producing another three films which have potential to hearken back to the “good old days” of the Bond franchise. They had best get them produced and released in rapid order though, and not have such a flop as QofS turned out to be. I think Skyfall is easily one of the best (if not the best) of the non-Connery Bond films. It makes the Roger Moore era seem… well… silly. (Besides, Moore was Simon Templar anyway… not James Bond.)

  13. Casper says:

    Its interesting to read so many comments that echo my own thoughts on this film. I sort of enjoyed it but came out of the cinema feeling a bit let down.

    I was always annoyed with how far-fetched and cheesy some Brosnan and Moore Bond films were – My faith was rejuvenated when Casino Royale was released – loved it, I was confused by Quantum and now underwhelmed by Skyfall.

    There was lots of staring at mountains, out of windows, landscapes etc, lots of moody dialogue, lots of gloominess! I was a bit worried we were going back to the silly Bond seeing the machine guns and the ejector seat buttons in the Aston Martin. This filled me with dread, surely the franchise is not regressing back to the bad old days. If a remote control iceberg with a union jack on the hatch turned up – I was off!!

    Next one more like Jason Bourne please – Less like a gloomy Benny Hill!

  14. chris says:

    I need to see it a second time before offering a definitive opinion. In the meantime, I will say that Skyfall didn’t sit with me entirely well, but perhaps for different reasons than some of those posted here. It seems that Brocoli, Wilson, and Craig have retreated back to a more traditional Bond, or, at the very least, have given notice that this is where the franchise is headed. (I mention Craig as he expressed such a desire following the release of Quantum.) In this sense, I feel that Skyfall is an excellent Bond film in the traditional sense, but, I’m personally disappointed that the producers have decided to fall back on old tricks and references to Connery’s Bond. For me, the style of Casino (and Quantum), which for this comment I will label simply as “serious”, was a very welcome change that invigorated and modernized Bond, and, most impressively, made Bond believable (vis-a-vis Nolan’s Batman).

  15. I walked out of this movie so disappointed and searched the internet high and low to find one critic that actually agreed with me and you’re it! So thank you. I have so many negative things I want to say about this movie but it really boils down to two things; a bond with no charisma has no draw for me and the film itself was boring.

  16. 700 says:

    dwaynerjames nailed it IMO. It’s exactly the 3 points that went through my mind when seeing the movie and why I did not like it.

  17. veiks says:

    thank you for this review! After all the raving positive reviews around, it was doubting if I saw the same movie as all the critics who love iy. Skyfall is utter shit

  18. J Kau says:

    Not impressed by this review. Comparing Silva’s sheme to Loki’s from The Avengers? Not at all. Honestly, I’d like to know which Bond films you DID like. That way it would be easier to tell why you didn’t like this one, which, in my opinion, was better than Quantum and better than Casino Royale.

  19. Lord Henry Wooten says:

    <> The movie was an illogical mess as some commentators like dwaynerjames have pointed out. The worst is the tacked on happy ending when Fiennes becomes M and Bond remains in good standing and receives a Top Secret mission.

    Am I missing something? Bond’s plan to protect M by taking her to Skyfall completely fails: M dies. Further Bond’s mission, supported by M and Q, was portrayed as unauthorized and a career ender for all involved if it failed. Again, it failed, M died, Silva won. So why no consequences?

    How much bullshit can Bond fans swallow in between the titillating ultra-violence? Is this some kind of mass psychological experiment, a Ludovico Technique 21st century style?

  20. scaramanga says:

    Stay home and watch an old Bond movie. I grew up watching Connery & Moore. The great thing about their movies is that I can watch them again and again and now again with my son. I can’t warm up to Craig as Bond. He resembles the bad guys in the old movies, has no charm, inelegant,and did I say he looks like a bad guy? Updating Bond is like updating the 3 stooges… You can’t. These movies will continue to make money because people are drawn to the name Bond. For me, its over for this series. The Bourne films are better and the old Bond films(preMoonraker; are starting to look like

  21. dwaynerjames says:

    Remind me to proof-read my comment next time before I post it. Some obvious spelling mistakes in my previous post.


  22. dwaynerjames says:

    I saw it last night, and I too was a little underwhelmed, and couldn’t see past a few off plot points. Perhaps when i see it again, all will be clear, but I have 3 questions I’d love an answer to.

    Spoilers obviously

    1. Whey did Silva arrange to get captured? Couldn’t he have simply snuck into the country under the radar (nobody knew who he was) and descend upon M at the hearing? It was already established that he knew her schedule. I don’t understand the need for such an overly complicated plan.

    2. Why was they no support from MI6 at Skyfall? There was no genuine reason why the three of them had to take on Silva and his goons on their own. Q, Tanner, and Mallory knew where they were and what they were up against. Why not send in reinforcements?

    3. Do you really need to choke somebody underwater? What’s the point of keeping them from breathing when they can’t breathe anyhow?

    I look forward to seeing it again, but right not these situations feel like they were contrived to make the plot more complicated.

  23. Chauncey66 says:

    I liked the old school aspect of Skyfall. It may not be in my top 5, but definitely in my top ten. I always thought that the bond girl , gadget, and car aspect as well as the “smokey and the bandit” aspect focused primarily on the 11 year old market. My own feeling of the franchise pretty much asks; “Would Ian Fleming approve of the movie?” For once Bond is forced to focus on loss of people who matter in his life, whether its Vesper Lynd or M. Movies like “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and “Casino Royale” remind us that we don’t all ride off into the sunset at the end.
    There’s nothing wrong with humor, but I never thought Bond should be silly or stupid. This was a good story that kept me engaged in the plot without resorting to 11 year old juvenile antics.

  24. Carter says:

    I guess you were hoping for a satellite equipped with a killer laser and an ice palace.

  25. RG says:

    @Matthew: Non-art entertainment = kids films? Yeesh. Lighten up.

    I just saw it again, and it seemed much less heavy-handed this time around. To me, it was actually more pure fun than the last two (and I think the simple plot/quirky villain adds fun more than it subtracts weight). I’m beginning to think the “wide shots of lonely people” thing was more style than symbol.

    Sam Mendes’ name may have been a curse; nobody expected it to be thoughtless fun, so certain things felt heavier than they were meant to.

  26. Matthew says:

    Good analysis. I think there are inherent problems with all the reboots that are going on – with Dark Knight, I found I just can’t stomach a film that simultaneously takes itself so seriously yet stars a man who dresses up in a cape. Same issue for Skyfall (admittedly no cape, but it’s Jimmy Bond for chrissakes!). But it’s equally hard to imagine a return to the campy versions we got pre 2000. What I would say for Skyfall is that it took it’s interpersonal drama a little more seriously by carrying it through to the final act, and made it the centrepiece – something that Nolan never managed, ending up with the same old doomsday scenarios about saving cities from certain destruction. But Skyfall’s follow through still didn’t work for me as a viewer. I guess those of us who don’t like it should just stop expecting to enjoy what are really kid’s films.

  27. LN Williams says:

    First of all I can say I was disappointed in this “Skyfall”. First no cool gadgets… A gun and a radio.. That’s it.. Really.. Second the ”Bond Car” we got a used one . I guess times are tough in the movie business. Third NO real “Bond Girl”.. Sad… The only way I can see this going forward is to go back, as many movies seem to be doing. How did James Bond get to 007 status?

  28. For the record, I enjoyed both previous Daniel Craig Bonds. I don’t think I made that clear enough.

  29. Caitorade says:

    I agree with you. I felt satisfied with the movie when it was over, but it was awfully hard to articulate with my friends why I kept saying “it could’ve been BETTER”.
    There was a lot of, “I just don’t understand why I had to see so many blatant frames about what the story is ‘about’, like, I get it” and “So you didn’t like the highlighted blue eyes then?”, “No, I DID, argggg”

  30. Rosie says:

    This was a very disappointing movie to me on so many levels. The movie never explained how a MI6 agent ended up with a list of NATO undercover agents on his laptop drive. Silva’s plot for revenge was ten times more complicated and overwrought than Loki’s plotting in “THE AVENGERS”. The female characters – M included – were badly handled in a way that regressed the franchise back forty years.

  31. Mark says:

    I agree with everything in this review (especially the sexual assault thing. It really bothered me out because it didn’t feel intentional), but, unlike Luke, I liked the movie overall.

    I wasn’t a fan of the previous two films because they rode the “gritty reboot” wave, and ended up trying to be something other than Bond. This one, despite it’s “artsy” departures, was modern and serious without being not stuck up its own ass. It seemed more like Goldeneye, really, in that it was a soft-reboot

    In fact, it even cribs a few storylines from Goldeneye (the ex-agent villain who feels betrayed by MI6, the focus on computer hacking as the method of villainy, the theme of “transition”).

    Bond is a franchise, which limits how good each film can really be, but this film seems to be aware of those limitations, accepts them and works within them, rather than fighting against them.

  32. Mendesnotbond says:

    Hated this rubissh movie, Thw last two were amazing , This was just utter nonsense

  33. Ian says:

    I didn’t know I would need to see Dark Knight Rises to read this review.

  34. Shan says:

    Love your writing but disagree with your evaluation of the movie. I think the very vocal difference of opinion between those who love this movie and those who diss it comes down to – how much like the older movies do you want Craig’s Bond movies to be?

    If you’re hoping for a return to Goldfinger/Spy Who Loved Me, good luck, because Craig’s Bond will never be as fun as Moore’s, never be as effortless as Connery’s, and that’s Craig’s failing, NOT the director’s or the writer’s.

    Craig has limited range – he can pull off brutal-cool (Exhibit A: Craig adjusting his cufflinks after landing from the crane) he can’t do relaxed-cool (Exhibits B and C: Craig’s strained exchanges with Eve and Q – it’s not banter if you look like you’re going to eat their eyes, dude).

    So what, you take the movies in a different direction, go balls-to-the-wall Bourne? Quantum already showed us what a bad idea that was. No, the key is to play to your USP, the Bond tradition, the formula – but modernize it so you don’t end up with Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist and Pierce Brosnan driving a speedboat through a restaurant in London. Which is exactly what Mendes has done.

    Sure, the structure of the last act was tonally inconsistent with the Bond formula, but it was still a big, explosive climax and far more satisfying than most other Bond finales. And the rest of the movie worked fine both as a homage and an action film, even when Mendes was getting a little too artsy (yeah that Tennyson quote was too much).

    You say Skyfall’s only fun parts are those that remind you of movies in the series you prefer, but I’d say the older movies were so silly that Skyfall’s homage to them felt like the student has surpassed the teacher. Bond, in the Craig era, can only be fun if you populate Bond’s world with fun characters, and that’s what Skyfall is working towards. In the next movie, you have Fiennes in place as a M who is flinty, but not above wise-assery (“for the sake of variety, I wonder if we could actually hear the witness speak”), a new Moneypenny, a younger Q and a Bond who’s exorcised both his childhood trauma and the loss of Vesper Lynd. Fun times ahead, I’d say.
    My review of Skyfall at

  35. Sean Campbell says:

    Personally I loved Skyfall. At first though I found myself getting upset thanks to that “I’m getting too old for this shit,” vibe that you mentioned, but the movie ran with it and with the ending (Possible SPOILERS) essentially setting up the entire series over again, felt very satisfying.

    Now traditionally speaking, James Bond isn’t really a series and and don’t really flow chronologically anyway so I suppose the ending was more symbolic than anything else. As was the villain, really. Yeah some parts of his master plan did feel a little contrived, but the end result a great antagonist for Bond, if a little underused. He had sort of a “James’ Dark Side” kinda thing going, and was it not (again, spoiler) appropriate that an evil spy dies by being stabbed in the back? I loved that.

    It was a headier movie than most Bond flicks, and I enjoyed that. We live in a world where, regrettably, movie and book heroes who unapologetically love girls and guns and booze are kind of relics, and the movie treats Bond himself as a relic as well, and you are treated to a (admittedly long) three hours of Bond as a character and as a franchise proving himself to the world all over again.

    I loved the cinematography too. You mentioned the silhouette fight scene, and yes that did feel a little heavy handed but it works. It was the backdrop of the fight that I didn’t care for. That wierd flashy screen-thing. Bah. Most every other shot in the film was superply shot, and I say that because I can’t think of any other bad shots. You only really notice cinematography when it sucks, after all.

    I throughly enjoyed this move. Outside of maybe From Russia With Love it’s probably my favorite. I loved the countless nods to the rest of the series (I only wish that folder M handed him at the end hadn’t said “Top Secret” but “For Your Eyes Only”) I loved the acting, especially Judy Dench. I loved the script, the final battle, everything.

    Should he have gotten some trademark cool gadgets from Q? I would have liked that, but I understand why they downplayed that. Do I wish the bad guy had been a little better? Maybe, but compared to the rest of Bond’s rogues gallery he really had his shit together.

    They made some odd choices, but I thought they made them work and did what the last four or so Bond flicks haven’t. Really rekindled interest in the franchise.

    Also, the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey ending really lends credence to that James Bond-Time Lord theory.

  36. Chris G says:

    I agree with this totally. I said some of the same things in my review on my site. The one thing I didn’t see here is the “Home Alone” feeling towards the end of the movie. Check out my review for that.

  37. RG says:

    It still seems odd… I mean, were classic Bond plots really THAT deep? It seems like people simultaneously want something bigger and bolder, but also something more classic. That’s asking for quite a lot.

  38. Rex says:

    Totally agree. Plus, Silva’s “evil plot” is about as ambitious as robbing a liquor store.

  39. RG says:

    Luke, I always love your reviews; you always recognize the “je ne sais quoi” of a technically-flawed movie, and don’t fault it. In a way, this one seems odd for you. Every negative review I hear of Skyfall tends to strike me as a bit self-contradictory… to me, the deconstruction of Bond provides that whimsical undertone to offset the excessive artiness.

    To me, people seem to want one or the other… a very serious Bond that has moved forward with the times, or complete tonal consistency. The former would hardly be Bond at all, and the latter would be trashy. I prefer to look at this as setup (and yeah, I know, three movies for setup is a lot, but hear me out) for a new age of classic Bond. This movie felt like cleaning house, rounding up the tropes and exorcising them in preparation for transition into Bond’s second half-century.

    And that’s the key, really… what’s consistency, for 50-year-old series? Some of the things that worked in the old days may not work anymore, or at the very least, may not be in good taste (and I think that may have been the point of the sex slave back story; another meta demonstration of the fact that a man-slut protagonist is kind of in bad taste nowadays). And I don’t know if there’s any place left for a Bond that isn’t taken seriously… you’d wind up with that horrible Die Another Day ice-fortress again. It’s hard to ask quality people to work on such a cheesy film without it being totally self-referential.

    It’s like what Daniel Craig said about Austin Powers. They’ve toed the line of old Bond tropes in the past two films, but they can’t get too close; even middle-America knows those tropes thanks to Mike Meyers. So, like I said, it seems good reason to round them all up, shove them into a bag of meta craziness, and throw them in the ol’ garbage. To introduce the classic components, but throw out their old uses, thus starting a new era of Bond.

  40. Nate says:

    Your tastes all suck. You should get together and see Twilight this week. That would be more your thing.

  41. Cengiz says:

    I’m happy to read that at least one critic was not overly impressed by Skyfall. I was so excited by the hype and perhaps my expectations were simply too high. That said, the problems with this Bond were the lack of any intelligent plot, an absolutely anticlimactic final hour of the movie, no true Bond girl, no clever Bond gadgets, and a touch under-developed narrative of why Bond initially disappears just to resurface. On a positive note, I’m so happy Judi Dench is done with–she was relatively speaking too visible in all movies–her role should have been equally (un)important as that of Moneypenny. As a professional visual artist, I would need to compliment the brilliant cinematography–possibly the only issue of your excellent review I don’t agree with.

  42. yes, I must agree. I loved CR and QoS. The writing and directing in Skyfall seemed so cheap. Every shot of the film had to reference another film, the only film that was not referenced had not been made, but the referencing of Max Zorin’s hairdo took the cake

  43. MJ says:

    100% agreed. You said exactly how I was feeling after seeing the film.